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Seeking Chowhounder help please

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Hi all! I am coming to DC the end of October beginning of November for a conference at the Washington Convention Center and I am staying at the Hyatt Regency Washington on New Jersey Ave NW. I will have 4 nights and 1 late lunch. The complication is that I am on a per diem of around $60 a day. I tend to go light on other meals so all my money can go to dinners. Last time I was in DC (early 2010) I ate at Central Michel Richard, Jaleo in Crystal City, Dino (for their dinner special), The Oval Room, J&G Steakhouse, and Liberty Tavern ( Arlington VA ) for Sunday brunch.

Now I'm planning for this trip. I've been putting together a list of places I heard of for dinners-- some from this board. Can you help me narrow it down or suggest other places. I won't have a car but I can use the metro or a cab as needed. Here's my list. Thanks in advance for your help.

Bibiana
Bar Pilar
Café du Parc
Zengo – someone suggested I do small plates
Graffitio
Art & Soul
Corduroy
701 restaurant
Central Michel Richard again
Zentan
Brasserie Beck
Cordoroy
Birch and Barley
Proof

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

Central Michel Richard
1001 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20004

Café du Parc
1401 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20004

Bar Pilar
1833 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20009

The Liberty Tavern
3195 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22201

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

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

J&G Steakhouse
515 15th St NW, Washington, DC 20004

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

Art & Soul
415 New Jersey Ave NW, Washington, DC 20001

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  1. You are really doing your homework! I haven't been to all the places on your list, but for the ones I have...

    Bibiana - excellent Italian food. Try the clear tomato soup if they still have it. Their pastas are excellent as well.

    Bar Pilar - nice neighborhood place with a very pleasant atmosphere. Some dishes are better than others. I wrote about my experience here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/536720

    Zengo - I've only been once. It isn't a favorite of mine. The fusion aspects of a lot of their dishes I find rather weird and annoying -- though a lot of others seem to like it.

    Graffiato -- Good, but overpriced, like most places in DC. I wrote about my experience here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/790774

    Central - a favorite of mine - love the place - don't blame you for wanting to return. It's also great for lunch M-F as well (try the corned beef sandwich).

    B. Beck - love the place. One of the best meals I've ever had in DC was an off the menu moules dish here - veal with roasted capers. Just fabulous, with lots of delicious bread to soak up the sauce. Enough for two, really, and for $20, I thought this was a great deal. Great frites as well served with delicious sauces alongside, and a fabulous, if expensive, Belgian beer list.

    Friends told me Art and Soul has the best bloody mary they'd ever had at brunch (and these friends are quite the connoisseurrs of that drink!

    With the exception of Zentan, I've heard great things about the other places on your list. I'm sure you will eat well at any of them!

    3 Replies
    1. re: woodleyparkhound

      The Corduroy upstairs bar menu is wonderful and a relative bargain. It's across the street from the Convention Center. And I second Bibiana. Also, check out the lounge menu at PS7. http://www.ps7restaurant.com/download...

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

      1. re: crackers

        Do you know where I can find the upstairs bar menu? I don't think it is on their website.

        1. re: Disneyfreak

          It isn't on line, but maybe if you call, they will fax it to you.

    2. The small plates are the weakest part of Zengo's menu. It is also trendy, popular, and the noise can be deafening.

      1. Thank you for your help! I am narrowing down the field and have gotten rid of a couple of choices -- like the ones starting with Z.

        Any other thoughts or suggestions?

        Can't wait to visit!

        1. Off of your list (and considering where you've already been) I would check out Bar Pilar, Graffiato, Bibiana, and Brasserie Beck for your 4 dinners. These are all 4 stellar restaurants with different tastes and styles.

          2 other good options are Art and Soul and Corduroy

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

          Bar Pilar
          1833 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20009

          Art and Soul
          415 New Jersey Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20001

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

          Graffiato
          707 6th Street NW, Washington, DC 20001

          1. I haven't been to Bibiana yet, but it is on the top of my to-do list with Eola.
            I am addicted to the XO edamame at Zengo, but agree it is definitely skipable.
            I haven't been wowed, by Art and Soul, if you want Southern, I would instead check out Sou'Wester.
            I have had some really good meals at 701. And I like the piano music.
            I think Proof is an excellent choice, as well as, Corduroy.

            Brasserie Beck might serve you well for brunch?

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

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

            Art and Soul
            415 New Jersey Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20001

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

            1. Sadly, I've only been to one place on your list, Bibiana, but I loved it. If you want a special meal, call up and ask for Francesco and ask him to take care of you. I did this for my wife's birthday last year and we had a fantastic meal, a wide variety of dishes and a shocking price......shocking at how cheap it was for what we had. For more details, here's my review:

              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/775797

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