Tips wanted for one lunch and one late lunch/early dinner in late October
I will be visiting Alexandria (from NYC) for a conference from Oct 23 to 25. Most meals will probably not be under my control, but on 10/23 I arrive at Union Station at 11:30, so will be looking for lunch, and on 10/25 the conference ends at 4 and my train is at 6, so I have time for a late lunch/early dinner.
I'll be dining solo. I like nearly all kinds of food.... in particular Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Korean, Italian or just "regular" American food; a good beer list would be nice. Anything special to the area would also be nice. I will be staying at the Hilton in Alexandria; I don't drive but can take Metro or cabs. Price - not crazy expensive but doesn't have to be cheap - maybe $50 max before drinks/tip/tax.
(EDIT) Browsing a bit on this board, it looks like Ethiopian may be something to try. There's relatively little of that in NYC (although there is some).
What shouldn't I miss?
Two recs, from opposite ends of the spectrum of Southern food:
First is a hole-in-the-wall, Oohhs and Aahhs for Coastal Carolina soul food. Four stools in front of a tiny kitchen. There is also a small eating area upstairs. Go for the grilled shrimp with vegetables over grits (must ask for the vegetables). Or get the broiled crabcake with greens. Broiled will take a long time, but it's worth the wait. While you're waiting get some lemon pepper wings.
The next place is a ritzy upscale venue, Vidalia. Tremendous attention to detail for what's on the plate. The corn meal crusted trout is sensational. The have a 3-course lunch special going on now which is $20 - which makes it cheaper than Oohhs and Aahhs. Not sure how long the special lasts.
For the late lunch, you will be close to Brabo and Brabo Tasting Room, Hank's Oyster Bar (Seafood), Vermillion (Italian) and the Majestic(Southern). It is probably best for your time to stay close to the hotel then cab it from the restaurant. The best restaurant in Old Town is Restaurant Eve, but it ends up taking a bit of time, even at the bar.
Arriving into town Ethiopic isn't too far from Union Station. Brasserie Beck has an excellent beer list and good food (same owner as Brabo which will have a good beer list too). I like the Southern food better at Sou'Wester than Vidalia.
110 South Pitt Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
1101 K Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005
Hank's Oyster Bar
1026 King St Ste 1, Alexandria, VA 22314
1990 M Street, Washington, DC 20036
101 N Market St, Frederick, MD 21701