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Jul 20, 2012 03:30 PM

LA Chow gets one nice meal in DC area...City Zen or Marcel's?

I grew up in NoVa, haven't spent too much time in the area since I moved away for college/career/etc. I live in LA. My mom eats out a lot and loves food but doesn't like to spend too much in one restaurant. To honor my upcoming visit I am granted one pricey meal. Her foodie coworker sent me a list of suggestions and based on the the menus, I'm thinking either City Zen or Marcel's. Thoughts?

Random note- I have already been to the Inn at Little Washington, but I think that is outside my mom's price comfort.

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  1. Between those two, I would choose CityZen. It's more of a foodie destination than Marcel's.

    Don't get me wrong - I adore Marcel's, and I think it's the best "special occasion" restaurant in town - romantic, perfect service, excellent food. But they're all about executing the classics to perfection, while CityZen is far more modern.

    1. I wouldn't choose either. I'd go for Vidalia.

      If you want cutting edge, then Rogue 24 over CityZen.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Steve

        I think City Zen is a good choice. Rogue 24 is a fair bit more expensive than City Zen, and IMO Vidalia isn't better.

        1. re: Doh

          Tuesday thru Thursday - at least- Rogue 24 does 8 courses for a reduced price. Maybe the OP (or others) are not aware of this.

        2. re: Steve

          OP didn't ask which downtown restaurants they would like more than CZ or Marcel's. They said they'd been given a bunch of recommendations, chose those two based on menu, and wanted our help in breaking the tie. Plus, if IALW is out based on price, so is Rogue.

          I could name 20 more restaurants that the OP might also like, but between those two, I'd choose CZ for a foodie experience with mom, or Marcel's for a romantic experience with a +1.

          1. re: DanielK

            If the OP is considering such disparate cuisines as Marcel's and CityZen, then I am wondering if Rogue24 has been considered.

            Dinner at IALW is $188 on the weekends. Only $110 for 16 courses at R24. Quite a difference.

            I also mention Vidalia because it is a cuisine the OP can't get in LA.

            1. re: Steve

              Thanks everyone!!! I will check out the Rogue24 and Vidalia menus too. Leaning towards CZ.

        3. Checked out rogue24- I don't think my mom would like it. She doesn't eat any seafood or organ meat. Vidalia's menu looks yummy but I've always wanted to try CZ. Thanks everyone!

          1 Reply
          1. re: sarahbeths

            Following up, I loved City Zen!!!! Thank you for the recommendation. All of the food was excellent and much better than I usually eat when visiting Mom. I had the 4 course tasting with foie gras supplement, butter poached lobster supplement, Poussin for two, and the cake and ice cream for dessert. The foie was satisfying, the lobster a flavorful and fanciful dish with the coconut curry and marcona almonds, the chicken dish was one of the best chicken dishes I have ever had, a lot of textures and techniques in that one plate. I rarely order chicken, it's not a favorite protein, but the other two meat choices were veal and rabbit which I don't eat, so I was surprised to enjoy it that much. The mini Parker Rolls which came with were HEAVENLY. I could eat those forever. The dessert was beautiful and tasty.

            There were many nice touches to the service- because I said it was my bday on the reservation I received a card, an extra small dessert plate with Happy Birthday written w/ a small canéle and Yuzu lollilop, and a round of Moscato with dessert. Classy stuff. Incidentally they also comped a round of wine because my mom's cocktail had a black mystery speck floating on top. (it was remade, and we each got a free drink for it which was above& beyond.) And pleasantly suprised that the Valet parking was comped/free. All in all a fab meal!