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Jun 18, 2009 09:14 AM

One last hurrah!

In a few months I'll be leaving DC, and I'm looking for a proper meal to send me and my special lady friend off - preferably at a restaurant we haven't been to yet . Price isn't really an issue, as long as it's a fantastic experience. I just made a reservation at CityZen, but I'm willing to cancel and look elsewhere if ya'll think there's a better option.

In the running are Obelisk, Rasika, Restaurant Eve, 2941, and The Source. Are any of these better options than CityZen?

Places out of the running because I've already been (or couldn't get a reservation - I'm looking at you Minibar) are Central, Citronelle, Minibar, Komi, Proof, Palena, BlackSalt, 1789, Corduroy, Vidalia, and PS7.

Thanks for all your help, gang!

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  1. Volt's Table 21 (exactly 21 courses) and Teatro Goldoni's Chef's Table.

    At Volt, your table is right next to the kitchen and the kitchen is next to the dining room, so you'll be in the peripheral vision of other diners trying to get a glimpse of the kitchen. At TG, you're next to the kitchen but the kitchen is separately from the dining room, thus giving you much more privacy.

    Teatro Goldoni's menu can be seen

    Volt's menu can be seen

    1 Reply
    1. re: Ericandblueboy

      I'm almost embarrassed to admit that I didn't know a thing about Table 21 at Volt. That looks ridiculous! I think it just made its way onto the shortlist.

      I had a pretty miserable meal in Teatro's regular dining room, so I'm a little hesitant to go back, but I'll admit those pictures are tempting me!

    2. In order...

      Obelisk: I've given this place three tries. While I've never had a bad meal, I've never eaten anything that remotely qualifies as a last hurrah meal.

      Rasika: Love this place, but doesn't qualify for a last hurrah meal.

      Restaurant Eve/Tasting Menu: I know others will write to tell you this would be their choice; I don't agree. I was impressed with the technical skill of each dish but I didn't think any dish was worthy of a wow. There was a thread recently about the excessive time and slow pace of the tasting meals. (If you're only talking about The Bistro, that shouldn't even be an option. That's a lovely place to go for an ordinary Saturday night. Not last hurrah caliber.)

      2941: I waver on this place. I love the setting, especially the art. I've had excellent-but-predictable meals that make me wish the chef would be more innovative. However, just when I'm ready to put this restaurant into the safe-for-guests-with-timid-palates, I eat a meal that simply blows me away.

      The Source: no personal information.

      I've had three meals at CityZen and I've adored each one.

      The one place I don't seen on your list is Marcel's. I think this place is a French equal to CityZen. If I were in the mood for an Asian-trending meal, I'd go with CityZen. If I were in the mood for a French-trending meal, I'd go with Marcel's. (Incidentally, you'll have total control over your meal at Marcel's. You get to specify how many courses you want and what you want to eat for each course.)

      5 Replies
      1. re: Indy 67

        Thanks for the input, Indy. Marcel's has made its way into the list!

        1. re: aburkavage

          CityZen and Marcel's are two of my absolute favorite restaurants and, based on the food alone, I would have a hard time choosing between them. Both serve outstanding, excellent food. Indy's description of the Asian or French leaning of each is good. Both also have excellent service -- best in the city. Where they differ greatly, however, is in ambiance. Marcel's is very elegant, romantic, quiet, dim lights -- almost like a restaurant from another era. CityZen is loud, trendier -- definitely a restaurant of this era. The decision really comes down to, what appeals to you more?

          1. re: Lauman

            That's very helpful, Lauman.

            For better or worse, I've always thought of Marcel's as being a place I'd take my grandparents out to dinner. While I'm sure the food is outstanding, I think CityZen may be a little closer to the ambiance we're looking for.

            1. re: Lauman

              I read your take on Marcel's and CityZen with interest. I agree with the adjectives "elegant, romantic, quiet, dim lights." However, as I've looked at my fellow diners, I've seen enough younger people in the mix to believe that Marcel's is doing something right to appeal to this generation.

              Incidentally, I think the food since Marcel's converted to a tasting menu strategy is more modern. Sure the classics are still offered, but there are lots of lightened, innovative options available now.

              I also agree that CityZen is trendier -- a restaurant of this era -- but I strenuously object to the description "loud." I'm old enough to be your parent and possibly old enough to be your grandparent. I love CityZen, but I couldn't love it -- not at the prices they charge -- if the place were truly loud. I eat in plenty of loud restaurants; Oyamel prior to a concert at Verizon Center is a prime example. But these are places I go to eat not places I go to dine. Whenever, I eat at CityZen, I think of Armani trendy. Sleek. Sophisticated. Modern. But not loud!

              1. re: Indy 67

                I did not mean to imply that the food at Marcel's was old-fashioned. Not at all. Quite the opposite. The food is up to date, the ambiance is of a different era. Frankly, I love the ambiance, but it may not be for everyone.

                Completely agree with your description of CityZen. However, in our several visits there we've been seated next to the kitchen and the noise level was such that we had a hard time hearing the server describe each dish, as well as a hard time talking to each other at our table.

                I know that a view of the kitchen is normally considered a good thing. However, at CityZen, I don't think it's all that. You can't really see what they're doing and the lights and noise are intrusive.

        2. I haven't been to CityZen but it would be on my short list for last blowout meals because I hear such great things about it. Same goes for Obelisk.

          That being said I think Restaurant Eve is possibly one of the Top 5 restaurants in the area. It's different then the other 2 discussed above. Can you only choose one?

          Also maybe it depends on where you are moving to. If you are going some place where Indian is hard to find you might want to try Rasika. But in all honesty I don't think it can compare to Restaurant Eve. It was very good, but in a different category all together.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Elyssa

            I'm moving to Chicago, and while I don't know specifically about the Indian food scene there, I'm going to assume that there are at least a few good options! I need to get to Rasika before I leave, but I don't know if it's right for this occasion.

          2. How about Inox? Chef Jonathan Krinn was the original chef at 2941. Place has just been open a few months. Great food in a beautiful setting.

            1. I've never been to the Tasting Room at Restaurant Eve, but I prefer the regular menu at Restaurant Eve to Cityzen or most any experience at any of the restaurants you listed. I'm sure you could look it up online.