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Nov 20, 2010 08:13 AM

Dinner Recommendations in DC Along/Near 14th Street?

I'm taking a friend out to dinner for a big birthday this Monday. Looking for recommendations for a place near 14th St NW. We both appreciate good well-prepared food but aren't interested in a pretentious place. Not too loud but some atmosphere is welcome. Open to ethnic cuisine apart from south/east Asian (b/c he's cooks it very well himself).

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  1. 14th St., NW is about 7 miles long. That's quite a hike. Any particular neighborhood or cross street?

    1 Reply
    1. re: Steve

      I guess we would prefer that it be closer up to the U street area. But if there's an amazing joint anywhere else, that would be fine too.

    2. Estadio or Birch and Barley. Although Estadio can be kind of loud. If your friend is into beer he will *love* you for taking him to Birch and Barley.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Raids

        Good suggestions. I'd just add Cork, which I can't get enough of.

        1. re: katecm

          Add Masa 14 to that list.

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

      2. Just had an amazing dinner at Estadio last week and loved the carefully-prepared food. It was a bit loud but not out of control.
        I find Cork really pretentious, though the hordes seem to disagree with me.

        8 Replies
        1. re: hamster

          No, I really don't like Cork at all, either. Much prefer Proof, as they have lounge tables and the option of a 2 oz. tasting pour. And the food is better. I thought the crowd was pretty rude at Cork also (and full of loud people trading their dime store vino "expertise," e.g. talk about letting a white wine "breathe," heh), although a bachelorette party took over my lounge table at Proof too, so there you go. Please don't start using the bar stools without asking me, and don't drape your arm holding your wine glass over my coat either, kthanx.

          1. re: Raids

            Actually, white wines do breathe too, just as much as red wines. Oxidation affects the balance and type of flavors of a wine whether white or red.

            1. re: fudizgud

              That, right there, is a better example of what passes for a pick up line at Cork than I was going to come up with.

              1. re: Raids

                I'm a little confused. White wines breathing is an example of "dime store vino "expertise,""? Are you aware of reduction vs oxidation issues in wines? Wines, both white and red can be reductive or reduced. Letting them breathe, and even going so far as to decant them, will counteract the impressions of reduction which can include skunky, oniony and other off aromas. In addition, breathing a wine with tannins can also soften the perceived phenolic levels. Since so many wines today are heavily oaked, again both red and white, breathing can change some white wines as well as red.

                Of course, the most typical use of breathing is in old red wines where letting the wine breathe has been shown in double blind studies, to produce negative results.

                I was not aware elementary wine chemistry is a pick up line.Good thing to know if I need one.

                1. re: fudizgud

                  Yes, although the overheard party in question was tasting young New Zealand sauvignon blancs. :-)

                  I personally don't like oaked whites (but I love New Zealand sauvignon blancs!) - maybe that explains my POV.

                  But this gets even more instructive! Read your paragraph above, and picture overhearing someone saying it at a wine bar, and the tone they are probably using, particularly the part where you say "elementary wine chemistry." ;-)

                  To the poster below, I think it's fair to compare the lounge at Proof to the bar at Cork, definitely. Not a full dinner at the restaurant, though, agreed.

                2. re: Raids

                  That's a pick up line or a fact. Have you been picked up with such a line at Cork or just overheard people talking at tables about their wine choices?

                  1. re: Kokiecat

                    Hmmm...I think I'm thinking of the people who rudely shoved themselves in front of us in a full-scale assault on our bar space. But that could have been someone else. It was over a year ago - the only reason I remember the commentary is because the person talking had ordered the same wine I was drinking.

                    I honeymooned in Napa and very much enjoyed the sort of conversation about wines that I had there and heard there. I like to taste wine and talk about it, but I don't want to deal with the conversational version of reading an informational book on the subject, e.g. if someone talked about the aroma of the wine and someone pointed out that they were really talking about the bouquet. Other people may enjoy this, and that's fine.

                    I can only speak for conversation at the bar - I can't speak for the table service. I'm sure it's a better experiece, though, since you would certainly have more personal space. Have you spent much time at the bar? If you will honestly say that the space is no longer dominated by loud, rude, pushy people, I'll give it another shot when I'm in the neighborhood.

              2. re: Raids

                I wouldn't compare Cork with Proof. I can leave Cork without a huge dent in my checking account; not so with Proof.

            2. Posto would be a great place to take someone out for their birthday. Great wine options, too.