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Dec 24, 2009 09:56 AM

What restaurant are you excited about for DC's restaurant week?

Hello to all!
I’m very excited about DC's Restaurant week although, this will be the first time I will be able to actually participate. Any suggestions for any cool deals or places to avoid? I was thinking about checking out Rasika or Palena or maybe some more expensive places..... What’s your experience?

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  1. Palena does not participate in Restaurant Week.

    Here is a link to the full list:

    The value in RW is directly correlated with how extensive their list of menu options is relative to their full menu. Do your research.

    3 Replies
    1. re: mmusiker

      Right. -Its difficult (to research) considering a lot of restaurants’don’t update their websites in correlation with their current menu. Even if most restaurants did, it would be difficult to know what -on their RW menu- is good, compared to the restaurants normal menu. Therefore, actual person to person experience is helpful (however I did find a few, somewhat helpful links last week though)

      1. re: mmusiker

        Interesting to see that Volt is on the list, yet when you try to reserve for dinner there during RW on Open Table, you can't. Why would they be compelled to participate if they were full? Is that just a way of creating buzz?
        I think your best bet, short of seeing the actual menu, is choosing the best restaurants. Those of lower quality generally are not bargains at the RW prices, and can actually be less expensive ordering off the regular menu.

        1. re: a1234

          I noticed that -about volt- ( I tried to make reservations there several weeks ago and the earliest date i got was late february) Also same thing for 2941 -at least for the entire weekend)

      2. I'm going to Birch and Barley, Bibiana, and Oya. I'm going back to Oya because I was there last year during restaurant week without even realizing it ahead of time and ended up ordering off that menu, and it was great! Bibiana is new and was recently reviewed in the Post, so I figure they're probably going to capitalize on the opportunity. I've been going to Churchkey a lot lately, so I figure I've got to give the restaurant downstairs a try, and besides no matter what happens with the entree I hear the pretzel rolls are fantastic.

        Last time around I went to Chef Geoff's and TenPenh. Chef Geoff's was a waste of time, predictably, I suppose, and the staff at TenPenh was just kind of rude in that "God I hate restaurant week" kind of way.

        8 Replies
        1. re: Raids

          I also have Bibiana reservations, but am waiting to see if they have a menu that suits us (no meat, but boyfriend eats salmon). The regular menu looks great for vegetarians, so I'm hoping there's more than 1 option, or they open up their whole menu (wishful thinking?)

          1. re: Jeserf

            I'm not sure if that's wishful thinking or not. For the most part, the entrees are within $10 of each other already anyway, and you think they'd want to introduce the regular menu. I'm definitely hoping the risotto with black truffles is an option. The agnolloti got great reviews in Tom Seitsema's column, too.

            1. re: Raids

              It seems like restaurants aren't posting their RW menu or notifying if they're extending as much in advance as they usually do...or is it just me? I'd like to know who is extending and whether it's worth trying them another time (like PS7 or Rasika, which I have a reservation for later in the month b/c we missed our last one due to the snow...we were sad to miss our palak chaat!)

              1. re: Jeserf

                I have a reservation for rasika (so excited). But Im also trying to decide between Vidalia, Prime Rib, or zaytinya. Or maybe even policy or oya -im just hesitant for the last two because they are already some-what cheap (at least they offer simple pre fixe under 30$)

                1. re: PatrickG

                  I would go to Prime Rib for your 2nd reservation. I went to Vidalia during the Summer's RW and was a little disappointed. (See: I have always been happy with my experience at Prime Rib though during Restaurant it's a nice excuse to get dressed up.

                  I would also not go to Zaytinya since you don't get as much bang for your buck. And while Oya is quite good (I went for the first time during RW 2 years ago) I think they often have a 3-course deal throughout the year.

                  1. re: Elyssa

                    Agreed with Elyssa about Vidalia. I and five friends went for Summer '09 RW and we were universally disappointed. And now that Vidalia no longer offers its full menu for RW, I don't see any reason to put it high on any list.

          2. re: Raids

            I was thinking of oya too although, I saw that they already a lower-on-the-scale pre fix menu for lunch and dinner. So I feel like I wouldn’t necessarily be taking advantage of RW....

            1. re: PatrickG

              Hmmm...I couldn't say. I don't recognize anything on the menu from when I was there last, but I'd have to think that they're going to do something besides raise the price of their regular prix fixe menu by a few bucks, you know?

          3. Can somebody tell me how this RW works? From reading the posts here it sounds like they have special menu during RW. I tried to check opentable listing for the RW
            and couple of restaurant websites (like Rasika) and they haven't posted the RW menus.

            During the RQ the restaurant quote cheaper price for the items? Someone please explain.

            1 Reply
            1. re: slickffx

              Some restaurants offer a limited menu for the restaurant week price and some offer their entire menu. It depends on the restaurant's choice.

            2. I'm looking forward to both my RW reservations- The Prime Rib and Taberna del Albernico. I've been wanting to try both for awhile, but both are a bit out of my price range for the type of food they serve (I'm now spoiled by Rays and think I should be able to get in and out of any steak place for under $100 for two, and I'm very curious to see the quality of the spanish/tapas at Taberna- I'm just not used to $35+ entrees at a Spanish restaurant). So I'm looking forward to heading to both on the (relative) cheap.

              9 Replies
              1. re: mjhals

                You should be aware that Taberna has been pretty universally panned during RW. I've always stayed away from making a reservation there because so many friends have had bad experiences during RW. You can go to Taberna for an affordable price tag throughout the year by going to their M-F happy hours. The tapas and sangria are half off up until around 7pm and are DELICIOUS! I personally would take that route instead since I've been told that their service and food are seriously lacking for some reason during Restaurant it's a pretty limited menu.

                That said, you'll have an excellent experience at the Prime Rib.

                1. re: Elyssa

                  Hmmm, that's too bad. I hope to have a more positive experience to relay on Wed! Although it does worry me that they don't have their RW posted on their website (or even mention it, from what I can see), or anywhere else for that matter. We've tried to make it for their Happy Hour, but can never seem to find a time before 7. At least we'll be able to order off the tapas menu if the RW doesn't look thrilling, as I'm assuming it'll be offered as well if they're not big on RW.

                  Taberna is our group pick, and Prime Rib is date night for my husband and I (just bought the poor guy a jacket), so should be a full week. Soup and salads this week in anticipation of a splurge!

                  1. re: mjhals

                    Is a jacket really necessary anymore? I have heard great things about The Prime Rib for RW and would like to capitalize on the offer and take my boyfriend there but we are young (college) and I'm not even sure he owns a jacket. I know that we'll stick out like a sore thumb anyways, so does anyone have any insight into jacket/no jacket, etc. We'll obviously dress up (business casual).

                    1. re: emmaleeb

                      Dress code for the prime rib:
                      Business Casual before 5:00pm. Jacket is required for gentlemen at dinner. Ties optional.

                      Don't assume that the Prime Rib is lax for restaurant week. You can call and check, but in the past they have not broken their rules. Why don't you go for a late lunch during the week, if it works with your class schedule? (they don't offer lunch on weekends). It's pretty much the same menu, just a $4 upcharge for the prime rib, but you'll still end up spending $10 less than you would at dinner and you won't have to go through the hassle of finding a jacket.


                      1. re: SouthShore

                        Thanks! Yeah we were planning to do lunch but will probably go somewhere else instead (not due to dress code or anything). I knew they wouldn't be lax just for RW but I thought I had read in another thread that someone went without a jacket and it was fine (maybe it was for lunch).

                      2. re: emmaleeb

                        A jacket is required but if your bf doesn't own one he can always borrow one from the restaurant. I'm pretty sure they keep a couple on hand just in case.

                        I can't really tell you if you'll stick out like a sore thumb or feel out of place....that's a personal feeling. But the first time I went was on a date with my bf and I was 24 or 25 at the time. We personally love old-school places like that and often dine at spots where we are some of the younger people in the room. It doesn't personally bother me, but you should be aware of what the dress code is ahead of time and plan accordingly. Maybe he can borrow a jacket from a friend...or perhaps this is the time to head over to Filene's Basement and purchase his first suit for future job interviews etc :) Could make for a fun outing at an affordable price.

                        1. re: Elyssa

                          Yes very true ... it's probably time to do a little dreaded shopping anyways : )

                          Not sure if we'll go because we're thinking of a couple of other places but thanks for the tips.

                          Yeah, I'm not really one to feel out of place but I figured it was possible that it might be a bunch of business professionals and then ... us ... whereas when we did Vidalia and PS 7's last year it was a very diverse mix of people.

                      3. re: mjhals

                        Taberna now has their menu up, and it looks pretty good to me, I already see a few choices I wouldn't mind (the salmon w/ grapes and shrimp looks really interesting). Desserts don't look too exciting, but the eggplant and goat cheese napoleon to start looks awesome.

                        1. re: mjhals

                          Just to report back- we had a wonderful experience at Taberna. It was perfect, RW didn't seem to diminish the service or the food at all. First of all, the restaurant itself is beautiful- more so than I expected. I would definitely put it on the list for a romantic date night. And the service was attentive and very, very professional. They had RW menus on every table, so didn't convey the (sometimes) snooty attitudes that restaurants can have about you "only" being there for RW. The food itself was wonderful- I had the eggplant and goat cheese napoleon to start and my husband had the green salad w/ roasted red peppers. His looked beautiful and he said it was great and very fresh. Mine wasn't as pretty but delicious. Nice combo of cheese w/ honey and roasted nuts to accomany the slightly bitter eggplant. I had the salmon and asked for it med rare- and points to the restaurant for trying to honor the request (I find some just cook it how they're going to cook it and you get a dry filet no matter what). Unfortunately, they erred a little too much on the rare side, so the middle was raw, which I could have dealt w/ as I love salmon sashimi, but it was also cold, and that I couldn't handle w/ the warm crust. So I sent it back and they were incredibly accomodating about it and quick, and their second attempt was perfect (same piece of fish which I actually really appreciate, I hate the idea that they might have wasted the first try). So even w/ the minor blip I thought it was great, since they handled it so well. Husband had the veal ternera and it was wonderful- tender and flavorful. Dessert, as I predicted from the description, was not my favorite- I had the chees flan and it had good flavor but the texture for me was just alright, I would have preferred just a cheese plate.

                          In my opinion, they did RW right. It felt like a great deal (even though the pitcher of sangria upped the price a bit), and I felt like the restaurant was putting their best foot forward. We'll definitely go back, especially to try the tapas- the calamari and tortilla espanola looked wonderful.

                  2. Rasika has posted their RW menu in their website (under Events), other than the spinach chat I don't see anything exciting there.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: slickffx

                      Really? that sucks. maybe I should just cancel my reservation's and just go with the full menu. And in the meantime try to get a reservation for the prime rib or vidalia. :(

                      1. re: PatrickG

                        if you've never been, it's still a good opportunity to try it....however, they have a regular pre-theater menu that is also inexpensive.