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DC Tasting Menu for a foodie-in-training?

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I'm looking for a tasting menu that will give my younger brother a great introduction to amazing food. He's really interested in cooking and trying to be inventive and I'd like to open his eyes a bit more to the possibilities and talents of a fantastic chef. I want this to be a big treat for his 21st birthday, but fear that going to someplace like Citronelle or Komi would be lost on him at this stage. Any suggestions for a DC restaurant with a tasting menu that would wow and inspire his young palette?

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  1. Why not take him to a restaurant that highlights a cuisine that he has never tried?

    2 Replies
    1. re: ChewFun

      LOL. Is Outback Steakhouse considered a cuisine? That's about the extent of his "experience" so far. The options are limitless :-)

      1. re: Cheallaigh

        Is he a meat eater? Does he like seafood? Does he like spicy? Expanding horizons doesn't have to be expensive, especially since he probably won't have the cash to repeat the expensive options any time soon. What about Zaytinya or Jaleo. Their Mezze/Tapas format would be an alternative to a tasting menu. I have nephews who have similar experiences and I have learned the hard way that too adventurous turns them off.

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        Zaytinya
        701 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001

    2. If Komi is too adventurous--and I'm not sure I understand that concern, unless your brother is strongly averse to raw seafood--how about CityZen? The preparations are definitely more conservative than Komi or Citronelle (not that they are cutting-edge), but the tasting menu is outstanding.

      1. There are lots of tasting menus in the area, but I don't know what the special something would be that would make one of them less lost on him than Komi's or Citronelle's would be. If you really want to "inspire" his palette, why not try exposing him to a bunch of different styles/cuisines rather than a tasting menu at a single place? You could do a "progressive" meal of your own design, by hitting multiple restaurants in one night--maybe start off at Jaleo for a few Spanish small plates, then, some authentic Chinese food at Full Kee, then on to Rasika or Bistro d'Oc or something of that sort?

        (If you do want a tasting menu, there have been some threads on that recently on the board; you should be able to find them fairly easily.)

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

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

        Citronelle
        3000 M Street NW, Washington, DC 20007

        Komi
        1509 17th St NW Ste 1, Washington, DC 20036

        1 Reply
        1. re: sweth

          Great suggestion! Thanks!

        2. I'll recommend this one, plus the cocktail part makes it a great choice for a 21st birthdya!

          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7419...

          1. I think it would be really fun to go to Korean BBQ or get a tasting menu at somewhere like Present or Four Sisters. That would be something really different, but pretty approachable.

            I ate a lot of really good food pretty early on, but coming to this area and going to all these ethnic restaurants I had never tried really opened up my eyes to all the different things I liked to eat.

            I would also put Masa 14 on the list. If you call ahead they will make you a tasting menu and it has approachable and really different things. But is fun and hip and would be good for turning 21.

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            Four Sisters Restaurant
            Strawberry Ln Falls Church VA, Strawberry Ln Falls Church, VA

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

            1 Reply
            1. re: ktmoomau

              what is the approximate cost on the masa 14 tasting menu? out of curiosity.