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Palena, Corduroy or ???

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  • wml20 Dec 7, 2009 12:34 PM
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Looking to impress and show off DC to a few foodies from NYC. Want a restaurant with top food and a more relaxed, neighborhood feel. Love Komi, but not able to do a 4 hours tasting extravaganza on this night. If we could order a la carte from Komi's menu, that would be perfect (but we are going on Saturday night). Cityzen and Citronelle are both amaz, but I want to avoid the formal, hotel scene.

Palena and Corduroy come to mind (though I haven't tried the latter since its move to a new location). Can you share recent experiences at these? Other recommendations would be great.

Thanks in advance for your help

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  1. We've been to Corduroy since it moved, and we thought it was great. Very sleek interior, including a cool bar on the second floor. Food and sevice both great and not hugely expensive.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Arabella09

      Thanks for this. What about being right across from convention center?

      Did you start with cocktails upstairs?

      1. re: wml20

        I too really, really liked Corduroy in the new space. I'm not sure what you mean by "what about being right across from the convention center?" I thought the atmosphere was great, the food spectacular and the service excellent. The neighborhood is, for sure, a little quieter and darker than some like Cleveland Park or Dupont, but that had its charm too.

    2. Depending on how big the group is you might include Proof on the list (I imagine it isn't a huge group if Palena is on the list). But Palena is just lovely. Central could also be on the list.

      4 Replies
      1. re: ktmoomau

        If you were choosing between Proof and Central, how would you pick?

        1. re: wml20

          Central.

          1. re: wml20

            Central, I really have liked everything there from the bread you start out with to the really good deserts. Some dishes may seem simple, but they are executed so well, but if you threw in the back room of Palena, that would probably win out.

            1. re: wml20

              I would pick Proof. I love their seafood and wine choices there and live the atmosphere.

          2. I just took visitors from Paris to Rasika. They said it was the best Indian food they have had and they are serious foodies. I have never had anything but great food and service there.

            2 Replies
            1. re: martyd

              Another vote for Rasika. This is one of my favorite restaurants in DC. Everything about it is superb - the food, service, atmosphere, price. This is the restaurant I would take my friends to if I want to show off DC. Every time I've brought food lovers here (and even for my wedding rehearsal dinner!) everyone, even non-Indian food lovers, LOVE it!

              The atmosphere also sounds like what you're looking for. It's got a fun, lively vibe, but it's also gorgeous.

              1. re: martyd

                I think Rasika is excellent. But you should be aware that it can get very, very noisy there...especially on a Saturday night. If you are looking to catch up with friends from NY who you haven't seen in awhile, it might be hard to carry on a conversation.

              2. Theses are my two very favorite restaurants in the city. Both are fabulous and you can not go wrong with either one. But. If I wanted to impress a foodie, I think I would go with Palena, because there is no other place like it. The food is just so memorable, its unbelievable. I really love Corduroy, and when I need a change, I go there, it also is terrific, more in an American comfort food of a very, very high caliber, and the restaurant itself is stunning.

                2 Replies
                1. re: susabella

                  Thanks for the feedback. I am thinking drinks at Dino and dinner at Palena. I haven't had dinner at Proof but I get the sense it is more scene & wine program than top-notch food. Any thoughts? Other places I have't considered?

                  1. re: wml20

                    I think drinks at Dino and dinner at Palena sounds wonderful! Wish I could come along :)

                2. Are you thinking about the front cafe of Palena or the more formal back room? Both are delicious but provide different atmospheres.

                  I would have trouble choosing between the two because they are both excellent. The new location of Corduroy is very good. I went in the Spring and thought the food was outstanding, especially the scallops. My boyfriend considers it one of the best meals he's ever had in DC.

                  I haven't been in the back dining room of Palena for a number of years, but I have always thought of them as consistently good. The menu changes more often (where I feel the Corduroy menu is more or less always the same).

                  The nice thing about Palena is if you want to sit in the cafe, wear jeans, and have a more relaxed neighborhood environment you can. You can also order from the cafe menu and the dining room menu, so you get the best of both worlds. (Only thing you give up is reservations.)

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Elyssa

                    What do you order at the cafe?

                    1. re: Jacey

                      I would make a res for the dining room at Palena I think. Apparently the burger on the cafe menu is great.

                  2. Corduroy now called themselves a "jacket preferred" restaurant - has anyone been recently and can tell me how formal it is?

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: reiflame

                      Wow that's new. When I went you couldn't wear jeans but a jacket wasn't required. I'm a little surprised that in this economy they would add something that would make them less accessible to the general public.

                      My boyfriend and I love Corduroy and don't mind wearing a nice dress or slacks for dinner. But I imagine we'll avoid the restaurant if my bf had to wear a jacket every time we went.

                      is it "preferred" at the bar as well?

                      1. re: Elyssa

                        what's the bar at the new corduroy location like?

                        1. re: wml20

                          Nothing too special...just your basic bar. Although it's smaller and quiet and therefore nice for dinner. I have also heard that they have a special bar menu sometimes.

                          1. re: Elyssa

                            Frankly, I preferred the old location for Corduroy; the new one strikes me as cold, and I always liked the hidden gem quality of a place like Corduroy in a Four Points hotel!

                            1. re: mifi

                              I also liked the old prices better!

                              Elyssa, it's jacket preferred so I'll follow up after our visit to let you know if my jacketless boyfriend looked out of place. We had a meal there almost a year ago that wasn't really up to par with my expectations of Corduroy, so I'm looking forward to trying again.