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Help me pick a good dinner or two

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I'm going to be in Arlington, VA in mid-July for about 36 hours for a conference. While most of my expenses are being covered, dinner isn't. And, since I'll have my evenings free, I figure I may as well make the most of my time and grab a truly excellent dinner or two in either Arlington or (I assume more likely) DC.

So I'm asking you, the local experts, to make a few suggestions. Requirements/criteria:

- Reasonable to get to without a car (ideally near mass transit, though taxis are fine if necessary)

- I can make a reservation 3-4 weeks out, even for a Friday or Saturday, and be accommodated.

- Has somewhat late hours (since I doubt if I'll be able to do dinner before 8 on Saturday, and I don't really want to show up somewhere 20 minutes before the kitchen closes).

- Has a tasting menu.

- (Less critical) Has a good beer list (I'm not really a wine guy).

Price isn't much of a factor. I'm not really loaded, and I can't drop $100 on a glass of cognac, but I've got enough to splurge once or twice. So I'd rather pay more for top quality food.

Really, I'll entertain any suggestions. From my own research thus far, I'm inclined to consider the following places, so I welcome comments specific to them beyond any additional recommendations you might have:

Birch and Barley
Cafe Atlantico
China Poblano
CityZen
Minibar by Jose Andre (seemingly ideal, but I understand reservations are a nightmare)
Oyamel
Proof
Restaurant Eve
Rogue 24 (Is the 24 course menu worth it?)
Tabard Inn
Vermilion

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  1. I was going to suggest Birch and Barley - great food and wonderful beer pairings. 10-15 mins. walk from either McPherson Square (blue, orange) or U St. (green).

    Rogue 24 is wonderful. I recommend it, but not the 24 courses. I found that to be too much food and WAY too much alcohol (and I'm a big drinker/eater). I wrote more about my experience here:

    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/848496

    1. China Poblano is in Vegas and Cafe Atlantico is closed.

      I would do Birch and Barley, as recommended, and I think something different like the tasting menu at Rasika (there are two, now, so it should be easier to get a reservation).

      Vermillion is an excellent restaurant as well. Great service, too.

      Obelisk in Dupont has a strong following as well for its set menu (I've never been)

      1. I appreciate the couple of replies I've received so far.

        I should add that I'm willing to consider places that lack a tasting menu if they have a particularly good foie gras (or other duck) dish.

        1 Reply
        1. re: gprime

          For duck you need to go to Dino.. they have 4 or 5 duck dishes. Eola for offal in general.

        2. I would suggest Eola or Palena. The food at Eola is fun, interesting and absolutely delicious...and at $65 is the steal of the city IMO. Palena is a more formal and not quite as whimsical in terms of what's on the plate, but still excellent.

          Many of the others on your list fall into a very different price range, so from there it's probably just a matter of how much you are willing to spend.