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May 3, 2012 06:15 AM

Dining near the Renaissance Downtown DC and a random question

Hi all! I am attending a conference in DC next week and had a couple of questions.

1) Are there any great restaurants preferably within walking distance of the Renaissance downtown. I believe it is by a large convention center. I am really interested in "farm to table" type dining but would welcome any suggestions if the food is amazing. Price is not an object.

2) Could anyone suggest a local, regional type food that is unique to DC that I could ship back to the folks at my office? It is sort of a tradition when I attend these conferences but am at a loss when it comes to DC.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!



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  1. For question 2: Half smokes. And for them go to Eastern Market. Best yet, take a picture of yourself in front of Ben's Chili Bowl (U Street), and tell whomever that this is where the half smokes came from. Prolong the dreary misconception that Ben's really is any good.

    1. If price is really no object then Corduroy is a good bet.

      4 Replies
      1. re: msr3017

        Half-smokes sound interesting. Do they taste like hot dogs?

        Wow, Corduroy looks amazing! It has a similar-type menu as Michael's Genuine down here in Miami.

        1. re: nikklos

          Second Corduroy, the food and service are amazing. But I wouldn't limit myself to walking distance, the METRO is right there, easy to use, and will take you to some really great places to eat. Search the boards for suggestions in Cleveland Park, Penn Quarter, Dupont Circle, etc. then figure out how to get there on the METRO.

          However, the METRO does not go to Georgetown.

          1. re: nikklos

            half-smokes like hot dogs? sorry, more like a cross between a brat and a mild polish sausage in a way. bit of a bite to it but nothing too much to worry about.

            1. re: nikklos


              Corduroy is very good, but not particularly similar to Michael's Genuine. I'd rate Corduroy as significantly more refined than Michael's Genuine in preparation and ingredients. The cooking is more delicate at Corduroy. My experience at Michael's Genuine was with food more rustic, 'earthy,' and casual. I thought the food and flavors at Michael's Genuine were excellent, but is a bit more relaxed and rough. Corduroy falls much more in the fine dining category.

              If you are strongly considering Corduroy, you should definitely know about how the two restaurants differ. The differences are also apparent in decor, service, and noise level. If Michael's Genuine is bustling and edging towards informal, Corduroy is quiet, subdued, muted, elegant, and gentle.

          2. For No.1: Zatinya or Cedar, or both.

            1. You might also like Proof, Fiola and Rasika, none are too far away.

              For #2, another option is a couple chocolate shops make really cool chocolates in the shape of the capital dome that are really detailed.

              Or you could send crabcakes from, we really don't have our own distinct food item.

              1. I'll second Corduroy. I'd also enthusiastically add PS7s, and make sure you get the tuna tartar sliders!

                For a DC-special gift, head south on 9th, Once you've passed the portrait gallery head a block west to 8th and get to Teaism for the salty oatmeal cookies. As good as half-smokes are, salty oat cookies are less potentially salmonillaed if not refrigerated!

                7 Replies
                1. re: katecm


                  I thought that was the new flavor at DQ. 'cept they use a hyphen

                  1. re: hill food

                    A little poetic license never hurt anyone, bit a little salmonella has!

                  2. re: katecm

                    I have taken salty oat cookies from Teaism on planes with me to give as gifts before and they have been well received. I think they come 6 to a package.

                    1. re: woodleyparkhound

                      Thanks I just picked up a couple dozen Teaism cookies!

                      Do any of the restaurants mentioned have bar seating? I walked by Curdoroy and couldn't tell.

                        1. re: hill food

                          JFW - I went to Corduroy last night and you are spot-on about how it is different from Michael's. I had the Spring Pea Soup, the Lobster Carpaccio (amazing), and the Antelope in a veal (?) reduction. All were refined and excellent.

                          I will have to choose from the recos that everyone has provided for my next few nights.

                          And I couldn't resist opening one of my packs of Teaism cookies just now!

                          1. re: nikklos

                            cool and seriously just pop your head in and ask "hey can get a meal in the bar?"

                            they won't think you're weird. - don't ask don't get