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Oct 16, 2009 09:58 AM

Parents visiting me in DC - need ideas for two restaurants

Chowhounders - can you help me decide on which restaurants to take my folks when they visit next weekend?

Thursday night we are going to Belga Cafe (my parents, my boyfriend, and I).

Friday night will be my parents, another couple that they haven't seen in years, my boyfriend, and myself. I'd like to go somewhere fun but not too loud or overwhelming so that they can catch up with their old friends.

Saturday night my parents will meet my boyfriends dad for the first time, so any place that creates warm, cozy feelings would be perfect!

Ideally, both places would have outstanding food, but not require getting too dressed up. I don't want anything super expensive (i.e., no Citronelle suggestions), but we are willing to pay for good food. My parents like Thai, Italian, steak & chops, seafood, Indian, Asian fusion, etc. They are not into Ethiopian or Afghan food.

I already checked to see if Rasika had openings, there are none that weekend. A few places that I am looking at are Sei, Zaytinya, Cafe Atlantico, Courdoroy, Blue Duck Tavern, Charlie Palmer Steak, Proof, Rice (I haven't tried any so not sure if these even fit with what I am looking for). Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

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  1. For the Friday night dinner I'd suggest Brasserie Beck, big space, elegant but still relaxed. Lots of different price points so you don't have to spend big (I'm usually happy with a shared app and their mussels/frites). Huge beer list and fun cocktails. Not sure of your location, but you seem to be open to DC areas.

    Sat. is tougher, for that I'd want to know what area you'd like to stay in?

    4 Replies
    1. re: mjhals

      Thanks! I will check out Brasserie Beck. Also considering Tosca for that night.

      Location doesn't matter much as I have a car or we can use the metro (so long as the restaurant isn't far from a stop, my dad does have some heart issues that prevent him from being able to walk too far, but he is generally ok if we take it slow).

      1. re: Chella

        I think Tosca or Corduroy would be perfect for the Saturday dinner.

      2. re: mjhals

        If you are going to Belga on Thursday you won't want to go to Brasserie Beck. It's a similar type of food (although in all honesty Brasserie Beck does it much better).

      3. For Friday I would go to Proof, PS7, Cafe Atlantico or Hook.

        Saturday night I would go to Dino---sounds perfect for what you are looking for. Blue Duck Tavern or Corduroy could also work.

        6 Replies
        1. re: Elyssa

          I was also thinking Dino, friendly place with an interesting menu, serious wine list but not dressy -- not as high end as other places suggested. I think Corduroy is too quiet and solemn (I've only been once) for the "warm, cozy" atmosphere you're looking for. I know it doesn't come up often here, but Cashion's Eat Place has the perfect atmosphere, if the food would suit you and its location would work (my parents love it). Proof also sounds like a good idea to me. What is the name of Rasika's sibling restaurant, I'm blanking on it?

          1. re: mselectra

            I was kinda thinking Cashion's also, as well as Johnny's (and I know they're not any longer connected like they used to be). Hanks also - just to brainstorm?

            I need to try Dino.

            1. re: Dennis S

              You know, Cashion's is probably my favorite DC restaurant (with Hong Kong Palace, as I said the other day; of course, they're pretty different). I don't have as much eating out experience as most people who post to CH, though, and I feel weird being about the only person to recommend it. My guess is that this neighborhood just doesn't get much chowhound attention in general (if Cashion's were in Penn Quarter, it would be different, but then again it doesn't have the loud, trendy PQ vibe). But really I think it meets the OP's criteria better than any other place mentioned, perfect atmosphere for her and wonderful food -- except it's too far from a metro stop for her father to walk and parking on a weekend night is horrible around there (I do think they have valet parking).

              I haven't been to Johnny's Half Shell.

              I actually think Dino's food isn't at the level of other places mentioned (or that it's a bit more hit and miss), but it feels welcoming and like they certainly care about the food.

              1. re: mselectra

                Technically you can get away with Cashion's for DC as a favorite and HKP as a favorite for NOVA or 7 Corners : )

                I *think* Johnny's has decent parking options. mselectra - you get to Johnny's and I'll get to Dino. Johnny's is in the same vein as Cashions (since the two were opened by a married couple), but Johnny's is more seafood oriented. The vibes for both are similarish.

                Oh, and when you go to Johnny's, get the wood fired wings as an app.

            2. re: mselectra

              I also thought of Dino right away; love that place!

              1. re: mselectra

                Cashion's is also a really good recommendation---great neighborhood spot with delicious food.

            3. per your suggestions:

              zaytinya, probably is a bit too busy/loud for meeting and conversation.
              coudoroy, is jackets required, perhaps too fancy?
              proof, is nice, i would say not too cozy or warm feeling creating though.

              2 Replies
              1. re: iatethesandbox

                Corduroy is not jackets required. My bf and I have been a few times and he's never worn a jacket. You can't wear jeans though. You can wear khakis and a nice button down for men though.

              2. If Central has reservations open I would add it to the list. Nice steak, fish, meats and for me it is cozy feeling, I am not sure why, but it is. I also love the fresh housemade bread and starters.

                I think Proof would be nice, I think of it as rather intimate and warm in a way (dimmer lights, but they are a warm color, etc) and the food is really good.

                Cafe Atlantico is more fun it may be more Friday night.

                If you go to Charlie Palmer and you like mushrooms, their mushroom side dish is very good. It is a little more polished and not as warm as the other places, but a great place for conversation.

                1. What about heading up to Cleveland park one of the evenings? you could have a glass of wine at Bardeo (you can get $5 valet parking if you have a drink at Bardeo) and then wander down to Lavandou (provencal french), Yanni (Greek), Sabores (tapas) or if you want something higher end, Palena. Proof would be good but it's hard to get sat nght reservations there. Tosca is great, but you would want to dress some there. Urbana is really nice, good bar & modern american food in the restaurant. If you can get in, Obelisk is an experience not to be missed but it is $75 PP on the weekends. You get the wonderful food (5 course N. italian) without the dress up requirement or snooty service.