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Old school DC restaurant for parents' 50th Anniversary? 15-20people

d
dipsy Jun 9, 2010 04:26 PM

I haven't lived in DC in over 20 years so I'm rusty. I need to figure out a place for my parents' 50th Anniversary dinner. Is there anything remotely similar to the old Maison Blanche? I know they mourned its passing. Citronelle is not their style - they've been (with me) but I think it's too adventurous for them. And thus I'd rule out City Zen as well. Nothing nouveau/nuevo/fusiony. I'd consider l'Auberge Chez Francois but we recently did another family gathering there. Any suggestions?

Thank you in advance!

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Citronelle
3000 M Street NW, Washington, DC 20007

  1. l
    lrmiller Jun 9, 2010 05:15 PM

    Other than L'Auberge, I like to take visiting family to 1789 in Georgetown (the Middleburg Room upstairs is especially nice for private dining, but there is no elevator, unfortunately, if you've got older people in your party.) The Willard can be lovely as well. Finally, there's the Inn at Little Washington, if you are willing to drive for a bit.

    1. i
      Indy 67 Jun 9, 2010 05:46 PM

      I've eaten meals at private events at Citronelle that had none of the adventurousness for which the restaurant is famous. My husband and I were quite ambivalent about these meals. We understood the need to serve classic non-demanding dishes and the food certainly was delicious. However, we were disappointed by the lost opportunity to eat some of Richard's more innovative dishes.

      If the name Citronelle won't scare your parents after their uncomfortable experience there, I suggest you consider this restaurant. As a start, go to the web site and follow the links for private dining. You'll find Citronelle's private event menus to be far more conservative than the food currently being served in the dining room. Even if nothing appeals to you on the posted menu, you could contact the private events planner at Citronelle to see what she proposes.

      1. e
        Elyssa Jun 9, 2010 07:47 PM

        1789 is perfect for this type of event.

        1. DanielK Jun 9, 2010 07:59 PM

          The Prime Rib screams old school, but you'll be so happy with the namesake dish or crab cakes, that you won't care.

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

          1 Reply
          1. re: DanielK
            d
            dining with doc Jun 10, 2010 06:36 AM

            2nd Prime Rib
            also could do The Palm

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

          2. m
            MSommelier Jun 10, 2010 06:15 AM

            La Chaumiere in Georgetown is old school and still very good. They have a private room upstairs.

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            La Chaumiere
            2813 M Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20007

            2 Replies
            1. re: MSommelier
              d
              dinwiddie Jun 10, 2010 12:21 PM

              Depending on how many people you are thinking of having at dinner, I'd suggest you look at Palena (the back room, not the Cafe) inovative cooking but not too playful. Great and discrete service, very much an old school dining room type feel.

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              Palena
              3529 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008

              1. re: dinwiddie
                e
                Elyssa Jun 11, 2010 05:04 AM

                Another good recommendation!

            2. j
              JillianK Jun 10, 2010 02:05 PM

              Perhaps try Ris in the West End. It's the new restaurant of Ris Lacoste, formerly of 1789. I had a delicious lamb shank there and the staff was very hospitable. It's a new restaurant but the food is very classic.

              2 Replies
              1. re: JillianK
                d
                dipsy Jun 10, 2010 08:09 PM

                Thank you all for your input. Some great suggestions here. Another one that came to mind was the Jockey Club - I know my parents dined there in the 70s and at the time it was very glam. I see they have a new chef and I wonder if I should consider that as well? Anyone been recently? Inn at Little Washington probably wouldn't work as two of the party are young children (ages 4 and 6) and I think that's the kind of restaurant people go to to escape from the shorties. In the meantime, I will investigate all these suggestions. I don't have a lot of time to pull this together. The original plan for an out of town gathering fell through so now I'm scrambling for a place that will evoke the nostalgia of Washington in 1960 when my parents first moved here as newlyweds. But I do thank you all for your feedback! Cheers, Dipsy.

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                Jockey Club Restaurant
                2100 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20008

                1. re: dipsy
                  f
                  foodtrip Jun 13, 2010 06:54 PM

                  If you want to recreate the Washington of 1960, then The Prime Rib is perfect -- the food and the ambiance absolutely evoke that era. I also think 1789 would work. You haven't said how large the party would be, but both restaurants could handle a group easily.

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

              2. d
                dipsy Jul 7, 2010 07:04 PM

                Hi all - I wanted to thank you again for your input. I ended up doing the dinner at La Chaumiere and it was perfect. My parents were thrilled, the food was exactly what I had hoped for, everyone was happy, service was wonderful. There were 16 of us, including two young children. We were in a private room in front (was supposed to be upstairs but it was so hot last night they moved us downstairs and it was fine). I had the pike quenelles in lobster sauce but also tried the duck foie gras - both very tasty. Nice endive salad with a goat cheese crouton. My entree of grilled scallops and shrimp was very good - not too heavy on such a hot evening, but the others were pleased with their rack of lamb, beef medallions and the dover sole. Half of us had a lovely crisp apple tart for dessert, the other half opted for the chocolate or Grand marnier souffles. It was really very nicely done, nicely paced, and if not as adventurous as Citronelle, well, it really was a great choice for a group with a broad range of likes and dislikes. I can't speak to the wine - my husband took care of it as I don't drink but he said the Sancerre they started with was very nice. I'm not sure which red he chose but my wine loving dad was happy. So thank you again. My parents wanted to know how I found such a perfect place when I haven't lived in DC for 25 years so I of course gave props to Chowhound.

                Cheers!

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                Citronelle
                3000 M Street NW, Washington, DC 20007

                La Chaumiere
                2813 M Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20007

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