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Dinner over Thanksgiving weekend for a couple of out of towners

fburks Nov 13, 2010 05:16 PM

My brother and I are meeting in Wash. DC for the weekend and I was hoping to do dinner on Friday and Saturday nights. I really have two goals:

Goal Number One: Eat Something Interesting....I am from the Detroit area and my brother is from Mid-Missouri so I was hoping that we could eat somewhere that would give us a unique experience that we wouldn't find at home. Ethiopian sounds like something we might be interested in. Do these places usually serve wine or beer?

Goal Number Two: Eat Something Great....So I am an amateur foody and my brother will eat anything you put in front of him. I was hoping we could get a reservation at Minibar, but when I called for a reservation or to be even added to the wait list they laughed at me. Anybody have a better suggestion for a molecular gastronomy place or even a really well done menu with a set price. I am willing to spend a reasonable amount of money for a great food experience. Is Atlantico worth a visit?

Thanks in advance...

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  1. s
    Steve RE: fburks Nov 14, 2010 07:58 AM

    If you go to an Ethiopian restaurant get the tej, an Ethiopian honey wine. At Queen Makeda, I once even got some homemade stuff..... but they will certainly have beer as well. Go with gored gored, tibs wat, red lentils, greens, salad, carrots, just ask for a wide variety. They will serve you in bowls if you ask.

    Cafe Atlantico , where Minbar is located, has a Latina Dim Sum Brunch on Sundays. 14 courses for about $35. Many of the items will be similar to Minibar, or are directly from older Minibar menus. You should reserve. It's a tremendous bargain. You can also do this without reservations a la carte and save a few bucks, but it's not as good a deal.

    Other interesting possibilities:

    Sichuan Chinese, The Great Wall. Very limited Sichuan menu, but get the ma po tofu, the wontons in red hot sauce, and ask for some baby bok choy off-menu. Most of the menu is uninteresting Chinese-American food, so stick with the Sichuanese items.

    Lyon Hall, Alsatian. Go for the prune and potato dumplings, the beet-cured char, the pate, and the very impressive sausage skillet which is an outrageous meal for two filled with choucroute, noodles, potatoes, and four kinds of sausage. This is near the Clarendon metro stop in Arlington, VA.

    Jaleo, Spanish tapas, very rustic European cooking. Spinach with pine nuts, baby wrinkled potatoes, grilled aspargus with romesco sauce, beet salad with citrus, cucumbers stuffed with tomato and cheese are some of the highlights.

    For a fancier meal: I'd go to the Lounge at Citronelle, where I'd go for a bunch of smaller dishes. Order the mushroom cigars, escargot tart, tuna napoleon, whatever soup they have, and definitely dessert. They have sauternes by the glass. This is highly creative food. You will be impressed.

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

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

    1. pikawicca RE: fburks Nov 14, 2010 08:08 AM

      Get thee to Zatinya, Jose Andres' Lebanese/Turkish/Greek small plates restaurant. Delicious, different food, beautiful space, great service. Lots and lots of interesting dishes to try.

      1. f
        fburks RE: fburks Nov 14, 2010 09:17 AM

        So I tried to make a Saturday reservation for the Lounge at Citronelle and nothing was available until 9:30....Central was suggested by the online reservation bot....anybody like Central....is it a suitable replacement for an interesting dinning experience?

        3000 M Street NW, Washington, DC 20007

        4 Replies
        1. re: fburks
          Steve RE: fburks Nov 14, 2010 09:38 AM

          The Lounge at Citronelle doesn't take reservations (you don't need them)... is this something new? I think they only take reservations for the dining room. Anyway, they are closed on Sundays, so I don't think anyone is answering the phones.

          Central is excellent, though not as creative.

          1. re: Steve
            fburks RE: Steve Nov 14, 2010 10:29 AM

            Your right. I was trying to make a reservation in the dinning room. We will definitely try the Lounge at Citronelle. Is it reasonable to expect to find a table around 8pm on Saturday night and enjoy a meal there? Should we come earlier? The menu looks great!

            3000 M Street NW, Washington, DC 20007

            1. re: fburks
              Steve RE: fburks Nov 14, 2010 03:39 PM

              I've never seen it very crowded though if you could get there a bit earlier, it wouldn't hurt.

          2. re: fburks
            hill food RE: fburks Nov 14, 2010 07:24 PM

            his Central is very well-regarded, it's a lot less formal than the dining room at Citronelle and I like the place for a sort of boisterous chic but casual food and scene.

          3. d
            dinwiddie RE: fburks Nov 15, 2010 09:45 AM

            Yes, Ethiopian restaurants server beer, and honey wine (meade) so if that is what your are looking for, it shouldn't be a problem.

            Cafe Atlantico is worth a visit. I'd also suggest you look into Corduroy, Palena, the Source, or the new Galileo III for your splurge meal.

            If you are into sushi, sit at the bar at Kaz's Sushi Bistro and just ask the chef to spoil you, but be prepared to spend some money. (The monkfish liver sushi is to die for.)

            I'd also suggest you try one of Jose Andres' places, Jaleo or Zyatinya.

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

            3529 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008

            1. k
              katecm RE: fburks Nov 15, 2010 10:01 AM

              Etete, my favorite Ethiopian, has a full bar.

              For fixed price, I'd send you to the tasting menu at Rasika. One of you order the meat one, one order the vegetarian, and you'll end up trying a LOT of different dishes. They often overlap on a few appetizers, but I've always asked waiters if we can subsitute to try different things, and they have always said yes.

              1942 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001

              Rasika Restaurant
              633 D Street, NW, Washington, DC 20004

              1 Reply
              1. re: katecm
                hill food RE: katecm Nov 15, 2010 06:53 PM

                I love Rasika, but the meat sampler is actually a sampler with meat and veg and that is where the overlap occurs, ask the server and explain your purpose for splitting the 2 they might very well make a compromise. otherwise I'd say the veg sampler and an entree or 2. but it's all still astounding. and frankly the 2 samplers are more than enough for 2+ almost 3 people.

              2. j
                Jeserf RE: fburks Nov 16, 2010 06:07 AM

                for what it's worth, my three favorite places in DC right now are Rasika, Bibiana and Dino. Each are different, and each would be a great place to go.

                Rasika Restaurant
                633 D Street, NW, Washington, DC 20004

                1100 New York Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20005

                1. f
                  fburks RE: fburks Nov 16, 2010 02:16 PM

                  Thanks for all of the great ideas! More than enough for a long weekend. Thanks for the great posts and I will share our experiences on the board.

                  1. r
                    Raids RE: fburks Nov 18, 2010 05:02 AM

                    For goal #2, I'd go with Komi. It's consistently rated the best restaurant in the city, and it sounds like it's the kind of experience you're interested in. If you can get a reservation - most of the places in the city are completely booked for Thanksgiving weekend already.

                    Of the places that definitely still have reservation times available (I was curious and looked up Saturday night on opentable) I'd think about Cityzen - always present on lists of best restaurants in the city - Zaytinya, Corduroy, Proof, Birch and Barley, and Kushi. Plume has a tasting menu and has reservation times available also.

                    Kushi might fit pretty well into your "something interesting" category also.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: Raids
                      fburks RE: Raids Nov 23, 2010 03:15 PM

                      What does everyone think of PS7? I got kind of excited about their 7 course menu with cocktail pairing. It sounds fun, but I will leave it up for debate.

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

                      1. re: fburks
                        hill food RE: fburks Nov 23, 2010 05:07 PM

                        I've only had drinks in the bar, but liked the inventive bartender (in-house infused mixers and liquors) and the rooms, Elyssa, a frequent poster whose opinion I respect seems to be a fan. the only drawback I've ever heard was the noise level on a busy Friday night (but you can't avoid that ANYWHERE in Penn Quarter on a busy Friday night)

                        1. re: fburks
                          Raids RE: fburks Nov 24, 2010 03:10 AM

                          You could definitely do a lot worse. I thought the restaurant was a lot less "fun" than the lounge atmosphere, personally, but I've never be able to get a seat in the lounge (although I will try out Elyssa's suggestion to go on T or W). Never had the tasting menu, but I'd guess that it'll be a great experience. Let us know!

                          Also, I've been to Ethiopic since I posted before - great place! The door is almost hidden by some construction, but it's definitely open - just hard to see from the road. It was not particularly busy when I was there on Tuesday at 7pm either, and we did not make a reservation, even they even take them. It's at 4th & H NE - probably easiest to just take a cab. And they definintely have beer and wine.

                          1. re: fburks
                            ktmoomau RE: fburks Nov 24, 2010 09:30 AM

                            I haven't been as impressed by the dining room as the lounge, but it was in no way a bad meal.

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