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Dec 15, 2010 06:22 PM

Brooklyn Foodie, just relocated to DC, need rec for husband's birthday

Just moved from NYC/Brooklyn a few months ago. We've lived in DC before, but it has been about 6 years, and a lot has changed during that time.

We are real foodies--love good food, no matter the cuisine. It need not be "high end," to be special. It just has to be good food. Would love recommendations.

To give you a sense of our taste:

We particularly love gastropubs (for those of you familiar w/NY restaurants, we love Marlow & Sons, the Spotted Pig, and other such places), but the reviews I've read on this board about Brasserie Beck have been inconsistent, and I think we may go to Againn for Christmas Eve.

We recently went to Birch and Barley, which we thought was reasonably good. (Did I mention I love beer?)

We also love more "high end" dining. I presently have a reservation to Corduroy. Truth is, I want something more along the Birch & Barley type.

Any help would be appreciated.


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

Birch and Barley
1337 14th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005

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  1.'ve already been to the places I would recommend, or have plans to go there. Beck really does have an amazing beer list, but I've only enjoyed being at the bar there. I don't really like the atmosphere in the restaurant. I definitely would have recommended Againn.

    We just don't have that many gastropubs in D.C. Commonwealth is the only other one I can think of and I haven't been there. Logan Tavern would maybe qualify, but it's just nothing special.

    Are you open to other casual dining options, like Zaytinya or Estadio, or do you really want more traditional cuisine with a focus on the beer?

    3 Replies
    1. re: Raids

      Definitely open to other casual dining. I mentioned Birch and Barley more to give a sense of the food --and not just kind of food but also quality (but the beer helped).

      Another NYC favorite it Momofuku Ssam bar, which isn't gastropub at all, but is similarly good quality yet more casual.

      Birch and Barley
      1337 14th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005

      1. re: jes13

        Okay great - I'd check out any of Jose Andres' places - Jaleo, Zaytinya, Oyamel, Atlantico (I'm hesitant to mention Atlantico because I haven't been and I hear it's not that great unless you're going to Minibar). I'm going to say right off that the quality level can be uneven, but it's always fun and the cocktails are stellar - house G&T at Jaleo, margarita with salt air at Oyamel. Zaytinya is where Mike Isabella of Top Chef fame used to the executive chef, but he's opening his own place any day now. Don't know if the quality has suffered, but I'd guess not. Oyamel is *loud.* Be forewarned. Jaleo is one of my favorites but it also the most uneven.

        Slightly more upscale, but still "smart casual" is Rasika, which is, IMHO, amazing, and considered by many to be one of the best (if not given to cares about authenticity) Indian restaurants in the country. I've only been there once so far, but it was one of my most memorable meals during my 2+ years in the District so far. This would be my top choice, actually. Wines offered by the glass, even, were outstanding. Make a reservation now, though. Right now - they book quickly.

        All of these places are, IMO, fun and have lively lounge scenes, but are 100% about the food.

        Did you do the pairings at B&B? Crazy stuff. I can barely stand Allagash but it's freaking amazing with a gingered tuna and fluke tartare.

        1. re: jes13

          There's nothing here like Momofuku Ssam -- not even close, really. I might check out the new, expanded Bar at Palena. Almost everything on the menu has been great, and the chestnut soup I had yesterday (alas, available only for lunch, and as part of the prix fixe in the main dining room) was amazing.

          But it being Cleveland Park, the scene at Palena isn't quite as energized as B&B, Estadio, Cork, etc. (You might also give Estadio a shot.)

          3529 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008

      2. Againn is right up your alley, though it is in a modern office building, and does not have the same feel as Birch and Barley. I imagine you will hit Beck at some point. Quality is high. I recommend the shallot and onion soup. They also have seasonally a cider drink which is impressive, though I don't normally go for sweet. Central is a bistro, French and classic American specialties. Quality there is sky high. I had a corned beef sandwich for lunch recently that is killer. Their faux gras is well-known by many a Chowhound.

        Another idea is to take Metro out to the Clarendon stop and walk to Lyon Hall, which is Alsatian. Prune and potato dumplings, sausage skillet (this is quite a fabulous concoction), paté, beet-cured char.

        Birch and Barley
        1337 14th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005

        1. I hate to think that you'd miss out on Beck because of reviews here. I consistently love it. If they have skate on the menu, don't miss it. And definitely ask for beer pairings from the sommelier.

          1 Reply
          1. re: katecm

            Have they changed the furniture in the last year? I swear there used to be some wicker? Am I making this up?

          2. What about Granville Moore's? I haven't been myself because of the whole no reservation/long wait thing (which may make it less than ideal for a birthday celebration) but it gets a lot of love and sounds like it might be the kind of place you'd like (if you like mussels).

            1 Reply
            1. re: Doh

              I would HIGHLY recommend Granville Moore's. The place is awesome, beer is amazing, and the Mussels are out of this world. It is a little off the beaten path, and they don't take reservations, but if you can deal with that it is worth it.
              I would also recommend Matchbox. It has never let us down. It's a great Pub/Restaurant. And their pizzas are extraordinary. Their salads are also awesome.