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Jun 23, 2009 02:50 PM

Entertaining 20 in the DC Area- GREAT food/atmosphere a must!

Hello again, gang! I am doing my annual Director's Dinner for all 20 of my coproate director's (clients- I am in sales) for an even tin the DC area in mid July. Every year, the city changes, and the expectations increase, haha!

What I am looking for a a great, progressive, delicious restaurant that is able to accomodate 20 or so guests. Atmosphere is a huge plus, but excellent food is the centerpiece. I do not know the DC area at all, and this will be my first 'real' trip there. If possible, semi-private or private dining would be great, but not required.

You all have never let me or my clients down! So... suggestions, fellow gourmands?

Cheers, and bon appetite!

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  1. Dino's has a private dining room and is very flexible private dining menu. I don't know what your budget is but they are pretty accomodating. They also have about super duper wine list.

    3435 Connecticut Avenue, Washington, DC 20008

    1. Thanks for the suggestion, msJess. I am actually looking for something a bit more... 'more', haha! Not so much spendier, but with a bit more adventurous/eclectic of a menu, and maybe a bit more private/semi-private for a dining option. In the past, we've had Chef Besh in New Orleans, as a gauge of kinda 'what they are expecting'.

      4 Replies
      1. re: larspeart

        I think you should consider Eric Ziebold at CityZen in the Mandarin Oriental hotel.

        1. re: larspeart

          If price is not an issue and if you have enough notice, you might consider asking Komi if they'd be willing to book the entire dining room for you (should be about the right size for 20). It's the best restaurant in DC with one of the country's finest new chefs.

          1. re: aburkavage

            I actually debated Komi, but I assume that to rent their whole place out... on a Saturday night... would be prohibitively expensive, even for my budget (haha!), and wouldn't make a lot of sense for the restaurant. I'm actually starting to lean towards 1789 Restaurant, but would love thoughts on it. Again, I have never been to DC, so I have nothing to go on here.

            Loving the help, all!

            1. re: larspeart

              1789 is always one of my favorites. There have been 3 different chefs there over this last decade, and the new chef is very young, but the food coming from the kitchen is still getting good reviews. At the very least, you are assured of impeccable service. Jacket is required for gentlemen. If you are looking for something old fashioned, you may want to consider the PX Lounge in Old Town. The cocktails at PX have won national acclaim, and the food is supplied by Restaurant Eve. According to the website, you can book PX for private parties. Jacket required for gentlemen.

              Charlie Palmer's is another favorite. It's really a steak place with the addition of some good seafood. If money is no object, you can always rent the roof terrace for $10k. The terrace has stunning views of the Capitol. The main dinning room has a very "fresh" feel to it. Ask for Philip Gates, the GM.

        2. This week, I attended a dinner for approximately 30 at Citronelle in their private room. As banquets go, the food was good and the service was excellent. My biggest complaint was the the organizers choose a menu that was something of a snooze.

          Hors d'oeuvres consisted of crab-stuffed phyllo cigarettes and chicken lollipops (i.e. deep fried individual bites of chicken on toothpicks). Pleasant enough. Two servers dealt with the chicken lollipops: one offering food and napkins and one with a tray to whisk away the toothpicks the instant we finished eating the chicken. That was a very gracious and professional touch.

          The waiters in charge of beverages were very attentive and proactive. I had asked for sparkling water during the cocktail portion of the evening. When I arrived at my place setting, my water glass had been removed and replaced with a water goblet of sparkling water. This was kept refilled constantly. Guests who had been drinking a specific type of wine during the cocktail hour were asked if they wanted to continue drinking that wine or switch to what was being poured with dinner.

          We began with the Goat Cheese Caesar salad. This is a two-inch horizontal slice of lettuce topped with Caesar dressing and goat cheese crumbles. High quality ingredients. Nice flavor. I would have preferred Citronelle's more inventive pasta "Begula."

          The entree was filet in a red wine sauce topped with sauteed mushrooms. The only accompaniment was an interesting potato preparation. Finely diced potatoes were blended with a cheese-enriched bechamel sauce. Somehow this mixture was formed into a rectangle, coated with crumbs and deep fried. This accompaniment was technically impressive and delicious.

          Prior to the meal, the wait staff asked each of us how we wanted our steak prepared. I asked for very, very rare and my husband asked for medium-rare. My filet arrived at most folk's normal definition of rare but it was more well done than what is variously called "blue/au bleu/azul/al sangue" -- the degree of doneness I wanted. My husband said his steak was cooked just fine. However, I heard lots of folks chatting about their degree of doneness. I think anyone who asked for meat cooked longer than medium rare ended up with overcooked meat.

          Dessert was Citronelle's signature take on Kit Kat bars. Dessert was fun and delicious -- the kind of food for which Citronelle is known.

          This is place you might want to consider for your meal. It is certainly the equal in stature and interest as August in New Orleans. (I attended a corporate dinner function there in May. That meal was a big snooze, too. It wasn't until my husband and I had breakfast at Luke two days later that I got any sense of what the fuss is all about for Besch.)

          Best recommendation: Select a menu that showcases Citronelle's trademark sense of fun and interesting preparations more than my meal did.

          Other possibilities:
          The Oval Room has a private room that can accommodate 20. The chef is ex-Jean Georges in NY and offers lots of interesting combinations and preparations.

          CityZen: No personal experience with private functions there, but I've really, really enjoyed my three experience with tasting meals at this place.