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All this FEAR is making me HUNGRY!

Aramek Sep 26, 2010 02:59 PM

Hello friends. How are you doing? Good? That's good. *hugs*

As I've never been to D.C., I've always wanted to visit, take a lot of pictures, and eat a lot of food. Que Colbert's "March to Keep Fear Alive", and I finally have the perfect reason to visit, Friday Oct 29th through Monday Nov 1st.

Now, I'll be meeting a few Internet Friends that weekend, specifcally Saturday the 30th for the festivities, and I'd like your dining advice. Been asking around, and have been getting very conflicting advice.

"NEVER eat in D.C., always drive to Arlington." one person remarked. "Stay out of Eastern and South Eastern D.C." another explained, "It looks like someone bombed it." And, even a third mentioned "Everything is stupidly expensive, you'd be better off just eating at chain places."

This has the poor North Dakota boy a bit nervous. So, in keeping with our Chowhound guidelines, what would all of you suggest I eat to prove all of them wrong?

1. I love Seafood, and, being from ND, our seafood is limited to Walleye if we want fresh.

2. Nothing too crazy, maybe around 50 bucks at the most? Not including drinks.

3. Any place kinda classy I should visit? I fancy myself a fancy lad, and my friends...less so. So, any nicer place to enjoy cocktails after a long day of walking?

4. My hotel is a block from the Library of Congress, which is, about a block from the Capitol Building. Any nice place within walking distance of the Mall?

Thank you all for your time, and I hope I don't get arrested in D.C.

  1. m
    msjess Oct 29, 2010 06:24 AM

    Well I have nothing to add in the food departments as my fellow compatriots have given you enough recs to last a month! (nothing like insulting the DC food scene to bring us all out of the woodwork) but have a good time and see you at the rally!

    1. Mississippi Snopes Oct 6, 2010 09:53 PM

      Probably the best restaurant within easy walking distance of where you're staying is Cava, a fantastic Greek restaurant on 8th Street. Get the grilled baby octopus and the lamb sliders. This might be the best buy for your money in the DC area right now.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Mississippi Snopes
        hill food Oct 6, 2010 10:22 PM

        I think Cava was mentioned upstream, but definitely deserves a repeat.

        to your suggestions I'd add the zucchini fritters (and yes the octopus is that good) but I personally would skip the "disco fries". sometimes you have to pester them for more pita, but service is generally cheerful and attentive. and unlike SO many tapas and mezze places, they leave the menus with you so you can graze as much as you like without feeling it all has to ordered at once. (can you detect a pet peeve? or in this case a level of relief and satisfaction?)

        it's also really kid friendly in a sophisto-cool sort of way.

        1. re: hill food
          Aramek Oct 7, 2010 07:51 AM

          Thank you for all your help Hill Food. Hehe. "Hill Food". It is even fun to say.

          Sadly, the only thing I dislike more than Greek Food is children. But, I do keep trying to like it. My roomies LOVE lamb, and I really don't care for it. So, I cook it, am always disappointed in myself, and then they devour it. So, I must be doing it right, I just...don't know. I'll totally try this place out, though! I'll even order the lamb, to give it another shot. Adventure and all that.

      2. m
        mselectra Oct 1, 2010 02:39 PM

        Aramek -- Your fear has inspired a great thread! What fun that weekend will be. I've read through quickly and, by following recs here, I think what you should do is make a point of eating seafood in each of the four quadrants (that'll teach em), as in:

        -Crabs at Maine Ave wharf in Southwest (yes, a circulator bus does go over there, at least as far as Philips, double-check the bus map for where to get off);
        -moules frites at Granville Moore's in Northeast (search for MakingSense's impassioned posts about getting to H St. NE);
        -crabcake at Market Lunch counter at Eastern Market in Southeast (except they're closed on Sundays and I'm not sure about Mondays and a very long line Saturday mornings);
        -and then some swanky place in Northwest -- two that I don't think have come up and might be worth doing a search on are Kinkead's and Blacksalt (the latter is often mentioned here as best seafood in DC, but it would be very out of your way and you'd need to take a taxi). Hank's is pretty classic NW too, there in Dupont Circle, but not so fancy and doesn't take reservations. Or you could always get fish at one of the Ethiopian places, not swanky but delicious.

        PS: Central also does good cocktails. And if no one has mentioned Cafe du Parc, it might be good to know about, near the Mall and White House and probably will be overrun from the rally, but you can get a coffee or beer or whatever or a full meal there.

        Kinkead's Restaurant
        2000 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20006-1812

        Market Lunch
        225 7th St SE Ste 12, Washington, DC 20003

        14 Replies
        1. re: mselectra
          Dennis S Oct 2, 2010 05:11 AM

          And to add a bit here, don't go to Philips whatever you do. Tourist trap type of food. But the wharf is cool.

          If you were to splurge for one meal, I'd definitely second Blacksalt. And based on the general demographics of who will be coming for this rally (younger and with less $), and that it does require a cab, should make it a meal where you dine like a resident. I haven't been to Kinkeads.

          I like Hank's, and it's more accessible as well as a bit nicer to the wallet. I think most all DC youth residents heading to the rally will be coming generally from the DuPont or Cap Hill area, and return to those places afterwards, so I'd expect Hank's to be slightly overrun on the Saturday, but it might make for a great meal Friday night or Sunday (if they are open then).

          Curious, OP - when do you leave on Monday and which airport are you flying out of?

          Kinkead's Restaurant
          2000 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20006-1812

          1. re: Dennis S
            Aramek Oct 3, 2010 06:58 AM

            Fly out of Reagan, Monday at about 1745. But, you know, I'll be there early and all.

            1. re: Aramek
              woodleyparkhound Oct 3, 2010 07:11 AM

              National Airport -- locals do NOT call it Reagan! :-) -- is small and easy to navigate, especially if you are not flying out of Terminal A. I don't think there is any reason to be there more than an hour ahead of time. You could get away with less than that, but an hour will be sufficient. Good on you for using National! It's SO much more convenient than BWI or, God forbid, Dulles.

              So as to not have this post deleted, I'll say something about the food at National Airport! They have the usual McDonald's and some other fast food purveyors. I've been to airports with no food whatsoever, so I can't complain to much about their offerings. Still, you'd be well advised to pick up something fabulous to carry with you on the plane. A sandwich from Cowgirl Creamery on F at 9th NW would be perfect!

              1. re: woodleyparkhound
                Aramek Oct 3, 2010 07:38 AM

                As much as I disagree with the "Tea Party" that's been going on in the country as of late, I love tea. Love it. So, while "touring" the area with google streetview, I saw a tea shop right north of the White House!

                Teaism, on Conneticut and H. Looking through their website, they have some really fantastic Oolongs I'm dying to try. Plus, they have a little eatery there, so, I'll try that too Monday morning.

                2009 R St NW, Washington, DC 20009

                1. re: Aramek
                  woodleyparkhound Oct 3, 2010 07:47 AM

                  Great idea!! I just finished recommending it on another thread! I love the place. If you are into tea it is an absolute must. Also, whatever you do, do not fail to get a salty oat cookie -- the regular and the chocolate are both divine. Get one to eat there and the other to eat on the plane!

                  1. re: Aramek
                    Divalicias Oct 28, 2010 06:13 PM

                    Teaism is lovely. Do try to go there if you get the chance. They have a lovely oolong experience. We need to take back the Tea from the Tea Party!

                    2009 R St NW, Washington, DC 20009

                  2. re: woodleyparkhound
                    hoorah Oct 3, 2010 06:31 PM

                    Cowgirl Creamery is a perfect suggestion - it's on the Yellow Line, and it's a great place. Sandwiches are terrific there.

                    (Cowgirl Creamery won't work for all travelers, since it's closed on Sunday - but the OP is flying on a weekday.)

                    If you're forced to eat at the airport, Five Guys has a location at National (and Dulles). It's no different from Five Guys anywhere else, so I agree with eating in town - but Five Guys is local to DC, and the airport locations are open for breakfast.

                    1. re: hoorah
                      hill food Oct 3, 2010 06:44 PM

                      5 Guys is/was only 'sort of' local (but since each location is sort of independent it escapes the CHAIN! tattoo) Teaism has several locations and it is pretty good. and next time, if flying on a weekday BWI isn't so bad, MARC train is easy. and yeah calling DCA "Reagan" is like calling that city in California "San Fran" - just. not. done.

                      does TSA allow food through the security? there's a thread on that subject somewhere. liquids no, but sometimes they get ticky about food as well. anyway there's also a Legal Seafood and a so-so sushi place in the main concourse.

                  3. re: Aramek
                    Dennis S Oct 3, 2010 09:50 AM

                    Yes, good for you on using National, though Woodley - God forbid Dulles? BWI is the hinterland of hinterlands!

                    That aside, you have a good portion of the day then. I do agree with Woodley in that it doesn't take long to get through National to the boarding area. So you can either take some of these suggestions for Monday and see more of the city, or do some city in the morning and head to Arlington for some good eats. In general speak, Arlington and Wheaton are the richest areas for ethnic fare. Wheaton is the other way, so Arlington it would be.

                    You probably have better Mexican in ND, if NW Iowa is any indication of that general trend. There is good Vietnamese in a walkable neighborhood of Clarendon at Nam Viet. Search my uid and Nam Viet on this board and you'll get my recs.

                    There is Peruvian rottiserie chicken at El Pollo Rico, just West of Clarendon by a block or so.

                    Two of the generally ranked top for Thai are near neighbors on Columbia Pike; Bangkok 54 and Thai Square. You can ride a bus from Pentagon City to this area, hit the Bangkok 54 grocery mart before heading back, and re-catch the metro to the airport.

                    If you rode the orange line beyond Clarendon to Ballston, there's a mall and walkable area there, but I have to say I love the Halal Cart across from the mall. Lamb and rice curry!!!

                    There are a few carts closer in by Roslyn, including a new halal cart - I don't know much about any of these except they are there.

                    Then, just up from Roslyn is Ray's Hell Burger and Pho 75. Ray's Hell is a phenomenonal burger place that is the second opening of a guy who does serious steaks near Courthouse. Coming from ND, you don't need to go to a steakhouse here and have your mind blown by the prices (even at Ray's the Steaks), but this burger is indeed a work of art. Search this board for RHB or Ray's Hell. Obama caused a sensation by going there with Biden shortly after taking office.

                    As for Pho 75, it's not among my favorites at all for pho, but that's because across the area there are so many places, and a few I find quite better than this small local chain. That being said, when I first moved here I loved it, and still find it respectable. Not sure if you've ever had pho, but it's probably the 9th wonder of the world, especially on a cold and/or rainy day. Soup you eat with chopsticks (and a spoon).

                    Lastly, some of the best kabobs in the whole area is Kabob Palace in Crystal City, just blocks from the airport. It'd be hard to get to the airport from there by foot - especially not knowing the area - but probably every cabbie in the region knows this place, and the fare from it back to the airport should be incredibly cheap. If you go, know that there are two outposts of this place next to each other. Go to the one closest to 23rd street - should still have a yellow awning. The other is a sit down place and for some reason the food doesn't shine as well as the more casual place (which does have tables).

                    Thai Square
                    3217 Columbia Pike, Arlington, VA 22204

                    Kabob Palace
                    2315 S Eads St, Arlington, VA 22202

                    Nam Viet Restaurant
                    3419 Connecticut Avenue, N.W., washington, dc, DC 20008

                    Ray's Hell Burger
                    1713 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22209

                    Pollo Rico
                    7643 New Hampshire Ave, Takoma Park, MD 20912

                    Bangkok 54 Restaurant and Bar
                    2919 S Columbus St, Arlington, VA 22206

                2. re: mselectra
                  79pooh83 Oct 3, 2010 06:52 PM

                  Just FYI - Eastern Market is open Sundays and closed Mondays.

                  1. re: 79pooh83
                    hill food Oct 3, 2010 06:59 PM

                    isn't the Counter open for lunch on Sunday but not breakfast? haven't really eaten there since Mother Lunch passed.

                    but yes, shut tight on Monday.

                    1. re: hill food
                      mselectra Oct 4, 2010 07:00 AM

                      I got back on to confirm closed on Mondays, but see more knowledgeable posters already took care of it. The Market is open Sundays, but I thought the lunch counter was closed -- at least for breakfast it is, unless something has changed.

                      RE tea -- I think that the Teaism near the White House is closed on the weekends (or at least it does have limited hours then), but the one at 8th and D NW would be better for you and they've got a shop next door there which you might enjoy if you're really into tea. If you happen to go to Georgetown, there's a serious Chinese tea house there, Ching Ching Cha -- I haven't been in a long time, but sounds like something you'd appreciate.

                      PS: The Teaism that CH is linking below is the one in Dupont Circle, neither of the ones I'm talking about, argh.

                      2009 R St NW, Washington, DC 20009

                      Ching Ching Cha
                      1063 Wisconsin Ave NW Ste B, Washington, DC 20007

                      1. re: mselectra
                        Aramek Oct 4, 2010 07:19 AM

                        Even better! The 8th and D one is much closer! Ooh, and it is next to the Navy Memorial, and, a lot of stuff.

                        1. re: Aramek
                          woodleyparkhound Oct 4, 2010 07:32 AM

                          As mselectra mentioned, don't neglect to visit the Teaism shop at 8th and D. This is where you could get yourself and/or others a beautiful, albeit pricey, tea-related gift to remember your trip by! It's also close to the National Gallery, which is always on my personal short list of "must visit" museums on the mall. And write a note on your hand, a la Sarah Palin, not to forget to get a salty oat cookie at Teaism! :-)

                          2009 R St NW, Washington, DC 20009

                3. r
                  Raids Sep 30, 2010 12:29 PM

                  The first time I was ever there was about exactly a year ago, so if you are referring to some time you were there before that, it's totally possible.

                  Should you ever go back, there is only one pool table now and it's upstairs, but in general I really like the atmosphere at ToTH.

                  1. Aramek Sep 29, 2010 11:54 AM

                    All amazing advice so far everyone! I...I wuv you all. ^_^

                    Looking at ze google maps, there are a lot of joints on the same block as my hotel! "Capitol Lounge" and "Capitol Hill Club" are all within a block, so, woo to drunken debauchery.

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: Aramek
                      hill food Sep 29, 2010 02:34 PM

                      the bars along that stretch mostly close around 3 on the weekend, OTC package liquor sales vary by neighborhood but where you're staying generally stock up by 9 for the hard stuff, beer and wine about 11. and the Tune Inn starts serving at like 6 AM or something (popular with night shift types or anyone wanting a hair of the dog pick me up) farther down Penn towards 7th there's 18th amendment for pool, Remington's a gay and lesbian country/western place (swing dancing and all) and the Lil' Pub tiny but friendly neighborhood joint.

                      closer to you if you check out the Pourhouse definitely hit the basement which technically is a different bar called Poli-Tiki, a politically bent tiki lounge and the pool tables have glow-in-the-dark pockets

                      1. re: hill food
                        Aramek Sep 30, 2010 07:52 AM

                        Politics + Tiki are some of my favourite things! ^_^

                        1. re: hill food
                          Raids Sep 30, 2010 09:26 AM

                          Are you sure? As far as I know, the basement at the Pour House has suffle board and ski ball, but no pool. There is a pool table upstairs, and upstairs is a different bar, sort of, called Top of the Hill.

                          So...where's this Poli-Tiki?

                          1. re: Raids
                            hill food Sep 30, 2010 11:30 AM

                            there used to be, maybe they've changed it, it was getting a little shabby (I don't get out much anymore), in fact the whole building used to be Politiki with the nastiest pu pu menu on earth (you did NOT go for the food) but they used to have these great molded ceramic glasses with presidents faces like Nixon or Johnson, instead of some Polynesian god, never looked too close and I'm not into the fruity drink stuff.

                            1. re: hill food
                              Flaxen_Vixen Oct 5, 2010 08:46 AM

                              Politiki is closed, it's now a faux German/English pub in the basement of Pourhouse. Nothing to write home about.

                              319 Pennsylvania Ave SE, Washington, DC 20003

                              1. re: Flaxen_Vixen
                                hill food Oct 5, 2010 04:47 PM

                                oh boy, just what we needed. can one town have too many fakey pubs?


                      2. pikawicca Sep 28, 2010 05:25 PM

                        We are going to The Rally to Restore Sanity, and will dine at 1789 (a romantic fave from years past) on Friday, and Zaytinya (highly recommend by friends) on Saturday. We could do a CH meetup for lunch on Saturday, if anyone is interested.

                        701 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001

                        14 Replies
                        1. re: pikawicca
                          Steve Sep 28, 2010 06:39 PM

                          The rally is noon to 3pm on Saturday, October 30th. What do you mean by lunch? Maybe I could arrange for a group dinner on Saturday evening...... you could always PM me.

                          1. re: Steve
                            hill food Sep 28, 2010 07:01 PM

                            Z's service is continuous on Saturday afternoons, right? I went at that time/day a few years ago and actually 3 or 4 PM is a great time to go, little or no crowd, wide choice of seats, lower noise and an even quicker kitchen.

                            1. re: Steve
                              linguafood Sep 29, 2010 11:24 AM

                              i'd totally be up for that.

                              1. re: linguafood
                                woodleyparkhound Sep 29, 2010 02:42 PM

                                Me too -- along with possibly one or two out-of-town guests of mine driving down for it.

                              2. re: Steve
                                pikawicca Sep 30, 2010 12:45 PM

                                We've already got plans to dine with a fellow Hound and her husband at Zaytinya at 7 on Saturday. I imagine we could get a bigger table, if anyone wants to join us.

                                701 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001

                                1. re: Steve
                                  rp1760 Oct 1, 2010 11:49 AM

                                  I saw somewhere the Rally is from 8-5 at the Wahington Monument. Wrong???

                                  1. re: rp1760
                                    pikawicca Oct 1, 2010 11:56 AM

                                    noon to 3.

                                2. re: pikawicca
                                  Aramek Sep 29, 2010 11:32 AM

                                  Just perused their website, and I love Mezze!

                                  Now, HALF of my brain is sreaming at me for not "just going to a 10 dollar China Buffet", but, as much as my love for the China Buffets are the stuff of Legends, so is the other half, the half of adventure!

                                  Both, together, form the Brain of Gluttony.

                                  1. re: Aramek
                                    woodleyparkhound Sep 29, 2010 02:46 PM

                                    Aramek, I really don't think that Chinese buffets are DC's strong suit. I think you'd be much happier giving in to your more adventuresome half! You only live once, right? :-)

                                    1. re: woodleyparkhound
                                      Dennis S Sep 29, 2010 02:49 PM

                                      Yes - I agree. For more, um, sedated folk that might be here I wonder about a group dinner at Joe's Noodle or - if cars are available - Hong Kong Palace or Myanmar (yes not Chinese, but in the neighborhood so to speak).

                                      Hong Kong Palace
                                      6387 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22044

                                      1. re: Dennis S
                                        DC Girl Sep 29, 2010 05:46 PM

                                        I completely agree. Chinese buffets in DC not a great idea.

                                        1. re: Dennis S
                                          Aramek Sep 30, 2010 08:24 AM

                                          Right, and I wouldn't call myself "sedated" when it comes to different foods, just, as part of me puts it, "at a china buffet, you can try so many different things, all for that low price". Really more of an efficiency thing.

                                          But, this vacation is about FEAR and ADVENTURE. So, yeah. I'm already plotting my stops.

                                          1. re: Aramek
                                            Flaxen_Vixen Oct 5, 2010 08:44 AM

                                            For fear and adventure post rally - head to Penn Quarter to Jose Andres Oyamel and get the grasshopper and tounge tacos, both are surprisingly delicious. Minus booze you can eat like a king there for less than $50, though it should be noted that their signature margarita is delicious (salt foam!) it runs $11.

                                      2. re: Aramek
                                        Divalicias Oct 28, 2010 07:16 PM

                                        If you like China Buffets you should definitely check out DC's Chinatown -- or ChinaStreet. It's shrinking block of an old Chinese neighborhood with a small strip of Chinese restaurants conveniently located near the Verizon Center, and an adjacent neighborhood full of bars like Fado, which is a great Irish bar. Anyway, late at night, after the bars close at 3:00 am and you need to get your grub on -- head over to New Big Wong, 610 H Street, NW. Pick something from the "special" menu. http://www.newbigwong.com

                                    2. scotcheroo Sep 27, 2010 09:31 AM

                                      It's still crab season. Get yourself down the the sketchy Maine Ave Market and buy as many jumbo steamed crabs as you want, park yourself at a picnic table and have at it. You will have to take a cab, but they seem to be plentiful around there.

                                      24 Replies
                                      1. re: scotcheroo
                                        lcole24 Sep 27, 2010 11:02 AM

                                        I was going to say the same thing - for great seafood you have to check out the Fish Markets in SW during the day. If you don't mind a long walk, you can walk there from the mall on your way home after the rally. Walk down Independence Ave on the north side of the Tidal Basin (toward the Jefferson Memorial) but keep walking East toward the marina on Maine Ave. It's just past the marina on your right and you can smell it before you see it!

                                        Don't be freaked out - the vendors are safe and have been there for 30+ years - it's a classic DC experience. Go to one of the prepared food counters to buy hush puppies, steamed shrimp, crab cakes, even whole steamed crabs if you can figure out how to eat them. There's a new area to stand and eat on the water, just ask someone to point you in the right direct. Finish it off with dessert from the pie shop.

                                        Someone else touched on H street NE, which could be perfect for you and your friends. You will need to take a cab from the hotel (max $10) but the neighborhood has a lot of great restaurants - Granville Moore's Tavern, Taylor Deli, Sticky Rice Sushi, etc - and even better bars where you can hang out afterwards, including H Street Country Club (indoor putt-putt), Rock and Roll Hotel (live music venue), Biergarten House (outdoor beer garden).

                                        Finally, if you want to venture to U Street *and defy Glenn Beck* there are a lot of great options in a very cool neighborhood. First, the famous Ben's Chili Bowl is right outside the U Street metro (13th St exit). If you want to sit down or the line at Ben's is too long, Creme Cafe has excellent, inexpensive Southern food like shrimp and grits, crab cakes and pork chops. We also love Ulah bistro for sandwiches and salads with a Southern touch. Up the street you'll find Eatonville Tavern, another Southern-ish place and its neighbor Busboys & Poets. The latter is more of a coffee bar and cafe, but has good, cheap food.

                                        In my opinion, the best Ethiopian is Dukem at 12th and U. For 3-4 people order the large veggie plate (on the back of the menu) with 7 items then two meat dishes like Doro Wat and Beef Tibs. The food is spicy and filling, and a totally unique experience for you and your friends. Yes, you will eat with your hands and you will like it!

                                        Enjoy DC!

                                        Ben's Chili Bowl
                                        1213 U St NW, Washington, DC 20009

                                        H Street Country Club
                                        1335 H Street NE, Washington, DC 20002

                                        Eatonville Restaurant
                                        2121 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20009

                                        Busboys & Poets
                                        1390 V St NW, Washington, DC 20009

                                        Sticky Rice
                                        1224 H St NE, Washington, DC 20002

                                        1. re: lcole24
                                          Raids Sep 27, 2010 11:05 AM

                                          I could be stereotyping unfairly, but I'm going to guess that the average person from North Dakota is not going to love H St NE, where, for all of the development and the fact that it's one of my favorite places to go on a Saturday night, it seems like every fourth building is still vacant and it can be distressingly hard to catch a cab home.

                                          But they'd be silly not to go to U St. It's incredibly vibrant and busy and there are a million places to go.

                                          1. re: Raids
                                            sweth Sep 27, 2010 01:16 PM

                                            Indeed; you could be stereotyping unfairly.

                                            1. re: sweth
                                              Raids Sep 28, 2010 05:32 AM

                                              Cute. Very cute. I could, it's totally true, but everyone I've taken there from out of town has been very "ummm...are you sure this neighborhood is okay...?" and they were from places like California and Chicago. I personally am from a town of 35,000 people and feel like I might have a feel for that kind of thing, particularly given that the OP's associates think *Capitol Hill* is a bombed out shantytown. This does not mean that the OP fits into the inferences that I have drawn from my personal experiences, but they are fairly drawn inferences, although those are still, arguably, stereotypes.

                                              At any rate, if you have an easy way to catch a cab home at 2am, I'd sure like to hear about it.

                                              1. re: Raids
                                                The Chowhound Team Sep 28, 2010 11:29 AM

                                                Folks, these posts about the nature of the neighborhood are getting a little far afield for our site. We'd ask that you bring the discussion back around to food.

                                                1. re: The Chowhound Team
                                                  Raids Sep 28, 2010 01:33 PM

                                                  Sorry! In that case, can someone tell me if the food at the Biergarten is as bad as I've heard? Is this a fun place to come hang out for an afternoon?

                                                  1. re: Raids
                                                    sweth Sep 28, 2010 05:19 PM

                                                    Yes, and yes: the food, on the one occasion that I was foolish enough to try it (*after* the waiter didn't know the difference between sauerbraten and a pork chop), was very mediocre; on a nice day, though, the garden in back is very nice, and the beer is good.

                                                    1. re: Raids
                                                      ChewFun Sep 28, 2010 07:38 PM

                                                      I have no idea, but I do know that a lot of it isn't spelled correctly. Also, what kind of a place serves Koelsch by the liter? That is just so wrong.

                                                      1. re: ChewFun
                                                        sunshine842 Sep 29, 2010 01:53 AM

                                                        Koelsch by the litre? Oh, the humanity.

                                                        AND doesn't know the difference between sauerbraten and a pork chop?


                                                        1. re: sunshine842
                                                          Raids Sep 29, 2010 04:21 AM

                                                          Oh, that's sad. I had such high hopes.

                                                          1. re: Raids
                                                            Dennis S Sep 29, 2010 06:34 AM

                                                            Speaking of kolsch, anyone know if the brand "Fruh" can be found around here?

                                                          2. re: sunshine842
                                                            sweth Sep 29, 2010 06:41 AM

                                                            I think the trick to liking Biergartenhaus might be to just view it as a Disney version of a biergarten, and enjoy it for the environment and the vague facsimile of authenticity. If you just convince yourself that you're getting a Yankee pot roast, the "sauerbraten" might actually be not bad.

                                                            1. re: sweth
                                                              ChewFun Sep 29, 2010 11:24 AM

                                                              Another problem I have with Biergartenhaus is that the name, to a German speaker, is completely idiotic. It's kind of like naming an ice cream parlor, Ice Cream Parlor Shop.

                                                              1. re: ChewFun
                                                                sweth Sep 29, 2010 08:27 PM

                                                                Or, perhaps, Ye Olde Ice Cream Parlor Shoppe.

                                                                As I said: just think Disney.

                                                                1. re: sweth
                                                                  Gonzocook Sep 30, 2010 12:52 PM

                                                                  Recalls Calvin Trillin's "La Maison de la Casa House."

                                                          3. re: ChewFun
                                                            sweth Sep 29, 2010 06:37 AM

                                                            Apparently even places in Cologne are starting to serve it in larger glasses now, but nothing close to 1L. (For folks not up on their German beer snobbery, Kölsch is traditionally served in 200mL or even 100mL glasses as it is supposed to not age well once it leaves the tap; the idea is that you get a tiny fresh draught of it and then the waiter keeps replacing it whenever it's empty until you put your coaster over the empty glass to indicate that you're done.)

                                                            1. re: sweth
                                                              sunshine842 Sep 29, 2010 08:42 AM

                                                              Not as of June when I was there. Still 100ml or 200ml in the biergartens and stubs lined up along the Rhein in the Altstadt.

                                                  2. re: Raids
                                                    Aramek Sep 29, 2010 11:15 AM

                                                    Indeed, you could be, but, it's okay. I still like you. *hug*

                                                    This metro sounds fun, so, I'll be hopping on that, and, against my better judgement, I'll be trying to eat everywhere I see.

                                                    1. re: Aramek
                                                      Dennis S Sep 29, 2010 12:07 PM

                                                      Please leave the nicer buildings and monuments. They cost a LOT.

                                                  3. re: lcole24
                                                    Dennis S Sep 27, 2010 11:15 AM

                                                    And to beat Steve to the punch. Go to Ben's. Take a picture. Then go to Oohs and Aahs. Google "Steve Oohs Aahs" on this board to get some recs.

                                                    1. re: lcole24
                                                      Steve Sep 27, 2010 05:54 PM

                                                      I wish I could say I've enjoyed the food at the Maine Ave Wharf, but it is mostly poorly done and nothing special about it.

                                                      1. re: Steve
                                                        fishie Sep 28, 2010 12:48 PM

                                                        I like the Maine Ave wharf-mostly for crabbie things though

                                                      2. re: lcole24
                                                        hill food Sep 27, 2010 06:05 PM

                                                        if one did go to the Maine street market doesn't the SW Waterfront station come sort of close? or one of the Circulaor buses? I forget.


                                                        note to Aramek, maps are NOT to any rational scale

                                                      3. re: scotcheroo
                                                        Divalicias Oct 28, 2010 06:08 PM

                                                        I completely second this idea about getting the quintessential Chesapeake Bay seafood at the Maine Ave Fish Market. This is where you'll get to see and experience some uniquely local sights, tastes, sounds and smells. The fish are sold from family-owned floating barges in the river and staffed by people from Smith Island, which is located right in the middle of Chesapeake Bay. If you listen closely, you'll notice a unique accent that hearkens back to Elizabethan English. (Although, nowadays the selling staff is more diverse.) The Maine Ave. Market is one of the enduring old-time DC public spaces, it has been in operation for at least 70 years, probably longer. You gotta try a softshell crab, crab cakes, shrimp (so fresh and sweet), oysters and clams. You should also go for Maryland Blue Crabs steamed and spiced with Old Bay. There's a lot of picking involved, if you haven't done it before you can ask one of the sellers for help. It's nothing like the ubiquitous Alaska crab legs, which are okay, but these blue crabs are a lot more flavorful and fresh. It's easy to like all the barges, but must say that I am a bit partial to the offerings at Taylor's Seafood.

                                                      4. r
                                                        Raids Sep 27, 2010 03:57 AM

                                                        There are so many great places right by where you are staying in Capitol Hill! Good pick on location - they probably won't be as swarmed by tourists as everywhere else. Pennsylvania SE is your home base - nice long strip of several blocks full of bars and restaurants. And it does *not* look bombed out - it's a really nice neighborhood all the way from where you are to Eastern Market - really hot real estate area with $500K-$1million row houses. Your friends are probably thinking of DC in the 90s - it's really a different city now. Having said that, if you want to go, say to the Atlas District at H and 13th NE, I wouldn't exactly walk there from your hotel. You happen to be staying in a really nice area in SE/NE/SW, but there are still plenty of neighborhoods over there you might as well avoid as a non-local resident. This is not to say that everywhere other than Capitol Hill/Eatern Market in non-NW DC is dangerous, just that you won't know what's what as a tourist.

                                                        Anyway, along Pennsylvania SE there are a lot of great sort of divey bars - Hawk and Dove, Pour House, and Tune Inn for late night snacks. Great quick food, too - Spike Mendehlson's (of Top Chef fame) Good Eats (burgers) and We the Pizza (duh, pizza) are over there.

                                                        Other good options - Matchbox has a Capitol Hill location, and Ted's Bulletin opened recently - both good places for good, unpretentious food.

                                                        For seafood, you're going to need to leave your neighborhood - I bet you'd get a kick out of Kushi at 4th and K NW. It's a Japanese grill and sushi bar - lots of good fish to be had here and you'll have an interesting experience. You will also spend all of that $50, probably.

                                                        Other than that, everyone else's suggestions are great - you can get a nice piece of fish at any of nicer places mentioned and you can get a great plate of mussels all over the District - they are ever-present.

                                                        I wholeheartedly second the suggestion of the Passenger. I'm going to guess that the neighborhood will feel sketchy to you, but I swear to you, just keep to 7th St and you'll be fine. Either walk up 7th from the mall, or catch the green line at the Navy Yard metro station and hop it up to the Mt Vernon stop. Your friends can order a Dale's Pale, and you can get a craft cocktail. Seriously, walk up to the bar and say....I'm feeling something whisky or bourbon....maybe a little citrus...and they'll whip up something for you.

                                                        On pricing - non-happy hour beers are regularly $6 in the District. Those bars on Penn SE I mentioned can be cheaper, but not much unless something is on special. That craft cocktail? $9. And that's not bad - cocktails run from $6 for a rum and coke to $15 for the margarita with salt "air" at Oyamel (which is, however, fantastic).

                                                        Now don't be one of those people that comes here to eat at the Hard Rock cafe!

                                                        5 Replies
                                                        1. re: Raids
                                                          Jeserf Sep 27, 2010 05:45 AM

                                                          Good Stuff Eatery is the burger place if OP needs to google it

                                                          Good Stuff Eatery
                                                          303 Pennsylvania Ave SE, Washington, DC

                                                          1. re: Jeserf
                                                            Raids Sep 27, 2010 06:27 AM

                                                            Damn it! Why do I always do that! Thanks for the correction.

                                                          2. re: Raids
                                                            woodleyparkhound Sep 27, 2010 06:07 AM

                                                            Nice call on Kushi, Raids! If you like your seafood Japanese style, this would be a great way to go. You have your choice of grilled seafood from the robata menu or sushi there. Here is some good background reading on Kushi:

                                                            LA hound's review on Yelp: http://www.yelp.com/user_details?user...

                                                            Small correction: Spike Mendelsohn's place is called "Good Stuff Eatery", not "Good Eats". If you are a milkshake freak, this place should be tops on your list. Good burgers too.

                                                            1. re: woodleyparkhound
                                                              Aramek Sep 29, 2010 12:18 PM

                                                              That Good Stuff Eatery is les than a block away!

                                                              Also, googled the heck out of Kushi, and that, alone, makes me want to move to D.C. I go to sushi bars any chance I can, and, even though you won't believe it, we have a really good one here in Fargo. Just thinking about it makes me all giddy. But, this...Kushi...looks to be, not only better food, but the perfect hectic atmosphere I crave.


                                                              Good Stuff Eatery
                                                              303 Pennsylvania Ave SE, Washington, DC

                                                            2. re: Raids
                                                              Aramek Sep 29, 2010 11:26 AM

                                                              I ate at a HRC once. Denny's is better.

                                                              I don't mind being in "sketchy" places as much as you'd think. But, as a tourist that *looks* like he has money, I'm a target everywhere, so, I don't really worry about it. I just smile, wave at everyone, and everytime I get mugged, they get all pissy that I don't actually have any money.

                                                            3. Aramek Sep 26, 2010 06:45 PM

                                                              Yeah, great advice so far people. ^_^ I wuv you all.

                                                              Now, when I say 50 bucks, I mean just for the meal itself. Not that I'm opposed to splurging on food, rather, I'm really self-concious that my friends will think I'm "putting on airs" by going to a nice place to eat.

                                                              Drinks will be extra, not included in the 50 buck range.

                                                              I'll be so busy Keeping Fear Alive that, well, I'll be drinking way too much as well. Yay for vacations.

                                                              4 Replies
                                                              1. re: Aramek
                                                                hill food Sep 26, 2010 11:01 PM

                                                                yes prepare for that Halloween weekend by wearing a mask of liquor, fear and rage.

                                                                so I'm guessing you're in the Capitol Suites right by the Capitol South station? these are all great recs you've received, but in addition there are a slew of lower price points along that stretch of Penn that serve variations of pub food, on the higher there's Sonoma and by the Market there's Montmarte in addition to the places on 8th. in addition to the Market lunch closer to you other gut bomber breakfasts are found at Jimmy T's on East Capitol near third or fourth and the Tune Inn on Penn at 4th.

                                                                there are a couple of so-so places right by your hotel at 2nd and C but not worth going out of your way for IMHO

                                                                these are all in the SE quadrant BTW.

                                                                1. re: hill food
                                                                  sunshine842 Sep 27, 2010 12:21 AM

                                                                  Well, you know...if having sh*t to do includes eating great food, well so be it! Just make sure you get home in time to pay the sitter.

                                                                  1. re: hill food
                                                                    woodleyparkhound Sep 27, 2010 03:32 AM

                                                                    Ah yes, the Tune Inn! I was going to mention it and forgot. I heard it was recently featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. Not sure why, but there you have it. It's a well-worn highly unpretentious neighborhood dive bar -- maybe this would be just the thing for your friends as an antidote for having you drag them to Central or somewhere equally fabulous!

                                                                    Also, especially regarding DC's better cocktail bars, check out this great report by kathryn, a prolific NYC hound who recently visited DC.


                                                                    What she had to say about the Columbia Room at the Passenger really got me intrigued. This would be the highest end that DC has to offer, but if you are really interested in the best cocktails, you may want to make a reservation and get your $54 ready.

                                                                    Tune Inn
                                                                    331 Penn SE, Washington, DC

                                                                    1. re: woodleyparkhound
                                                                      ChewFun Sep 27, 2010 06:32 AM

                                                                      I've always loved the Tune Inn. As a bar it is pretty cool and their food is more than decent. The burger, fries and crabcakes won't win any awards but you will be satisfied.

                                                                      Tune Inn
                                                                      331 Penn SE, Washington, DC

                                                                2. woodleyparkhound Sep 26, 2010 06:35 PM

                                                                  I'm going to the rally too; I consider myself very lucky that going won't involve a plane ticket for me. You will have a blast in DC keeping fear alive! I agree with a lot of what has been written so far. Certainly the advice you've been given about eating in this area is beyond ridiculous. Never ask those people for restaurant advice again! :-) And remember, the Metro is your friend!

                                                                  If you like mussels and frites you must check out Brasserie Beck. A huge portion of fantastic mussels, great frites with dipping sauces and lots of good bread to sop up the juices costs about $20. They have a great Belgian beer list -- but it's expensive. The cheapest one is $9. It's a few blocks from Metro Center.

                                                                  One classy place with good cocktails is PS7. Someone mentioned the Gibson and the Passenger. Both are on my "to do" list. Cocktails in a nice place typically cost about $12 each so you can run up a bill pretty quickly.

                                                                  Ethiopian is a great idea I think, as it's really fun to eat communally with friends and it's not something you can get in many other cities in the US -- and it's reasonably priced. Etete is my favorite; I also like Dukem. I haven't been to Queen Makeda yet, but I want to go. 9th and U (U St. Metro on the Green Line) is ground zero for Ethiopian. (The Green Line was the one Beck told people to stay away from -- that's reason enough to make a point of taking it!)

                                                                  Hank's Oyster Bar (Dupont Circle, Red Line) is said to be good for seafood - that's another place I want to try!

                                                                  I would urge you to consider Central Michel Richard for your nice seafood meal. It isn't a seafood restaurant per se, but they have lots of seafood on the menu. The "faux gras" there blew my mind completely. I think this place is reasonably priced for the quality.

                                                                  DC Gir's recs for 8th St. SE and Eastern Market are good ones. The counter at Eastern Market (Market Lunch) would be a great place for breakfast pre-rally IF you can get there early - say 8:30. The line gets huge later in the morning. They do crab cakes and blueberry pancakes true, but my favorite is the brick (bacon egg and cheese sandwich). You could pick up some great food to take to the mall with you at Eastern Market if you were so inclined. Near the Capitol South Metro at 3rd and Penn SE are Spike Mendolsson's two places: Good Stuff Eatery (best shakes in town and good burgers) and We The Pizza, where I ate "with" Michelle and Sasha a few weeks back. Both are likely to be mobbed though.

                                                                  I agree with Sweth's first sentence about places near the mall being super crowded with those busy keeping fear alive. U St. would get you way off that beaten path. U St. is a very happening night life part of town that has really come up in the past 10 years or so. I like it because it's very mixed in terms of age, race, sexual orientation, etc. Other places I like on U (although these don't fit what you said you were looking for) are DC Noodles, Oohs and Aahs (soul food / southern cooking) and Marvin, which has a great bar with a deck upstairs for when the weather is nice. The Gibson is next door to Marvin. This is at the corner of 14th and U. If you continue south on 14th St from there, you encounter lots of other good restaurants - Cork Wine Bar, Masa 14, Estadio come to mind. Also on U you'll find the infamous Ben's Chili Bowl, where Obama and Bill Cosby have eaten. The food there isn't great, but God bless 'em it's cheap.

                                                                  That's what comes to me now. In any case, welcome to our city - and upon your return to ND, please enjoy telling those people how full of crap they were!

                                                                  1942 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001

                                                                  Ben's Chili Bowl
                                                                  1213 U St NW, Washington, DC 20009

                                                                  Queen Makeda
                                                                  1917 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001

                                                                  PS7 Restaurant
                                                                  777 I Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001

                                                                  Brasserie Beck
                                                                  1101 K Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005

                                                                  Central Michel Richard
                                                                  1001 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20004

                                                                  Cork Wine Bar
                                                                  1720 14th St NW Ste 1, Washington, DC 20009

                                                                  Good Stuff Eatery
                                                                  303 Pennsylvania Ave SE, Washington, DC

                                                                  Masa 14
                                                                  1825 14th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20009

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: woodleyparkhound
                                                                    hill food Sep 27, 2010 12:39 AM

                                                                    Aramek, wph's mention of Hank's got auto-referenced as the Alexandria location in the sidebar, it is good, but look up the DC locale for easy access.

                                                                  2. s
                                                                    Steve Sep 26, 2010 05:32 PM

                                                                    You and your 'friends' need to have your minds expanded (blown up?).

                                                                    To do that I suggest Ethiopian food at Queen Makeda - get an array of vegetables and lentils and the tibs wat.

                                                                    I also recommend the quarter dark chicken spicy at Nando's Peri Peri which is very casual, order at the counter place.

                                                                    Then Spanish tapas at Jaleo, particularly the spinach with raisins, baby wrinkled potatoes, and grilled asparagus. This is great for a group of friends to share. Focus on the vegetables which are fantastic and keep the prices lower.

                                                                    Then go for Hong Kong-style food at Full Kee for oyster and ginger casserole, shrimp dumpling soup, duck stuffed with shrimp paste, sft shell crabs, and clams in black bean sauce. This is your best affordable choice for seafood in DC.

                                                                    If you want something fancy, take the Metro into Arlington, Virginia (Clarendon stop) to Lyon Hall for Alsatian food. Nothing over $20 per person!

                                                                    With so many folks coming into town, better to reserve at Jaleo or Lyon Hall.

                                                                    Full Kee Restaurant
                                                                    509 H St NW, Washington, DC 20001

                                                                    Queen Makeda
                                                                    Washington DC, Washington, DC

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: Steve
                                                                      Aramek Sep 26, 2010 06:14 PM

                                                                      Aww, don't blow up my mind. I'm really looking forward to seeing and eating everything.

                                                                    2. s
                                                                      sweth Sep 26, 2010 05:27 PM

                                                                      The problem you're going to run into is that all of the nice places within walking distance of the Mall will probably be swamped with everyone else who is staying in hotels a block from the Mall, too; I'd suggest catching the Metro elsewhere for the eating. (Try the U St area for Ethiopian, for example.) If you do want to stay close to the mall, though, there are a couple of restaurants at the Smithsonian that are actually pretty good (Mitsitam and the Natl Gallery of Art Garden Cafe), and a number of other relatively close options; you can find them by searching for "Penn Quarter", "Capitol Hill", "Eastern Market", and/or "DC Mall".

                                                                      For cocktails, the best places will again probably be Metro-accesible rather than walkable. Check out Gibson and Passenger. (If you want wine rather than cocktails, there are other good options, too.)

                                                                      Re: getting arrested, yes the cops here are sometimes jackbooted thugs, but if they do falsely arrest you, you can apparently make $20k off of it:


                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: sweth
                                                                        Aramek Sep 26, 2010 06:55 PM

                                                                        If I get arrested, it'll be for drunk in public. I'll try to plan my food/drink adventures out ahead of time.

                                                                      2. d
                                                                        DC Girl Sep 26, 2010 03:55 PM

                                                                        Hey Aramek!

                                                                        You are going to love the food here. There are lots of great places within all price points.

                                                                        No offense but the people who told you:

                                                                        "NEVER eat in D.C., always drive to Arlington." one person remarked. "Stay out of Eastern and South Eastern D.C." another explained, "It looks like someone bombed it." And, even a third mentioned "Everything is stupidly expensive, you'd be better off just eating at chain places."

                                                                        are being ridiculous...

                                                                        Without a doubt you need to get some seafood. I'm originally from the midwest and the seafood here is absolutely amazing. I think a must while you are here would be to try the crab cakes. Lots of places have great ones do you could just do a search here or are yelp and find many restaurant choices.

                                                                        You are staying in a great area for food! I used to live on the Hill and you have tons of choices there.

                                                                        If you have time make sure to visit Eastern Market which is just blocks away. There you can have breakfast or lunch and pick up some snacks. Actually in the main building they have a counter where they serve a great crab cake sandwich. They also have amazing blueberry pancakes. If you head the opposite direction on 8th street you'll see a little restaurant of fun places to try.

                                                                        I'm a huge fan of Cava which is Greek. I think it's very good. There is also a fun place called Ted's Bulletin, think pricey dinner. Belga Cafe is also on that street which might be on the higher end of your range but is great for brunch. If you would like more suggestions for that area just let me know but again you can do a little research online and find most of the places in that area.

                                                                        As far as classy I'll leave that to the other folks. I don't really think you'll get fancy in this area for $50 but I could be wrong.

                                                                        We also have a lot of great ethnic places so if there is something that you have a hankering for, that you don't have in ND you might just find it here.

                                                                        Also, I would bet that some of the DC food trucks will be in the mall area during the rallies. They are super yummy!

                                                                        Have a fantastic time. You are going to love it!!

                                                                        Ted's Bulletin
                                                                        505 8th St SE, Washington, DC 20003

                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                        1. re: DC Girl
                                                                          ChewFun Sep 26, 2010 04:15 PM

                                                                          It depends on how fancy you want to get and if you order much wine. For fancy, I would go for Brasserie Beck or Central. For seafood, I understand that Kinkead's is wonderful. Eastern Market for lunch is wonderful. For fancy but not too fancy, try either Oyamel (fancy Mexican) or Jaleo (Spanish Tapas). They are not far off the Mall. I understand that the Demo will be near the Washington Monument, so you looking at a walk North towards Downtown.

                                                                          Brasserie Beck
                                                                          1101 K Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005

                                                                          Kinkead's Restaurant
                                                                          2000 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20006-1812

                                                                          1. re: ChewFun
                                                                            Flaxen_Vixen Oct 5, 2010 08:38 AM

                                                                            I'd personally send the OP to Cafe Atlantico over Kinkead's for fancy seafood. Kinkead's has really fallen off in quality the last few times I've been there.

                                                                            Cafe Atlantico
                                                                            405 8th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20004

                                                                            Kinkead's Restaurant
                                                                            2000 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20006-1812

                                                                          2. re: DC Girl
                                                                            Aramek Sep 26, 2010 06:13 PM

                                                                            I'd heard of that Eastern Market, so, I am really looking forward to all the fresh crab I can gluttonize. Walking is going to happen, but, I'll be hopping on the metro too.

                                                                            I skipped the rental car, because, well, I imagine parking is a bit of a pain. But, I'm really, really looking forward to this trip.

                                                                          3. j
                                                                            Jeserf Sep 26, 2010 03:44 PM

                                                                            wow, you must be talking to Glenn Beck. every neighborhood is someone's home - to call it "bombed out" is somewhat insulting.

                                                                            Regardless, near where you are is Bistro Bis (french influenced) in the Hotel George, which would be good for dinner. You are also near Art and Soul - southern food.

                                                                            Bistro Bis
                                                                            15 E Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001

                                                                            Art and Soul
                                                                            415 New Jersey Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20001

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