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Nov 2, 2009 06:56 AM

Crystal City / DC with a baby

Hey all- I'm taking my wife to DC this weekend for her birthday, along with our 6-month old daughter. I'm looking for great lunchtime spots -- t we're willing to drive into Arlington or Georgetown or whatever... we're gonna cook at night at the place where we're staying (my dad has a condo in Crystal City).

Specifically looking for:
Vietnamese - I know that DC is famous for great Vietnamese, but don't know where's a great place that's open for lunch.

One high-end place-- anywhere that serves lunch? Our daughter has been in nice places with no trouble during the day.

Great brunch (read: good bloodys, boisterous atmosphere, killer post-hangover food).

I know I'm not offering a lot of info, but we're pretty flexible.

Thanks in advance!

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    1. For Vietnamese you really should get to Eden Center at 7 Corners. Probably taking the Rt 50 approach will be easiest - 7 corners is a nightmare in terms of traffic engineering. It's been a bit since I've been there but there are numerous threads, so just do a refined search. With Eden Center you can walk around a little bit and take in some of the stores before or after eating.

      Alternatively you could go to Clarendon or Cleveland Park for Nam Viet (which I love). Minh's in the Clarendon area gets good mention here but I haven't been yet.

      1. How about Resturant Eve in Old Town Alexandria for your high end lunch? Lots of recs on board to search through.

        3 Replies
        1. re: MrsWheatie

          The lunch special is only during the week, not on weekends at Restaurant Eve.

          I was at CityZen this week, and Cafe Mozu in the same hotel (Mandarin Oriental, D St & Maryland Avenue SW) is a lovely setting and has a great-looking menu. It would be an upper-tier place, I think. It serves breakfast and lunch (but they've done away with brunch).

          Tabard Inn gets a lot of good brunch recs here. And Cafe Atlantico for brunch for some very innovative cooking.

          1. re: weezycom

            Was Cafe Mozu still operating when you were at CityZen? I remember reading that this restaurant was going to be closed and its menu revamped to focus on a cuisine other than pan-Asian. I thought a name change was part of the process.

            That said, I love the ambiance at Cafe Mozu. The views are spectacular, the service is impeccable, and the food -- at least the pan-Asian menu -- is always reliably tasty if not exactly inspired.

            CityZen Restaurant
            1330 Maryland Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20024

            1330 Maryland Ave SW, Washington, DC 20024

            1. re: Indy 67

              It was open and we took a quick tour of it -- we had very early dinner reservations, so there were only a couple of tables in use in there at the time. My friends had spent a wedding anniversary at the hotel a year before and were pointing out changes in the restaurant from then, and one of the staff members said that there were fewer Asian dishes -- much less sushi -- on the menu now. Still a very beautiful room.

        2. Yeah, I was sad to find out that Eve only does lunch during the week. I've wanted to go there for a long time, and I hate that we can't make it work with the baby... but such is life.

          In doing some research, I came upon the Maine Street Wharf, specifically Jimmy's, and Present for Vietnamese. Thoughts on either of those? I've been to Nam Viet and it was awesome, so I'll be happy to go there again, but Present looked pretty cool.

          6 Replies
          1. re: Pigloader

            Present is a nice place with nice surroundings. But going to Eden Center (a tad closer to you) is like going to Saigon. Nothing exactly like it. An entirely Vietnamese Shopping Center with over 23 restaurants and other shops. Some of the most interesting places, foodwise, are not visible from the street.; they are 'hidden' inside interior corridors. The one I like best is Nha Trang, which you can get to from a doorway under the big Saigon East sign.
            I recommend the Noodle Dish with shrimp paste "in the shape of worms" as it says on the menu (I think #11) , and appetizers of roast quail, minced clam on sesame cracker, and the garden rolls with ground pork and crispy wonton (#7). All the above is a ton of food. They also have many standard dishes you'll find elsewhere.

            1. re: Steve

              Nice! That sounds like fun. I think we'll definitely check that out.

              1. re: Pigloader

                And keep in mind the couple of things I mentioned, especially with a 6 month old. You can peruse the mall before, after or in between small meals.

                You can also search the board (limit the time to past year at most) for recent action there. There have been some big changes in the last two years, so old info may not serve well.

                1. re: Dennis S

                  hey dennis-- yeah, i was taking your endorsement into account too... :) anybody have an opinion on the wharf?

                  1. re: Pigloader

                    I haven't been in a couple of years, but I can't imagine it's changed much. It's not too big, but I used to like taking visitors there for something like fried clams eaten on the sidewalk. Generally the larger restaurants further down Maine aren't worth it, and that definitely goes for Phillips.

                    1. re: Pigloader

                      The Maine Avenue Wharf may be a good place to buy raw seafood, but the cooked stuff is inexpertly fried and just not very good. Ok to go if the weather is very nice, but just a PITA if it's not. No where to sit and eat or to even stand and eat for that matter.

            2. It's may be a bit more rustic than you're wanting, but the Sine Irish Pub in Pentagon City has some fantastic pub fare for the "killer post-hangover food" part of your search.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Aravisea

                No no... rustic is good! I want a younger crowd, somewhere where we feel ok in jeans and hungover with our baby-- good coffee, good bloodies, and yummy food. i'll check out that pub-- sounds like it'll be close to where we're staying, too.

                Anyone else for last minute brunch recs? :)

                1. re: Pigloader

                  We're at Sine a lot less now that we live in Fairfax City instead of Shirlington...I really miss their bangers and mash!

                  Let us know where you end up!