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Central alternative?

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I had really hoped that a few months advance would be enough, but found yesterday that the night I'd hoped to book a family dinner at Central for a May birthday won't work out. Had no idea they take just 2 bookings for 8 each night at one specific table. An interesting policy, I guess they prefer not to put together a couple of 4-tops to keep a more intimate feel in the place?

SO, looking for a backup that might be suitable. All but one are coming in from out of town for graduation ceremonies, the GW grad also happens to have a birthday. Having been to Central last year, we loved pretty much everything about the place: casual but with finesse, centrally located, great ambiance (bustling but enjoyable), a varied menu with not a loser among all we tried. And that banana split alone is worth the trip. We're all omnivores, aside from one pescatarian.

Do still hope to get to Central while we're in town. Any ideas for the birthday backup will be welcome!

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  1. How about Brasserie Beck or Proof? Both very good food and a good vibe/atmosphere.

    1 Reply
    1. re: chicken kabob

      Thanks for the reminder. Beck had been on our list last year but we didn't get there. I'll look into both of these, thanks!

    2. How about the chef's table at Brasserie Beck? We had a friend's birthday party there a year or so ago and it was a lot of fun.

      You might also like Cafe Atlantico. We held my boyfriend's birthday party there last year and had a wonderful time. The food and especially the drinks were great, our server was patient and attentive and the atmosphere was celebratory.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Elyssa

        I made a reservation at Brasserie Beck (not the chef's table though, probably not ideal for this group). Hoped to book at Proof, which looks really great, but they only reserve a month out, so may try for that later. At least BB is on the calendar for sure. Thanks for the feedback and recommendations.

        1. re: cynbad

          I actually prefer the food at Brasserie Beck to Proof. But I think either way you'll have a fun meal.

          1. re: Elyssa

            Elyssa, I also prefer Beck to Central. Et Voila is an entirely different kind of ambience than both-much more intimate-but excellent also. Cafe Du Parc-IF THE WEATHER IS WARM AND CLEAR-is the best of all when you sit outside on PA Avenue. I am not a fan of the intereior ambience. Bistro Bis is excellent also.

            1. re: Joe H

              Joe, Et Voila has become one of our personal favorites. It is a tiny jewel box! And not just for the usual suspects/ They once had a hamburger on special, I was in the mood, and i found it (forgive me for this heresy) even better than Hell Burger.

              My only wish was that they had a better wine list, particularly by-the-glass.

            2. re: Elyssa

              I would also look into PS7s. While Central, Proof, and Beck are all on my list of restaurants I usually recommend, PS7s is my favorite in that price range. IMO they have wonderful food, service, and atmosphere.