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Near Union Station?

knol Jan 24, 2012 08:54 AM

Coming in for one night, and looking for a restaurant not too far from Union station (doesn't need to be walking distance, but not out of the way). Will also need somewhere I can hail a cab from after dinner. $20-$25 an entree is fine. Any type of food, preferablly not a chain. Thanks!

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  1. agarnett100 RE: knol Jan 24, 2012 10:01 AM

    You can walk to Watershed from Union Station or take a short cab ride

    3 Replies
    1. re: agarnett100
      DanielK RE: agarnett100 Jan 24, 2012 10:36 AM

      Second Watershed. Have had two very nice meals there in recent months.

      1. re: agarnett100
        Elyssa RE: agarnett100 Jan 25, 2012 06:36 AM

        Third. It actually might be easiest to just take the metro one stop over since it's right around the corner from the NY Metro stop.

        I also like Art and Soul, right near Union Station.

        If you want to head over to Gallery Place/Chinatown you have a lot more options. I would recommend dining at the bar at PS7 (don't miss the tuna sliders), especially if you are dining alone. I also like Jaleo for Spanish tapas, Sei for sushi, and Central for everything!

        1. re: Elyssa
          Bart Hound RE: Elyssa Dec 6, 2012 06:23 AM

          Don't go to PS7 as they are closed. It's been dark for a couple weeks now with a sign in the window saying they are "closed for administrative duties"

      2. k
        katecm RE: knol Jan 24, 2012 10:01 AM

        I'd say Art and Soul or Johnny's Half Shell, in that order. If you're willing to go a bit further and be a bit more adventurous, there are a bunch of great options on H Street NW.

        1. woodleyparkhound RE: knol Jan 24, 2012 10:32 AM

          post removed

          1. t
            Teddybear RE: knol Jan 24, 2012 01:06 PM

            I've had good lunches at Bistro Cacao (walkable) and Monmartre (cab), good dinners at Cava (cab) and wildly overpriced dinners at Johnny's Half shell

            1 Reply
            1. re: Teddybear
              monkeyrotica RE: Teddybear Jan 25, 2012 10:39 AM

              Agree completely with everything you've said.

            2. d
              drewpbalzac RE: knol Jan 24, 2012 01:37 PM

              Art and Soul & Johnny's Half Shell are both walking distance from Union station and put you around the corner from The Dubliner where you can enjoy a pint and some irish music after your dinner. Bistro Bis is also in the same area but at a higher price point than you seem to be interested in.

              4 Replies
              1. re: drewpbalzac
                mjhals RE: drewpbalzac Jan 24, 2012 03:36 PM

                My vote is for Bistro Bis, if OP is willing to go a little higher on the price point. I'd suggest eating at the bar; they have a limited, but well-thought out bar menu, which would keep the price down. Plus, it can be a great DC scene AND they have the best steak tartare around.

                1. re: mjhals
                  dining with doc RE: mjhals Jan 24, 2012 04:21 PM

                  2nd Bistro Bis

                  1. re: dining with doc
                    Bob W RE: dining with doc Dec 6, 2012 05:40 AM

                    Sorry I just saw this thread; I would have thirded Bistro Bis!

                    1. re: Bob W
                      Blumie RE: Bob W Dec 6, 2012 08:28 AM

                      I had a very nice meal at Bistro Bis on my last visit to DC. Had I not been looking for something different, I would have been very well served to have returned there, rather than going to Watershed.

              2. b
                Blumie RE: knol Dec 5, 2012 08:17 PM

                I am sorry to report that chowhound really let me down today. I came in by train for lunch, and in reliance on this thread I walked to Watershed. I thought it was really bad. I had the "seafood club," a tasteless slab allegedly of fish served on toasted white bread, with a side of limp fries. It was just not good at all.

                15 Replies
                1. re: Blumie
                  MikeR RE: Blumie Dec 6, 2012 03:49 AM

                  Maybe you didn't notice, but this thread is practically a year old. A lot can happen to a restaurant in even that short time. Or maybe you just ordered the wrong thing, or on the wrong day. You don't always find McDonald's-like consistency in an "interesting" restaurant.

                  1. re: MikeR
                    monkeyrotica RE: MikeR Dec 6, 2012 04:11 AM

                    Also, the best restaurants have lousy days, which is why pro reviewers only write a review after multiple meals.

                    1. re: monkeyrotica
                      Bob W RE: monkeyrotica Dec 6, 2012 05:46 AM

                      FWIW, since I have somehow never heard of this place, I just looked at Yelp, and based on the good number of 53 reviews, it gets 3.5 stars, so it's definitely not a sure thing. You guys are correct, reviews on here have a shelf life and should not be taken as gospel truth indefinitely.

                      1. re: Bob W
                        mdpilam RE: Bob W Dec 6, 2012 08:10 AM

                        I never take a Yelp rating seriously, unless it is below 2.5. Yelp is such a worthless site in terms of finding good restaurants. It may assist in narrowing down which dishes are their strong points, but I would never look at a Yelp rating between a 3 and 4.5 and believe it. Yelp and restaurants pay for reviews and pay for removal of bad ones. I am very much in agreement with Andrew Zimmern about this:


                        1. re: mdpilam
                          Bob W RE: mdpilam Dec 6, 2012 08:32 AM

                          Well you can go by a couple CH reviews, as blumie did, or you can do a deep dive into 53 reviews on Yelp, find them to be all over the board from "loved it" to "This place sucks," and proceed accordingly. Or look at both places, and urbanspoon, and any other resources you know about. Personally, despite Yelp's shortcomings, I'd be leery of a place that got less than 4 stars with that number of reviews.

                          At some point, the number of reviews is large enough to make the number meaningful. And 3.5 stars out of 53 reviews tells me the place is not a slam dunk, which is what I would be looking for at that price point.

                          But YMMV.

                      2. re: monkeyrotica
                        Blumie RE: monkeyrotica Dec 6, 2012 08:24 AM

                        I absolutely noticed that the thread was almost a year old. It's entirely possible that what once was a decent restaurant no longer is.

                        As for reaching a conclusion based on a single visit, I am in complete agreement that normally one should try a restaurant several times before reaching a completion, but what I was served had no chance of being good: I'm pretty sure it was a low quality piece of frozen fish that was heated and placed among three pieces of toasted wonder bread and served with lousy fries. Given the poor ingredients used, nothing could have saved this sandwich. On top of that, the service, while well intentioned, was amateurish. For example, the waiter could tell me absolutely nothing about the wines on the menu. So while a restaurant can have an off day (although I think that phrase is way overused as an excuse for a not very good restaurant), it was easy for me to conclude that this was not a place to which I'd like to give another shot. There was nothing about the experience that suggested to me any hope that another visit might yield a better result.

                        One additional pet peeve: the suggestion that maybe I "ordered wrong." So I'm in 100% agreement that in every single restaurant in existence, some things on the menu are better than others. Often when I go to a restaurant for the first time, I'll ask the waiter what his or her favorite things are on the menu. (I became good friends with a waiter at Mistral in Boston when he answered that question with such enthusiasm and steered me so well! The worst possible answer I can get to that question is "Everything is good.") But no restaurant should have anything on their menu that's not at all good. This sandwich was not at all good. It's offensive to me to suggest that my bad meal could therefore my fault because I "ordered wrong."

                        1. re: Blumie
                          Bart Hound RE: Blumie Dec 6, 2012 09:18 AM

                          <<< The worst possible answer I can get to that question is "Everything is good.") >>>

                          One thousand percent agreement!

                          If I owned a place, those words would be banned from my servers.

                          1. re: Bart Hound
                            Bob W RE: Bart Hound Dec 6, 2012 09:36 AM


                            Also annoying -- when Mrs W asks the server about a certain dish, or to compare dishes, and the server says either "Well, I don't like [that category of food] but lots of people seem to like [this dish]" or I haven't tried [that dish]." Both are awful answers. Servers should have to try every dish on the menu. If I owned a place, they certainly would.

                            1. re: Bob W
                              monkeyrotica RE: Bob W Dec 6, 2012 10:16 AM

                              I've pretty much given up asking what's good in upscale restaurants as the server inevitably steers me towards the most expensive item on the menu, usually something involving lobster or an expensive cut of beef, neither of which I'm usually in the mood for. This seems to be less of a problem in midrange or cheap local eateries, particularly places where the owner/cook is up front about what REALLY IS good that day, because they're really proud of what they can do.

                              1. re: monkeyrotica
                                hill food RE: monkeyrotica Dec 7, 2012 02:22 AM

                                monkey - true, it does happen that the floor manager has instructed the staff to upsell 'X' that's on daily special or even worse have never even given them a taste of the usual-menu-suspects to tout for the customers, not at every staff meal of course, but every now and then would seem a good marketing strategy.

                                I almost never ask 'what's best?' but then, I'm an unapologetic cynic/misanthrope.

                                1. re: hill food
                                  monkeyrotica RE: hill food Dec 7, 2012 03:18 AM

                                  This whole "what's best?" process depends on how well a customer can read their server demeanor and body language. Did they immediately show up to take your order before you sat down? What was their greeting like? Do they look inexperienced? A little too eager? The last time I ate at Antoine's, my waiter had been working there since the late 1960s, back when servers were expected to know enough French to translate the menu. He not only knew which dishes were particularly good, he also knew the preparation of the menu items, the individual history behind the dishes, and which of his longtime customers preferred which items and how they liked them cooked. Similar situation at Galatoire's. That's what you get when you have a business that treats its employees like family and you have a food culture where you can make a career as a server.

                                  1. re: monkeyrotica
                                    Sal Gee RE: monkeyrotica Dec 7, 2012 10:59 AM

                                    This is why CH is better than any other board. I take a passing look at "Near Union Station" because I happen to be around there now and then and get an education on dining out instead. Thanks, guys.

                                    1. re: monkeyrotica
                                      hill food RE: monkeyrotica Dec 7, 2012 07:09 PM

                                      monkey: sadly I've come to expect that level almost nowhere.

                                      1. re: hill food
                                        monkeyrotica RE: hill food Dec 8, 2012 09:33 AM

                                        You'll have to go to Europe or Japan and even there, career servers seem to be a dying breed.

                                      2. re: monkeyrotica
                                        DCDOLL RE: monkeyrotica Dec 18, 2012 12:46 PM

                                        Oh man i LOVE Antoine's...and Commander's Palace is my fave in the US. Now you made me want to go to NO! Thanks! :( Guess i'll have to settle for New Zealand in 2 days...can't wait but am hoping that not liking lamb or mussels isn't going to be an impediment... i'll just have to drink more pinot noir i guess!! I can't say how many restaurants i've been to that told me "Oh but you haven't had OUR lamb..." yeah, and i'm not gonna! Sorry, i digressed.. :)

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