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DC Restaurant Week-January 2011

It's that time of year again.....the dates for the 2011 Winter Restaurant Week have been announces: January 17th-23rd.

The full list of restaurants can be found here: http://washington.org/restaurantwk/

Note that January 17th is MLK Day. This could affect your planning, for example I made a reservation for Bourbon Steak...a place I usually can't get to during the day since it's in Georgetown.

I also made a lunch reservation for Casa Nonna.

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  1. I have a rez at rasika and RIS
    called blue duck tavern but they aren't taking RW rez for 2 more days. they said they are still working out details and may offer RW dinner this year.

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    RIS
    2275 L Street NW, Washington, DC 20037

    2 Replies
    1. re: MoCoMe

      I went to RIS last year for RW lunch. It was great! Tons of food...I think I had a salad for dinner, if anything.

      -----
      RIS
      2275 L Street NW, Washington, DC 20037

      1. re: MoCoMe

        My husband phoned Blue Duck Tavern just a little while ago and learned the is planning to offer the RW deal fewer days than currently stated on the web site. Specifically, the restuarant will only offer lunch Monday through Friday. (At the moment, the offer includes Saturday lunch.) There is no plan to offer dinner.

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        Blue Duck Tavern
        1201 24th Street NW, Washington, DC 20037

      2. Woohoo! We now have reservations for dinner at Againn and Kaz Sushi.

        1 Reply
        1. re: SandyCat

          Dinner at Againn in DC was great! They had quite a bit of the regular menu on the RW menu, which was encouraging. I started with the beet salad, which was yummy, light; a decent start. My boyfriend started with the country pate, which we both found to be tasty, but a bit one-dimensional. Not sure if the mustard it came with masked the complexity, but it's country pate... it should be nice and strong in all its flavors. For entrees, I had the pork belly with cracklins, and that was super yummy, especially with the grits and pork jus. I found it to be a tiny bit oversalted, but I definitely still devoured the whole thing in record time. Boyfriend had the hangar steak with some sort of compound butter and fries, and it was excellent. Steak was tender, butter was a great addition, and fries were crisp and hearty. For dessert, I had the banoffee pie, which came in a cute little jar and was simple and delicious. Boyfriend had the sticky toffee pudding, which was also done quite well. Overall grade: B+ It was generally quite good, even with RW craziness, and the RW pricing seemed good, but nothing completely floored me, and it seems like at full price, it might seem less enticing. It's tasty pub favorites done really well, with a locavore/eco-friendly eye, but it's still pub food.

          The next night, we went to Kaz Sushi Bistro. Had the scallop ceviche to start (good, too much onion), some toro, salmon, and seared salmon belly nigiri (fave was the salmon belly, others were tasty), and a spicy tuna roll and an unagi roll (meh), and for dessert, had espresso tapioca (tasty) with bourbon ice cream (lies! was not bourbony at all). Boyfriend had salmon carpaccio (tasty, but not spectacular), and I'm not sure I remember the rest of what he had until dessert, at which point, he had lychee sorbet with some other stuff in it. If this review doesn't sound enthusiastic, it's because it isn't. Overall grade: B/B- Not spectacular, not underwhelming, just whelming? The quality of the fish was fine, which is why the nigiri was tasty, but the rolls were very boring, and the desserts didn't impress me at all. And since I wasn't so absorbed by the food, I had time to notice that the ambiance wasn't very good. The speaker system sounded tinny, the actual restaurant felt like a dental office in terms of acoustics and wall decorations, and the lighting was too bright for dinnertime.

          -----
          Kaz Sushi Bistro
          1915 I Street NW, Washington, DC 20006

        2. Looks like reservations for Rasika are already gone for the entire week. Boo!

          1 Reply
          1. re: startsev

            You may want to try calling the restaurant directly.

          2. I noticed last night that Blue Duck Tavern is taking rez at opentable for RW. So the hostess did not give me accurate info.

            We have to go to AGAINN in Jan to use up a groupon (or something like that) offer. Love the corned beef!

            -----
            Blue Duck Tavern
            1201 24th Street NW, Washington, DC 20037

            AGAINN
            1099 New York Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20001

            1 Reply
            1. re: MoCoMe

              Againn is great. You just might want to double check that you can use the GroupOn during Restaurant Week. Many GroupOn's have restrictions for this type of thing in the fine print.

            2. Yeah, Ris was great during RW last summer. This time, I booked reservations at 701 and Birch & Barley.

              7 Replies
              1. re: Raids

                Have you been to 701 for RW before? I always have it on my list and I always end up elsewhere. It's one of those places that I keep saying I need to try but never get there. I'm curious if their RW is worth splurging on since I usually only try to do 2 lunches now that they have raised the price.

                  1. re: Elyssa

                    I went to 701 for RW last summer for dinner. They had most of their menu available. Very good!

                    1. re: spinachandchocolate

                      Do you remember if they offered their steak on the menu last year?

                      1. re: xena1441

                        They offered their whole menu, maybe with one one or two up charges for certain items.

                        1. re: xena1441

                          Also, just an FYI, our table ordered the steak and the venison last time, and we all thought the venison was the real standout, even my beef-and-potatoes husband.

                          This time, I'm not leaving without ordering the proscuitto-wrapped quail - the person who ordered it last time was not a sharer (don't get me started), and it looked amazing.

                      2. re: Elyssa

                        I have not, but I've heard good things about their RW menu from people in the industry and figured I'd give it a shot since I had a really great time when I was there for dinner.

                    2. Btw Bourbon Steak has their menu up already: http://www.bourbonsteakdc.com/menus/ (you can find it listed on the right hand side with the other menus). It looks really good....duck confit with a poached egg? Yes please!

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: Elyssa

                        Does anyone know what kind of menu Zaytinya offers for RW?

                        -----
                        Zaytinya
                        701 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001

                        1. re: MoCoMe

                          I went to Zaytinya last year. I'd recommend going outside of restaurant week and getting what you want. Personally think there are better deals out there.

                          -----
                          Zaytinya
                          701 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001

                          1. re: MoCoMe

                            Zaytinya offers a very good lunch "prix fix" year round, no sense wasting a Restaurant Week meal here.

                            -----
                            Zaytinya
                            701 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001

                        2. Just realized that my friends visiting the weekend before will still be here for lunch on Monday of RW, so I booked a lunch reservation for Cafe Atlantico. Anyone ever been there during RW before?

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: Raids

                            I went for lunch for RW two years ago. If I remember correctly, there were 3 apps, 3 entrees, and 2 dessert options. Options were pretty underwhelming - a cuban sandwich, a veggie quesadilla, and a fish as entrees, and I think soup/salad for apps. It wasn't a bad meal, but didn't seem like a great deal.

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

                                1. re: MrsWheatie

                                  Thanks - I cancelled it. It's funny - I looked at the lunch menu and thought "they better not just offer a salad and the cubano..."

                            1. re: Raids

                              Agreed. There are better options. And I did do the Cuban some years back, fine, but not impressed.

                            2. Wow - both Kushi and Sushi Taro are participating in RW and the menus look great! Sadly, I don't think I can get my husband to go to both so I went with Kushi.

                              ETA: Okay, I added Sushi Taro for lunch.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: Raids

                                Omg sushi taro AND kushi!!! I already made a res for Smith Commons, but now I might have to add two more....!!

                                1. re: Raids

                                  Sadly, I had horrible, inedible mackeral nigiri from last weekend and had to cancel both reservations, since I don't think I'll be able to eat any sushi again for at least a month.

                                  1. re: Raids

                                    Oh no! I'd have taken the reservation off your hands...! :) Hope you get over it soon!

                                2. Snagged dinner reservations for Ris and lunch reservations for Rasika. Can't wait.

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

                                  7 Replies
                                  1. re: yfunk3

                                    I went to Ris this summer during Restaurant Week for lunch. It was great! The menu looks very similar. I got the gnuddi and meatloaf. The servings were huge! I took half the meatloaf home in order to save room for dessert (which I think was either a key lime pie or lemon meringue...can't remember). Great choice!

                                    1. re: Elyssa

                                      Seconded. Had the gnudi and the lamb. The lamb was great, but the meatloaf (which my husband ordered) was fantastic. They had great discounts on wine also, so we had two really nice bottles between the four of us and walked out with a reasonable bill, which has never happened to me before.

                                      Funny, I can't remember dessert either. :-)

                                      1. re: Raids

                                        You can't remember dessert because that meatloaf is intoxicating. Yes----meatloaf can be intoxicating!! :) haha

                                        1. re: spinachandchocolate

                                          No it's a special Restaurant Week menu but a lot of stuff is on the regular menu as well. http://www.risdc.com/index.php/site/m...

                                          1. re: Elyssa

                                            Ris has a VERY limited menu and none of their signatures. I would save Ris for another time and go when you only want two courses. I bet you don't need the calories from dessert anyways! :)

                                            1. re: spinachandchocolate

                                              Ate from the RW menu at Ris last night. I had the gnudi, meatloaf and key lime cheesecake. Sibling had the soup of the day (Portuguese Kale Soup), rockfish and flourless chocolate cake.

                                              Everything was great. The gnudi, even though I had heard great things, was still better than I expected. So creamy, but not rich. Great ricotta flavor that didn't wash out every other flavor. The tiny crisps of prosciutto were a great salty kick to a couple of the bites of gnudi with the tomato sauce and spinach. The Portuguese kale soup was okay. Sibling liked it better than I did, but I did like that it had a great, spicy kick to it. Meatloaf was delicious. Tasted more "mealoafy" (ha) than homemade, which is always good. Served with mashed potatoes and kale. A good, solid dish, but didn't knock my socks off. Comfort food doesn't have to, though! The rockfish was good, too. Local from the Chesapeake, and had great flavor without it tasting like it was frozen previously. Came with a purple potato side that was great as well. Another solid, not-quite-knock-your-socks-off dish that I would definitely put into the comfort food category.

                                              Flourless chocolate cake had the texture of a flour cake, so I was speculating that they maybe put some almond flour or another kind of nut flour in there for texture purposes. Can't be sure, but it tasted great and not too sweet, which is just the way I like it. The key lime cheesecake was my favorite of the desserts, though. The first thing that hits the tongue is the taste of REAL key limes, with that bitter edge. Then the sugar and creaminess kick in. Looked very rich (and I know it had to be), but tasted light as a feather.

                                              I wasn't too disappointed that the desserts on Ris' RW menu weren't regular items. I see RW as an indicator of what a restaurant is capable of, anyway. And I definitely was impressed enough at Ris to want to go back. They have a $35 prix fixe dinner from 5-6:30 and then after 9:00 on weekdays, plus happy hour specials. And their daily soup changes are available in a calendar so you can plan which day you want to go in according to what soup you want to try, which I thought was pretty clever. A pretty dang successful RW experience from Ris for me...

                                    2. Over the years I have learned, stay away from restaurants during Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, and Restaurant Week.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: dinwiddie

                                        Except, you pay a premium for the first two and get a discount for RW! And there's something to be said for a whole week (extended some places) as opposed to one night. It's true though, some places do a much better job with RW than others, which is why I'm glad we have this thread!

                                      2. Still anxiously awaiting the menu from Casa Nonna. The menu at Bourbon Steak looks great...will be a nice way to spend a day off with a friend.

                                        I also just added lunch at J & G Steakhouse for extended Restaurant Week.

                                        This blog has a list of menus and extended Restaurant Week participants in case anyone is interested: http://diningindc.net/2011/01/07/dc-r...

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: Elyssa

                                          My J&G RW lunch was great last year, although I was seated at the banquette in the back because we were only a party of two. That is the most awkwardly arranged table space I can imagine - totally off on ergonomics if you're sitting on the bench side.

                                          Anyway, great salad, great hanger steak, pretty good dessert.

                                          1. re: Elyssa

                                            Have you seen the J&G menu? The Boubon Steak menu didn't excite me - I don't like pastrami. :) Also, I was not terribly impressed by Casa Nonna but did see that Sundays in January they are having a family style 4 course meal for $25 per person which is a better deal than RW!

                                            1. re: DCLindsey

                                              Have you seen the Casa Nonna Restaurant Week menu? If so, can you post?

                                              Bourbon Steak's menu has more options than just pastami....and more options than J & G, who's lunch menu is fairly limited but still looks quite good. The link to the J & G menu I had doesn't appear to be working right now. I can't remember the first course, but the 2nd course options are the J & G cheese burger and a salmon dish. For dessert it's a cookie plate or apple crisp.

                                          2. We have dinner reservations at AGAINN. The reviews I've read sound like a good reason for my husband to break his diet :-)

                                            -----
                                            AGAINN
                                            1099 New York Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20001

                                            4 Replies
                                            1. re: odkaty

                                              Been to Againn 2x now, the first time when they opened and then again more recently. First time was awful - poor service, they were out of several beers I wanted to try, and the food was so-so. The more recent visit (inspired by a Groupon) was completely different - food was quite good, service was impeccable and I would definitely save room for the Banoffee dessert! mmmmm..... bon appetit!

                                              1. re: odkaty

                                                Turns out Againn started Restaurant Week this week and it's going until the 28th. Haven't gone for RW but I've had a number of the items they are featuring and they were great.

                                                1. re: Elyssa

                                                  Yeah, I saw that. Unfortunately I don't have the most forgiving schedule over the next few weeks.

                                                2. re: odkaty

                                                  Had dinner at Againn last night. Lived up to expectations — good homey food. My husband had the ham (needed a bit of salt) and salmon with the Pimms Cup (gin), I went with the beet salad (delicious) and vegetable pie (rich with onions and cabbage) with the Bare-knuckle Brawler. For dessert we had the banoffee and bread pudding. The pudding was absolutely fantastic. Loved the flavors, and the slight savory tinge of both desserts (not a huge fan of too sweet anything).

                                                  While everything was good, the desserts and cocktails were the standouts for us.

                                                3. I am new the the DC area and am SO excited for the chance to check out some new places during RW. However, I am really stuck making the final decision. I know I want sushi for lunch on Monday, and then an upscale dinner one night with good wine or beer options. I should also mention that beef is definitely not my top choice for entrees. Any Advice?

                                                  Lunch Options
                                                  1. Taro Sushi
                                                  2. Kushi

                                                  Dinner Options
                                                  1. Zola
                                                  2. Sonoma
                                                  3. Tosca
                                                  4. Smith Commons
                                                  5. Bistro Bis or Vidalia
                                                  6. Siors
                                                  7. Oval Room

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

                                                  Vidalia
                                                  1990 M Street, Washington, DC 20036

                                                  9 Replies
                                                  1. re: lfducky007

                                                    Add a Passion Food restaurant to this list (Ceiba, DC Coast, Ten Penh) and somewhat high up it. I'd put both Tosca and one of these higher than Zola; Sonoma I have not been. Zola is not that great for RW, it definitely should not be #1.

                                                    1. re: justaddwater

                                                      I have to correct myself, Zola appears to have a very extensive menu available for RW, probably one of the best at the moment. I was commenting based on a poor lunch RW experience years ago. Seems they are now taking RW rather seriously.

                                                      http://www.zoladc.com/rw_2011.html

                                                    2. re: lfducky007

                                                      I'm going to skip choosing your lunch option because I've never been to Taro and I'm in the minority of people who really disliked Kushi.

                                                      Good choices for dinner though. I personally would go with Bistro Bis or Zola. Both usually have excellent Restaurant Week menus and just do the whole experience well (unfortunately not every restaurant does). This meal will allow you to get a good taste for the restaurant so then you can decide whether or not you want to return in the future.

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

                                                      1. re: Elyssa

                                                        Ditto for Kushi, though I wouldn't go as far to say I disliked it. I just personally think it's overrated, even for Japanese food. All of the nigiri my dining partner and I ordered fell apart the moment we touched it, and the prices just didn't add up to what we were getting or expecting. Maybe it was just an off night (Saturday, so it was definitely busy)...I'd try it again to give it one or two more chances, but there'd have to be a Groupon or comp involved!

                                                      2. re: lfducky007

                                                        Thanks for the feedback! I have should have mentioned that I did not list them in order of preference, just in order of when I found them.

                                                        Right now I have a reservation at Kushi (but now I am re-thinking that!) for lunch because it slightly reminds me of my favroite place in Pittsburgh Tamari that specialized in robota grill and latin/japanese fusion. Overall the sushi choices here in DC have not compared to my faves in other cities (even Morgantown, WV!), so I am anxious to see how Kushi or Taro stack up.

                                                        My husband got the pick for dinner, and we have a reservation at Bistro Bis.
                                                        I was interested in DC Coast, but we have found good deals and nice service there before for late night happy hour.

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

                                                        DC Coast Restaurant
                                                        1401 K Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005

                                                        1. re: lfducky007

                                                          About Sushi Taro vs. Kushi - the atmosphere is wholly different. Kushi is bustling and loud while Taro is totally zen. Tables are well-spaced, it's sort of quiet.

                                                          I have had the best sushi of my life at Sushi Taro, whereas I have not had great sushi at Kushi yet, although I hear really great things so I'm trying it again.

                                                          The safest bet for great sushi is Sushi Taro. They truly have a buyer at the market in tokyo and fly the stuff in within a 24 hours of purchase - the chefs told us that when I went did the omakasse style dinner there. It's not eco-friendly, but it's damn good fish. And they have a lot of locally sourced options also. The head chef is one of the few in the country licensed to serve fugu. It is as serious of a sushi restaurant as you can find anywhere.

                                                          I hope they give you the little mini paintbrushes for your soy sauce at the tables - those were great!

                                                          1. re: Raids

                                                            I would second the Sushi Taro choice here, though I have RW reservations at Kushi (ST was full for dinner, alas). Also ditto about the atmosphere -- very different. I'm pretty confident that Sushi Taro should stack up against good sushi in most places, though you don't say where else you've eaten sushi in the area, so hard to judge.

                                                            Though hey, why not do ST one day and Kushi the next? :)

                                                            I'll also say that I've been to Kushi and very much enjoyed it, despite the loud bustling atmosphere. Good quality fish, quite tasty.

                                                            -----
                                                            Sushi Taro
                                                            1503 17th Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20036

                                                          2. re: lfducky007

                                                            I personally like DC Coast even though some think it's too corporate...but I think Bistro Bis is a great choice for RW.

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

                                                            DC Coast Restaurant
                                                            1401 K Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005

                                                          3. re: lfducky007

                                                            I went to Kushi on Monday for lunch (some dissappointments there), Bistro Bis on Tuesday (I thought this dinner was exellent!) and our party of 3 is heading to 701 tonight for happy hour wine specials and then a RW dinner. I will post a more detailed reviewed this weekend.

                                                          4. I had an excellent RW meal at Bastille this past August. Unfortunately, I could have gotten just as good a deal by having dinner there on a Sunday evening (they have a special) so though I would highly recommend the place for a meal in Old Town if that is what you need, I would not waste a RW meal here.

                                                            1. I had my first Restaurant Week lunch yesterday at Bourbon Steak. What a wonderful meal! They really did Restaurant Week right. The service is impeccable (I spilled some coffee on a dish, without even saying a word they quickly stopped by and gave me a new coffee set, the small details like that).

                                                              And the food was very good! Bourbon Steak isn't a place I could normally afford, so I was glad I got to try it out. My first course I went with the octopus. In general this was a tasty dish although I felt the octopus was slightly over cooked and therefore a little chewy. This seems to be the risk in ordering grilled octopus though. That said, the sauces that came with it were excellent...especially the mixed pepper sauce.

                                                              For the main course I got the duck confit and cassoule dish. Amazing! The perfect cold weather dish. Really, really tasty. My friend got the trout and he said it was perfectly cooked. For dessert our table of 3 tried the rootbeer float, deconstructed brownie sundae, and caramel dessert. All were very good.

                                                              While I probably won't be dining in the full dining room anytime soon (based on price point), I will certainly return to the lounge for drinks and appetizers in the future. And my boyfriend lives in Detroit where there is a Bourbon Steak that offers special deals all the time, so we will check that out. Restaurant Week was a success in this case because now they have a return customer.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: Elyssa

                                                                Thanks for the update! Sounds like I'll have to try Bourbon Steak sometime!

                                                              2. We went to Rasika last night and it was fabulous. I felt like it was a really good deal - everything tasted wonderful (especially the palak chaat.... daaaaaaaaamn) and I even went home with some leftovers. Nice to see that they really put their best foot forward during RW, which a lot of places don't do.

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

                                                                4 Replies
                                                                1. re: kathleen440

                                                                  I went to Rasika yesterday for lunch and it was phenomenal.

                                                                  I had the crispy spinach appetizer, beautifully cooked (med rare) salmon, and the carrot cake. My companion had the mushroom cake, lamb entree, and same dessert. Dessert was average but everything else was outstanding. Fantastic, attentive service too.

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

                                                                  1. re: tiramasue

                                                                    I'm so glad they have the palak chaat on the RW lunch menu. Can't wait to go! It's been far too long and far too many excuses...

                                                                    1. re: tiramasue

                                                                      I had the crispy spinach, the black cod, and the dessert that was described to me as donut holes in sauce with cardamom ice cream. It was fabulous!

                                                                    2. re: kathleen440

                                                                      That palak chaat is amazing. I think they sprinkle a little crack on it to keep me coming back haha

                                                                    3. I get out of work on Friday at 2:30pm this week so I've been thinking about doing a late Restaurant Week lunch. This week (and next) I'm already going to Bourbon Steak, Casa Nona, and (next week) J & G Steak.

                                                                      I've been thinking about Acadiana, DC Coast, West End, or Prime Rib. I've been to all 4 but a) not in awhile and b) not for Restaurant Week. Any thoughts? Anywhere else I should consider?

                                                                      -----
                                                                      DC Coast Restaurant
                                                                      1401 K Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005

                                                                      Prime Rib
                                                                      2020 K Street, NW, Washington, DC 20006

                                                                      Acadiana
                                                                      901 New York Ave NW Ste 200A, Washington, DC 20001

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: Elyssa

                                                                        Also add Zola to this list....that menu looks great.

                                                                      2. I just had lunch at Bourbon Steak and it was FREAKING AMAZING. Each course was marvelous. I had the Beef Shank & Barley soup, the Duck Confit, and the Rootbeer Float. Seriously the best RW meal I've had in a year. At first I was a bit concerned because their RW menu didn't have anything from their normal menu and was pretty limited, but those fears proved to be completely unfounded. Also they gave me a complimentary lime soda concoction of some kind that was delicious.

                                                                        On the flipside, I had dinner at Mourayo on Tuesday night and it was lousy. Service was slow and confused, despite the restaurant being half empty. All of the food was incredibly bland, save for the dessert. I had the entree of pasta with guinea hen (which was a last minute substitution for rabbit), and it was like chef boyarde. Completely overcooked and drenched in a bland tomato sauce that tasted like it was from a can. Total disappointment. I don't know why that place gets such high marks on Yelp. Aside from the (unwelcome) substitution of hen for rabbit, they were also out of their fish of the day, changed from striped bass to turbot. One day in to RW and at the start of dinner service and you are out of two things? How's that? Wont be going back there.

                                                                        1. Just had a very nice lunch at Bibiana. There were at least 6 or 7 options for first and second course, and maybe 4 or 5 for dessert. I had the polpette (IIRC) - a lovely braised meatball served on a very buttery white polenta and sprinkled with gremolata; bucatini a la matriciana (very nice kick to the tomato and bacon sauce, really good al dente texture, yummy); and hazelnut semifreddo (also lovely, very carefully prepared.) I'm glad I finally got a chance to try this place. This is what Restaurant Week is all about for me.

                                                                          Only weird thing - they called me at 9:45 pm the night before to confirm the lunch reservation the following day at noon. I think that's a little late to be calling, don't you?

                                                                          -----
                                                                          Bibiana
                                                                          1100 New York Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20005

                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                          1. re: hamster

                                                                            I love Bibiana. I don't think restaurant is that much better of a deal - they have a pre-theater dinner that's a better deal ($30 for 3 courses), but it's still a great place.
                                                                            If you EVER see salted caramel gelato on the menu, get it. And ask for a to-go gallon.

                                                                            -----
                                                                            Bibiana
                                                                            1100 New York Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20005

                                                                            1. re: Jeserf

                                                                              Good to know, thank you for that. Is there just as much choice for the pre-theatre thing?
                                                                              Still it's only $20 for lunch on Restaurant Week, so I'm glad I did it.

                                                                              1. re: hamster

                                                                                Yes for lunch it's a very good deal. I love that meatball...it brings me to a very happy place :)

                                                                                1. re: hamster

                                                                                  Last time I went, it was pretty similar options for pre-theater for $30. We weren't going to do RW but met another couple at La Tasca and it was surprisingly fantastic, if not a bit too much food (though it was our one meal for the day, so $40 well spent between the two of us!)

                                                                                  -----
                                                                                  La Tasca
                                                                                  722 7th Street NW, Washington, DC 20001

                                                                                  1. re: Jeserf

                                                                                    But for pre-theater you usually have to get there before 6-6:30pm or so. At least with restaurant week you can dine whenever you want. haha

                                                                                    I haven't been to La Tasca in years. Last time I went it was so subpar but it was the only place I could find open during Christmas in the area I was in.

                                                                                    -----
                                                                                    La Tasca
                                                                                    722 7th Street NW, Washington, DC 20001

                                                                            2. Went to J&G for lunch. The food was good and the service was very good, but the menu was pretty limited (two options each for app, main and dessert). I enjoyed it a lot but honestly the menu was pricey enough that I'm not sure if I'd go back on my own (non-RW) dime.

                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                              1. re: Doh

                                                                                That was the other place I was considering. Thanks for the input.

                                                                                1. re: Doh

                                                                                  I'm going there next week (they are extending Restaurant Week). I went once before for dinner for RW (when they seemed to have a few more options...it was quite good).

                                                                                  Out of curiosity what did you order/like?

                                                                                  1. re: Elyssa

                                                                                    I had the soup to start-- butternut and wild mushroom. I would say the mushroom made the soup-- gave some additional flavor and zing to otherwise ok rendition of a standard. I had the salmon and mashed potatoes for my main which was again nicely done. Dessert was an apple crisp with some cinnamon ice cream. I felt like it was a very good lunch (at least compared to what I normally eat ;)) but nothing really earth-shattering (and I think I might have been disappointed had I spent $20 or whatever on just my main). Service was very attentive (verging on too much, but I'd rather have that than get attitude for ordering off the RW menu).

                                                                                2. I have done 2 so far in the NoVA area:

                                                                                  Passionfish: excellent. They have a large variety of appetizers and all entrees were available (2 with small upcharges). Choice of 3 desserts. The crab corn chowder was very tasty - more variety of veggies than most. Crab Cakes were excellent - not too much filling and a little crispy on the outside.

                                                                                  Vinifera: It was a good excuse to try a restaurant that has been on my list a while. Unfortunately I was disappointed: Limited choices 2 apps, 2 salads, 2 entrees. The calamari was good but not great. The paella was so-so. Some of the seafood was very good (scallop and shrimp) but the main meat was very overcooked (sausage & gamehen).

                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: majmaj4

                                                                                    Happy to hear you enjoyed Passionfish.
                                                                                    I've been twice in the past. Once for winter RW and once for summer RW. Menu is ever changing and have never been disappointed. Sadly, we didn't make reservations early enough to get in this time round.

                                                                                    We'll be going to Chef Geoff's in Tyson's tomorrow for the first time.

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                                                                                    Chef Geoff's
                                                                                    3201 New Mexico Avenue, Washington, DC 20016

                                                                                    1. re: allicam

                                                                                      I've never been to the Tyson's location, but the downtown and NM Ave locations have never produced a meal better than mediocre, and more suited to a $20 3-course than $30. I would highly recommend changing your reservation.

                                                                                      1. re: DanielK

                                                                                        Just got back from an early dinner at Chef Geoff's.
                                                                                        Service was excellent. Drink glasses were never empty. Our server, John, was well versed with the menu.
                                                                                        The entire menu was available for restaurant week. Made choosing a bit difficult.
                                                                                        Appetizers: My friends had the fritto misto (mixed fried appetizer) and I had the duck rolls to start. Both excellent. The fried appetizer was a good sized portion of calamari, pickles, and veggies.
                                                                                        Entrees: Both friends had the big shrimp and grits. I had the saffron risotto. Both huge portions. The shrimp were meaty and big. The grits was creamy. The risotto came with calamari, shrimp and mussels. The mussels went around the edge of the plate. The risotto had some uncooked rice in it. Still creamy and tasty.
                                                                                        Dessert: only 4 options. Still I wanted something from one dessert and something from another. So John suggested I get the carrot cake and he'd put a small sample of the other dessert on my plate. I was a happy camper!! Okay the carrot cake was more of a carrot loaf. The sample was the rice krispy with white chocolate icing and pop rock. John ended up having the sample on all of our dessert plates. One friend ordered the blueberry upside down cake. The other ordered the 3 scoops of ice cream. All very good. The ice cream is made in house as are all the other desserts. They make the desserts fo all the other locations too.

                                                                                        It was an enjoyable meal.

                                                                                        -----
                                                                                        Chef Geoff's
                                                                                        3201 New Mexico Avenue, Washington, DC 20016

                                                                                  2. First, sorry for the reather long review, but I have a lot to say about this dinner, all positive. Went to Birch and Barley on Friday and wow, did they really bring their A game for RW. To start, they brought out an arancini made with risotto cooked in beet juice gratis, and I liked it much better than the usual version they serve upstairs and at the restaurant, which can be a little heavy without the tartness of the beet. We did the beer pairings, and they are just genius. This is really my favorite part of eating here - I cannot say enough about how great their beer sommelier is at matching beers to the food. For example, for the first course, I had the chestnut agnolotti topped with black trumpets and paired with the Harpoon oak-aged dunkel and the earthy flavor of the chestnuts was perfectly complemented by the oaked beer. Husband had the risotto - butternut squash, pomegranate and gingerbread, topped with some excellent marscapone and served with a citrus and spice german wheat beer which, as opposed to my pairing, did not so much meld with the food but complemented it in that great way where the food makes you want more beer, the beer makes you want more food, etc. Entrees were the ricotta cavatelli with roasted pork - a little over-salted but otherwise fantastic, and the chicken, which came as slices of breast and a ballotine of the leg. The produce was fantastic and the barley was the best I've ever had - herbal, light, springy. Dessert is always great here, but in particular I loved the banana and the buttermilk sorbet. The riffs on snickers, hostess cupcakes, and an oatmeal cookie are really cute - heavy for our taste, but great for people who like a really rich dessert. All in all, far and away the best RW dinner I've had anywhere - no hint of budgeting, no skimping on portions (we practically rolled ourselves out the door), well-conceived dishes with perfect careful touches and balancing of flavor, generous pours of perfectly matched beer pairings, and great service. I can't wait to go back.

                                                                                    11 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: Raids

                                                                                      wow, this sounds amazing! We don't really drink, but sounds like food my fiance would like (risotto especially). We will have to head there soon.

                                                                                      1. re: Jeserf

                                                                                        What I love about B&B is that they never overload the plates with components so the food is both sophisticated through the combination of a few key elements, but still feels like comfort food. IMO, it's a great place to take people like my husband who get a little weirded out by overly conceptualized dishes and a great place to show someone what beer can really do.

                                                                                        I haven't had it, but apparently they have that beet risotto that they used in the arancini on the regular menu sometimes, and it's supposed to be out of this world.

                                                                                        1. re: Raids

                                                                                          I've had the beet risotto, and it is fantastic. And I'm generally not a huge beet fan. But the flavor is infused just the right amount, and the risotto is perfectly cooked--al dente, but not hard.

                                                                                          1. re: Raids

                                                                                            hm, the risotto is not on the menu regularly - that's disappointing. If there were one or two more veggie options, it might be something we'd visit more immediately. That's unfortunate because the risotto sounded amazing.

                                                                                            Do they have specials?

                                                                                            1. re: Jeserf

                                                                                              It's listed on the current dinner menu, however. As far as I can tell, they do not have specials - the regular menu offerings change regularly. A vegetarian could do worse than the truffled mac and cheese, also - it was a tad heavy on the truffle oil for my taste, but perfectly rich and creamy, and my husband thought it was fantastic as is. Anyway, usually you can count on one vegetarian pasta option, at least, and some vegetarian apps. I'm guessing that the restaurant might be willing to do more than that for you if you called ahead, like put the cavatelli together with something meatless and savory. And note that you will eat the *entire* bread board also.

                                                                                              1. re: Raids

                                                                                                I know - I saw the beet risotto, but I was talking about the risotto from restaurant week with the pomegranate and gingerbread, which sounds amazing.

                                                                                                The menu generally looks a little heavy - which is fine, but not 8 weeks before a wedding :)

                                                                                                Decided that when it's a bit warmer, we will go, though. The desserts look amazing as well, which again, have to think wedding dress. But after that, it's all about exploring more places in DC this year before he goes away, and it's definitely on our list.

                                                                                                1. re: Jeserf

                                                                                                  Oh, I see. Yeah, I have not seen it on the regular menu before. And yes, between the bread board, beer, and dessert, it definitely is a little heavy. And congratulations!

                                                                                              2. re: Jeserf

                                                                                                I think they change their menu fairly regularly. I've looked at the menu a half dozen times over the past few months and there is always something different.

                                                                                          2. re: Raids

                                                                                            Great review! I'm finnnnnnally checking out Birch and Barley in 2 weeks when my parents are in town. I can't wait.

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

                                                                                            1. re: Elyssa

                                                                                              Just an FYI, I vastly prefer the back dining room by the kitchen to the much larger front room for a smaller party - the front room can be loud. And cold by the door.

                                                                                              1. re: Raids

                                                                                                Oh good to know. We are just a party of 3 so I'll suggest the back dining room.

                                                                                          3. Went to Zengo for their RW dinner menu over the weekend, which was pretty much most of the regular menu. I admit that I definitely ignored Zengo before due to the crowds, location and pretentious interior, but the food was really good. Everything was great for sharing, so we were able to try more things. Lobster tacos are so incredibly good. GREAT lobster flavor, and the black bean and mango salsa on top was the perfect balance of flavor (not overwhelming). Their peking duck daikon tacos were good, not great. The "tortilla" is a slice of thinly-sliced daikon, which was a nice touch, but I found the duck to be too tough (supposed to be confit) and the orange sauce not sweet or strong enough to be noticed with the duck. Also ordered a Tiradito tasting starter, which is basically two different types of sashimi. Good, but nothing too impressive, imo.

                                                                                            Lambchops were great, not gamey at all. Fatty, but that gave it great flavor and my dining partner likened it to rib meat. Came with mashed potatoes that were flavored perfectly with Chinese mustard. Not overhelming, but surprisingly pleasant and smooth, not too rich. The scallops were okay, nothing impressive. The sweet potato puree the scallops were on was good, with a spice I couldn't pinpoint. You could barely taste the scallops, though. There were only two dessert choices: churros and yogurt pannecotta. Both were delicious, but the creamy smoothness and slight tartness (not quite as strong as in full-fat yogurt) was just the right ending to all the complex flavors of the starters and mains.

                                                                                            I'm glad I tried Zengo during RW, since paying regular price for their small-ish portions would've triggered the "frugal" part of my brain into walking right out. But it definitely made me want to go back.

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                                                                                            Zengo Restaurant
                                                                                            781 7th St NW, Washington, DC 20001

                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: yfunk3

                                                                                              Zengo did an Opentable Spotlight coupon awhile back, so keep an eye for that if you want to go back at a discount.

                                                                                              I have to say that I would describe the interior as festive (and dated) but not pretentious.

                                                                                              1. re: yfunk3

                                                                                                I also feared Zengo before trying it for similar reasons, but I liked it a lot! Your review reminds me that it's been a long time since I've been there... *lip smacky noises*

                                                                                                -----
                                                                                                Zengo Restaurant
                                                                                                781 7th St NW, Washington, DC 20001