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Going to DC...any recommendations?

sarcasmsk Sep 14, 2009 10:28 AM

I'm going to Washington DC next month and I want to check out some of the "must have" places, whether it is the hidden find or the obvious choice that everyone knows.




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  1. b
    burgeoningfoodie RE: sarcasmsk Sep 14, 2009 10:54 AM

    There are a lot of links but are you interested or averse to any certain type of food? What is your access like and where is your "base of operation" and budget?

    1 Reply
    1. re: burgeoningfoodie
      sarcasmsk RE: burgeoningfoodie Sep 15, 2009 05:23 PM

      Everything is an option. I have access to the Metro, so I can cover pretty much any area. I know usually more specifics will get you more responses, but I am so wide open.

    2. s
      Steve RE: sarcasmsk Sep 16, 2009 09:36 AM

      "Hidden finds"

      Follow these specific recs, you will do some fantastic eating:

      Thai X-ing: Only a couple of tables here, so getting seated is sometimes difficult..A unique experience. Everyone goes for the red curry salmon, a MUST ORDER. More like eating in someone's home rather than a restaurant. Maybe call first. Opens at 4pm. For a rounded meal, go for the tofu soup and the pad kana. Don't expect spicy food here. Just expect it to be great.

      Oohhs and Aahhs, at 10th and U Sts, NW. A soul food kitchen with four stools, plus an eating area upstairs. A real dive. Conveniently located, though, across the street from the U St/Cardozo Metro stop. Get the grilled shrimp, the lemon pepper wings, or the broiled crabcake, in that order. Greens and rice with gravy as sides.

      El Rinconcito, 1129 M St., NW. Salvadoran. Carne Deshilada - order this with egg. Very good tamales also. Loroco papusas to round things off.

      Higher class stuff:
      Brasserie Beck., Belgian, go for the potato gratin with pork belly, the brussels sprouts, and the liver parfait. Rochefort Trappistes #10 to drink, of course.

      Central: The combination duck rillettes/faux gras appetizer. Food here (as for BB above) is very filling. Softshell Crabs if they have them. Fried chicken or the tuna burger if not. House wines are more expensive than good. Go for something else.

      10 Replies
      1. re: Steve
        sarcasmsk RE: Steve Sep 16, 2009 04:47 PM

        Just because I love his place at the Bazaar, is Jose Andres's place worth going to? I think it's called Atlantico?

        Steve, those all sound real good, thanks!!!

        Keep em coming.

        1. re: sarcasmsk
          mjhals RE: sarcasmsk Sep 16, 2009 05:16 PM

          I love Cafe Atlantico, but confess I've only been for brunch. The brunch is awesome, and really different from anything I've ever had. Have heard it compared to his very exclusive, very innovative, Mini Bar (in the same restaurant, just 6 or so seats in front of the kitchen, have never been myself, so again, can't compare). The brunch is known as latino dim sum and is a selection of a lot of small plates. When I've been we've ordered a la carte (about 3-5 dishes apiece), but I think a good way to go is the prixe fixe offering. I think it's about $35 and they pick the most popular dishes to serve so kind of takes the guess work out. Anyway, it's a fun experience, in Penn Quarter.

          1. re: sarcasmsk
            Doh RE: sarcasmsk Sep 16, 2009 06:02 PM

            If you want to try an Andres restaurant you could also try Oyamel or Jaleo.

            1. re: sarcasmsk
              Steve RE: sarcasmsk Sep 16, 2009 06:20 PM

              DC is a Jose Andres playground.

              Cafe Atlantico was his first place. The regular menu is only ok. Inside, there is Minibar, which is only six stools, VERY expensive, and difficult to get a reservation. On Sundays, there is a Latina Dim Sum Brunch where you can order a la carte or a 14 course brunch for $35. Both Minibar and the Brunch are fantastic.

              Jaleo (Spanish Tapas) was his next place, and it is my favorite. Rustic European cooking. So simple and very well executed. Search for my recs.

              Zaytinya is pan-Hellenic tapas. Also a very good restaurant, a bit more pricey and fancy than Jaleo.

              Oyamel is Mexican. Well researched, good food, though I think the antojitos are below par, especially for an Angeleno.

              1. re: Steve
                sarcasmsk RE: Steve Sep 19, 2009 08:24 AM

                A friend of mine said something about Ray's Hell Burger...Thoughts? Feelings? Comments?

                1. re: sarcasmsk
                  Steve RE: sarcasmsk Sep 19, 2009 08:48 AM

                  Exceptional. And a good value to boot. Huge burger, soda, and side of corn for $10. Located about four blocks east of the Courthouse Metro Stop in Arlington, VA. If you go, I advise getting nothing on your burger, no cheese, nothing, and don't put any condiments on it either. Also do not order more than medium rare as it will come out well done. But this is a burger worth going out of your way for.

                  If you don't mind going to this very close-in neighborhood, then right across the street is a casual but very nice Kazakh restaurant called Cafe Assorti. Excellent stuffed breads with egg and scallion, cabbage, or ground pork. Also very good soups, manti (enormous stuffed dumplings, get the pink sauce). Plain tasting, but deeply satisfying and hearty fare.

                  1. re: Steve
                    sweth RE: Steve Sep 22, 2009 09:19 PM

                    I second everything Steve says, except to suggest the au poivre burger at Ray's.

                    1. re: sweth
                      Steve RE: sweth Sep 23, 2009 05:51 AM

                      The only reason why I suggest not getting toppings on the burger, at least once, is to go ahead and taste the burger by itself. It's fantastic and doesn't need toppings.... but maybe some of them are very delicious. The only one I've tried is the bone marrow, and I think it detracts. Of course, it's more expensive as well.

                      I'm sure I'll go ahead and take your 'au poivre' suggestion for the next time.

                      1. re: Steve
                        Ericandblueboy RE: Steve Sep 23, 2009 07:01 AM

                        I like foie gras on my burger...it's really good.

                        1. re: Steve
                          sweth RE: Steve Sep 24, 2009 06:39 PM

                          I'm actually not a fan of most of the toppings there. But taking a good burger and adding in a nice layer of black pepper is hard to mess up, and so they don't mess it up and the result is Good.

            2. ktmoomau RE: sarcasmsk Sep 21, 2009 07:02 AM

              You might check out the top ten thread here on the board it lists a lot of peoples favorites.

              Where are you from that might make a difference in what you want to eat... I am thinking LA?

              I love Central I go quite often- pretty obvious, but I really enjoy it.

              Rays Hellburger is really good, my favorite burger. I really like the au poivre burger.

              To me breakfast or lunch at the Market Lunch is a must do for visitors the blueberry buckwheat pancakes and crab cakes are so good.

              If you want a great view of the city you might make a reservation for the bar at the top of the Hotel Washington now the W Hotel.

              I also think if you are from anyplace that isn't known for great Indian you should check out Rasika it is a favorite of mine too.

              1 Reply
              1. re: ktmoomau
                sarcasmsk RE: ktmoomau Sep 28, 2009 09:36 PM

                I live in LA. Going to MD/DC/VA to visit college buddies...went to U Maryland College Park. I currently work at a hotel in Beverly Hills, so expanding my knowledge of other cities is helpful to me professionally as well.

              2. j
                jac0077 RE: sarcasmsk Sep 23, 2009 07:20 AM

                Got to hit Ben's Chili Bowl. Been there for 50 years or close to it. It survived the riots in the 60's when all buildings in that area were vandalized or worse. They haven't changed a thing inside or out. Their chili half-smoke is one of the true tasty treats in the country.
                U Street corridor and metro accessible.

                1 Reply
                1. re: jac0077
                  Steve RE: jac0077 Sep 23, 2009 07:28 AM

                  i like Ben's Chili Bowl, I really do. My problem is that out-of-towners go out of their way to get there, and in the same neighborhood they could instead be eating fantastic soul food at Oohhs and Aahhs. Have you tried the grilled shrimp at Oohhs and Aahhs? Or the lemon pepper wings? Compared to this, the food at Ben's is pretty lame. Some of the better street vendors in DC serve a chili halfsmoke 100% as good.

                  Nice ambience though at Ben's. I recommend eating at Oohhs and Aahhs, and then poking your head in at Ben's.

                2. j
                  Jeremy303 RE: sarcasmsk Sep 23, 2009 08:29 AM

                  Rasika for Indian
                  Charlie Palmer Steakhouse- for Steak, and an amazing rooftop terrace view, call ahead and ask to see the view
                  other good options are Palena, Komi, and Tosca.

                  There are so many other great options as well.

                  What type of food are you looking for?

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