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Restaurants where you can dress up and not feel overdressed?

We're going out with another couple next month for a celebration dinner and we'd like to dress up (cocktail dresses and suits) and not feel overdressed relative to the other guests. We'd also like to go somewhere where we haven't been before, so that eliminates CityZen, Citronelle, Marcel's, Eve and the IALW. Anything left? We're open to any place in DC, VA or MD. Thanks!

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  1. How about the back room of Palena? You would be more than comfortable wearing a suit or cocktail dress there and the food is excellent.

    Perhaps Equinox as well.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Elyssa

      Thanks, Elyssa. I should have mentioned that I originally made a reservation at Palena only to receive a phone call several days later telling me that the restaurant was booked for a private event that night! So, I'm starting over. Equinox is a definite possibility.

      1. re: foodtrip

        Oh that's a bummer re: Palena. But Equinox would be great. Chef Gray is one of my favorite chefs in town! He'll treat you right.

    2. You might be slightly overdressed for Komi but it's definitely up there in terms of quality of food with CityZen, Citronelle, Eve, Marcel's & IALW. You can also try the Minibar or the Chef's Table at Teatro Goldoni. A notch below foodwise (IMO) but in a beautiful setting is 2941.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Ericandblueboy

        Thanks, Eric. We have been to Komi (absolute favorite!). I think we would feel overdressed. Teatro Goldoni and 2941 are definite possibilities. Thanks!

      2. Here are a few suggestions: 2941 (Falls Church), Inn at Little Washington (Washington, VA), Minibar at Cafe Atlantico, Al Tiramisu (here you may see people not in suites, but most people have a sports jacket on). Oh and Occidental at the Willard hotel in DC.

        1. I would second Palena, and add The Source to the list of places I don't feel overdressed wearing that attire, but also really enjoy the food.

          I have never been to the chef's table at Teatro Goldini, but have heard good things.

          1 Reply
          1. re: ktmoomau

            Thanks, kt. We've been to the Source. Teatro Goldoni is a possibility. Thanks!

          2. Corduroy fits your needs perfectly and the food does not get enough attention around here. The pork belly, any soup on the menu, and the lobster salad are not to be missed.

            1. The Prime Rib requires that gentlemen where a jacket

              6 Replies
              1. re: dining with doc

                First choice: Plume at the Hotel Jefferson (new). Second choice: the Prime Rib. Neither Goldoni nor 2941 are on the same level as these. MiniBar is not dressy nor is Komi; as much I love Enzo's Chef's Table at Goldoni I don't believe it's quite as dressy as Plume or the Prime Rib. A distant third would be L'Auberge Chez Francois.

                Plume feels like a three Michelin star in the 7th Arrondisement.

                http://www.jeffersondc.com/photo-gall... Dress as you would for, say, Le Cinq or Robuchon in his old dining room.

                1. re: Joe H

                  I've never even heard of Plume yet. Have you been? Where is it exactly?

                  1. re: Joe H

                    Yes I'd love to read a review of the food if you've been. The photos look stunning.

                    1. re: scotcheroo

                      Our first visit will be in several weeks. But this is an extremely interesting and very ambitious restaurant. For foodtrip, who seems very sophisticated, this could be a really interesting destination for a celebratory dinner.

                    2. re: Joe H

                      Thanks Joe. We're going to let Plume settle in a little more. Early reports have been uneven. We look forward to your report of your visit.

                      We have made a decision and it's quite a suprise, especially to us! We've decided to go to the Prime Rib! Normally, this restaurant would not be on our radar as we don't eat a lot of beef. However, on the very day that I wrote this query and Joe H. responded with the Prime Rib, my husband came home and I asked him, "Have you ever been to the Prime Rib?" thinking that he might have had a business lunch there. He replied, " Yes, years ago. But, you know what, I drove by there today and thought to myself, 'prime rib, hmmm, that sounds good.' " Anyway, after consultation with our friends and viewing the restaurant's website, we've decided that this would be a great blast from the past. We all grew up during the 60s when this kind of restaurant was the only kind of fancy restaurant around. We're looking forward to great martinis and shrimp cocktail! Maybe James Bond will make an appearance!

                      1. re: foodtrip

                        I grew up in the '60's, too. Well, the '50's also! The Prime Rib is swanky; think chrome, mirrors, black leather, leopard prints, floral arrangements literally six feet high, along with a large black piano. It's bar is legendary for Congressmen and their, ahem!, staff.... This is an important restaurant that I've taken a lot of clients to from out of town. It feels "K street." Actually, it IS K street. YOu should dress up. I must also add that this is a place where if you have a Rolex no one will even wonder whether it's real or not.

                        But you'll love it. It also has the best crabcake in the D. C. area-this started as a Baltimore restaurant. Have a great time!

                  2. Nobody has mentioned 1789 in Georgetown, where (IIRC) gentlemen are required to wear a jacket.

                    Lovely place on a cold night when the fireplace is roaring.

                    Last time I went (two years ago) the food was very good too.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: msr3017

                      Absolutely agree on the lovely 1789.

                    2. I suppose this is really a matter of perspective. I wear suits just about everywhere I go to dinner. The great thing about Washington is that you can never be overdressed -there's no problem going to Ben's Chili Bowl at 2am in black tie. But, I understand this is about how you "feel" and not my level of comfort. Any of the big steakhouses and seafood places will work. If I had to take a date to a black tie event, I would probably end up at Charlie Palmer's, 1789, The Palm, maybe Kinkead's. Any of those places should easily accommodate suits and dresses. What type of atmosphere do you want: lively, romantic, quiet, ect? That answer can certainly change the list.

                      1. to paraphrase Quentin Crisp and use it in the the reverse "never try to keep up with the Jones, drag them down to your level"

                        screw 'em and be the best damn dressed table in the house if you feel like it. if there is discomfort, that is entirely not your problem.

                        move with boldness and politesse is sort of my new motto (it used to be "I'm along for the ride" which worked, but...) maybe I'm trying to join the 2. anyway over dressing is never wrong unless we're discussing Bride of Frankenstein costumes. but that could be amusing. in March.

                        1. I really appreciate all of the responses from everyone, especially those who suggested that we should dress up no matter where we went. I like your attitude. As I posted above, we decided on The Prime Rib, not only because we would feel comfortable dressed up, but also because it had a certain nostalgia factor. So, we went last night.

                          We loved the ambiance, the music (live piano music, specializing in jazz standards from the mid-century, e.g, Dave Brubeck), the service, and the wine list (surprisingly, some good values). We felt like we were in a 1950s supper club!

                          We were not so crazy about the food. For apps, I had the shrimp cocktail – again, purely a nostalgia thing – my mother used to serve this every holiday and I loved it. This was served with 4 tiger prawns and cocktail sauce. The sauce was very good, a nice horseradish bite; the shrimp not so much, overcooked and mealy. The rest of the party all had the Lobster Bisque which they uniformly described as mediocre – no particular lobster taste, not creamy, and, worst of all, all 3 said there were bits of lobster shell in the soup. We all ordered the Prime Rib (the Split Cut, 10 oz). Sides included the baked potato with sour cream, sautéed mushrooms, and creamed spinach. We all agreed that the prime rib was good (especially with the horseradish), the baked potato was very well cooked, and the creamed spinach was just alright, nothing special. For dessert, 2 of us had the apple pie ala mode which we found acceptable but kind of tasteless. The other 2 had the Hot Fudge Sundae which they both described as mediocre.

                          Had we visited here in the 60s or 70s, I’m sure that the food would have been stellar in our minds. However, since then, we have dined in so many upscale restaurants all over the world that this food just can’t compete.

                          Prime Rib
                          2020 K Street, NW, Washington, DC 20006