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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:
    http://washington.org/restaurantwk/

    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: http://statedinner.wordpress.com/2009...) I have always been happy with my experience at Prime Rib though during Restaurant Week....plus 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
            http://www.opentable.com/promo.aspx?m...
            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 Week....plus 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.

                      http://www.theprimerib.com/dc/restaur...

                      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.

                    2. Got reservations for Poste - anyone been for restaurant week? How was it?

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: Melanie

                        I went for brunch and thought it was a rip off, and the server was not attentive.

                        I had high hopes, and hear good things, but it made me not want to return...

                        1. re: Jeserf

                          Oh dear! Perhaps we should reconsider! Or, since we're going for dinner, maybe it will be a bit better? I'll report back so we can compare notes.

                          1. re: Melanie

                            It can't be worse, and if you haven't been, it's probably still worth it.

                            Menu looks interesting - lots of figs, which are tasty. I'm sure it'll be better than our brunch!

                      2. Only one that I'm for sure going to this time is PassionFish in Reston. I had a reservation for there last RW but had to miss it due to being sick. Their menu looked great last time, hoping its the same this time around.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: beema

                          I love Passionfish regularly and that chain of restaurants normally does good at RW offering most of their menus. Their soups are really good fyi.

                        2. We're going to 701. Has anyone been there for RW?

                          1. What about Indique, Indique Heights or Bombay Club for RW?Worth going during RW? Your comments are appreciated.

                            1. Bibiana's menu:
                              http://www.bibianadc.com/pdfs/PDF-Res...

                              Not sure we're going to keep our reservations. There's only 1 main dish that's vegetarian (and the only fish my SO eats is Salmon), so we'll have to discuss.

                              Does anyone know - do we have to eat the RW menu? Their regular menu has a few options for us, and I really want to try it. If we could eat off the RW menu, I'll keep the reservation.

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: Jeserf

                                Yeah, wow, that's not really what I was hoping for either. I suppose I can sort of work up a little excitement for the risotto, although the antipasti options look good. Still...I'm going to have to reconsider my reservation also. Have to say, I had no idea J&G was participating in restaurant week and may have to see if I can still turn something up there instead.

                                1. re: Raids

                                  I'm probably only going to keep the reservation if we can order off the regular menu
                                  There are 3 vegetarian main courses on the regular menu, all of which sound great. The one option on the RW sounds good, but two people ordering the same thing? eh.

                                  I was hoping for their first RW they'd have more options to bring people in.

                                  1. re: Jeserf

                                    My boyfriend and I went to Bibiana tonight. Could have been great, but the food was extremely salty.
                                    (And you can only order off the restaurant menu.)
                                    Service was excellent, as was the dessert -- I had the salted caramel gelati (amazing).
                                    The veal meatballs were good, but a little bit salty.
                                    The pesto and scallops risotto was so salty that I couldn't eat it. I am usually very sensitive to a lot of salt, but my boyfriend also couldn't eat it.
                                    Tagliatelle ragu was good.
                                    I want to give this restaurant another chance since its still relatively new and the service, ambiance and dessert were all so good. But they seriously need to lay off the salt.

                                    -----
                                    Bibiana
                                    1100 New York Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20005

                                    1. re: Energy09

                                      So thaaaat's where all the salt went! I was there on Tuesday and 3 of the 4 of us had 3 of the fish dishes (the skate, the bass and the trout) and all 3 were woefully underseasoned. Perfectly cooked, but bland. I've had one prior wonderful meal there, and I'll definitely return but I won't do RW there again.

                              2. I'm excited about my reservation at Adour, if only for the great deal. I haven't heard much about the restaurant otherwise - I suspect it's price point alienates a lot of people.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: reiflame

                                  Adour was very good, in a very French technical way. Service was great and the food tasted good, and for the price of 2 entrees we got a full meal.

                                2. I'm heading to Sushi Taro for RW - should be interesting, my first time back since they re-opened (I know, I've been lazy, haha)

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: gyozagirl

                                    For all those who haven't seen this yet, DCFoodies yesterday put up their annual RW menu & extensions list: http://bit.ly/67gG6X

                                    I was hoping that 701 would offer its full menu, like it did last year. I called Sonoma to see if they're offering their full menu again, but was told that they will make a decision on what to offer this Sunday.

                                  2. Followed up with Bibiana, and they will only be serving their restaurant week menu

                                    Looks like I'll be canceling my reservations. We have a reservation for two for saturday night at 6:30...if anyone wants it!

                                    1. Anybody know what the deal is at Birch & Barley?

                                      I've been wanting to go there (mostly for the beer selection), but their menu looks decent as well. Wondering what kind of deal they are having for RW. Their website is very uninformative.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: beema

                                        My friend and I had a fabulous RW meal at Urbana. Meal selections come right off their regular menu --- very nice!

                                      2. So I have been not very impressed with RW week of late, but we had dinner at New Heights last night and it was lovely. The gin list is absolutely wonderful, I loved the krahn.

                                        I had the chicken liver pate to start which paired with the pickled vegetables was perfectly savory, creamy, crispy and tangy. The char was creamy in texture with crisp skin and it paired excellently with the broccoli rabe and sunchoke puree. For dessert I had the ginger creme brulee which was full of fresh ginger taste and the homemade biscotti served with it was some of the best biscotti I have had.

                                        But Hubby's pork dish was really incredible. The pork flavor in it was so intense, while the texture was not "toothsome" at all, but nice and tender. He had the doughnuts for dessert which were good, but the sauce that came with them was incredible and just addicting. He also had the soup which was good, but I liked my pate more.

                                        Ambiance was nice and we weren't rushed, the server was excellent, he chilled our wine while we sipped our cocktails. Made sure we had everything we needed at the right time and had good input.

                                        Anyway highly recommend New Heights for RW or otherwise. As a note, the portions were not huge, but I think they were well sized for a three course meal, none of us left hungry. But people who like big servings should note that.

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: ktmoomau

                                          We went to Tosca tonight for the first time, since we moved here recently. Loved it! Great service and delicious food! Tomorrow Rasika and then we have to decide between Sea Catch and PassionFish for the third meal. Any opinions?

                                          We're going to 1789 at the end of the month, since they extended RW there.

                                          1. re: MoCoMe

                                            We're going to 1789 tonight; one of our faves and just a note to all who procrastinated: i saw several high end places w/ cancellations today (just snagged the 1789 half an hour ago.....) Anyway, we usually do a bottle of wine but i noticed they are having wine flights with the RW courses. The ;price makes me think they may not be all that great but just wanted to see if anyone had gone there for RW and had the wine flight. And how was it? thanks

                                            1. re: MoCoMe

                                              I hope you decided on Passionfish, it would be the clear winner. They have really great soups fyi.

                                          2. Last week I went to Potenza for RW and oh my GOOODNESS it was HORRIBLE. I should have listened to the critics and just stayed home because Potenza turned out to be only half a step higher than Olive Garden. The only redeeming factor was that the service was wonderful and our waiter was a lovely man, very patient and charming and attentive.

                                            However, the food was baaaad.

                                            As an appetizer, I ordered the calamari stuffed with shrimp. It was rubbery and tasted like one of the processed fish balls that I expect to get in a bowl of noodles at a chinese restaurant (don't get me wrong, I love those processed fish balls, but this was uh...supposed to be calamari stuffed with shrimp....). The bruschetta as an appetizer was the better choice, and the one that my boyfriend wisely chose instead.

                                            The entrees were a better -- I ordered the basil pasta in a seafood stew and he ordered veal with polenta. The veal was nice, but the polenta was at times lemony and other times not. Not consistent at all. The basil pasta was nice and homemade, but the seafood was clearly frozen. The shrimp was rubbery, and there was a distinctive fishy smell. Not appetizing.

                                            Desserts were eh as well. I ordered the italian doughnuts which ended up being hard cinnamon balls of dough. He ordered chocolate mouse which was nothing spectacular either.

                                            All in all, we were seriously disappointed with our meal. Next time, go to the Olive Garden or better yet, crack open a jar of Ragu and reheat some pre-made pasta and make your own "Potenza" experience.

                                            -----
                                            Potenza
                                            1430 H Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: taylor_blair

                                              There are only a few things worth ordering at Potenza - the pizza, the lamb meatballs, and the risotto balls. And off the cocktail menu. Which is sort of nice, because that's easily a full dinner, everything is great, and it's a lot cheaper than ordering separate pasta dishes.