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Apr 3, 2009 07:22 AM

another Charlie Palmer's question

Hope it's not too annoying to send out another steakhouse question, just ignore it if it is, please....

I've got some visitors coming later this month, and I'm thinking this might be a nice place to go after their tour of the Capitol. The group includes my very elderly but quite fit-for-her-age and adventurous, but hard-of-hearing, grandmother. I've never been, we're not really big steakhouse types (but everybody appreciates steak), and a main reason I'm thinking of going is because of the view (so not really considering other steakhouses). I also think a full dinner *might* be more food than this group will really want, so maybe just going for happy hour and appetizers would satisfy us.

If any of you have thoughts or advice on their happy hour, including how crowded or loud it gets (on a weekday evening), whether we'd get to see a great view of the Capitol, etc., whether we should just splurge on dinner (or not) -- much appreciated. (Note that while we would all prefer great food, in this case the overall experience is going to be more important -- and I actually probably have a good sense of many of your opinions on the food itself, already, from reading previous threads -- not that ordering suggestions wouldn't be welcome, of course.)

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  1. CP's is set up to take advantage of the view -- one wall is all glass, and a whole line of tables are tucked in next to it. The restaurant itself is at the bottom of the Hill, so you're looking up at the Capitol.

    The bar area is not very large, and fairly loud (it's all hard marble surfaces in there), and doesn't offer the best view that the restaurant has. That said, they've got a nice snack menu and, of course, a great selection of wines. I don't know how busy it gets on weekday nights, but it's not very large, so it wouldn't take much to fill it up.

    The food and service there are very good, but it is quite expensive. (One cost-saving measure you might consider -- CP's charges no corkage fee on American wines (up to two bottles), but only American wines.) If you decide to go for dinner, be sure to call and ask for a table with a view -- there are plenty of tables that do not offer any view of the Capitol.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Mighty Jim

      I have not been a fan of CP since this experience:

      For happy hour I would consider elsewhere or a different kind of restaurant. If it's warm enough I would seriously consider sitting OUTSIDE at Cafe du Parc which is in the Willard Hotel. The ambience is absolutely incredible sitting at the literal edge of Pennsylvania avenue with the White House two blocks behind you to the right and the Capitol visible in the distance down Pennsylvania. If the weather doesn't allow this I would go to Central.

      1. re: Mighty Jim

        Thanks Mighty Jim, that's just what I wanted to know, very helpful.

        JoeH -- I've read your CP post before, and I'll keep it in mind. the Cafe du Park idea might work for some other time during the visit (and I do understand about sitting outside).

        and lbstuart -- I was also thinking about one of the nearby cafeterias and hadn't realized the DC courthouse has the good view, thanks for the tip, that might be a fun alternative.

      2. I've been to CPs only for lunch and never had steak. At least at lunch they have a $20 3 course menu. Good food, decent view.

        A very different choice would be another two blocks to 3rd and c at the DC courthouse cafeteria with a WONDERFUL view. Definitely a cafeteria but ....

        1. I just returned from having dinner there on Sat. eve and we thought it was a very enjoyable meal. However the view of the Capital is somewhat blocked by the trees. Although it was 8;30 pm and lit, you are looking through the trees to see it. The trees were still very bear at this point, but you do not have a clear view and we had a table right against the windows. The meal and service were both very good, we had the porterhouse for two, 2 apps, 2 sides, 1 dessert, 2 cocktails and a $48 bottle of wine and the tab before tip was $230....

          1. Whether or not it's crowded completely depends on what day you're going and if Congress is in session. If you're going on a Monday or Friday, for example, it's a lot less likely to be busy. I've gone during prime time happy hour during recess and have been the only one in there.

            If you decide to go, they have my vote for the best burger/fries in DC. Get it with blue cheese!