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Birthday dinner near DC Convention Center?

We will be in DC for my son's 17th birthday. We are happy omnivores and are flexible about cost but would prefer a relaxing atmosphere. By "relaxing," I don't mean TGIFriday's, but we don't want to feel intimidated by our surroundings. Any thoughts?

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  1. I adore Corduroy. I would call the atmosphere serene - it's not ridiculously loud and boisterous, and not whisper quiet. Right across the street from the Convention Center.

    4 Replies
    1. re: DanielK

      +1 for Corduroy

      1. re: dcandohio

        While I really like Corduroy, I wonder if a 1 year old's celebration might be more fun at a place like Aggain. Corduroy may be a little too serene.

        1. re: IEatMyVeggies

          ^ You know it's a 17 year old and not a 1 year old, right? I think Corduroy would be really nice for a special 17 year old's birthday.

          1. re: IEatMyVeggies

            I love Corduroy as well but if I was 17 I'm not sure how into it I would be. They don't play any music, it's very serene but also a very adult environment.

            Instead I would recommend heading a little past the Convention Center towards Gallery Place/Chinatown (not far at all) and checking out PS7, Graffiato, or Acadiana.

            If you are willing to venture out of that area all together you might like Mintwood Place or Cashion's Eat Place.

      2. If you're willing to try out Penn Quarter (just south of the Convention Center), I like Cedar. It's underground, which is a bit odd, but the walls are covered with wallpaper that simulates being in a forest, and it never feels like a cave. The food is very good and not at all pretentious.

        1. I like Againn as a recommendation for a 17 y.o. old. There is also Brasserie Beck.

          4 Replies
          1. re: spider

            Againn's menu is mediocre on a good day.

            I do like Brasserie Beck as well, but the noise level is like being at a rock concert.

            1. re: DanielK

              Brasserie Beck is noisy. The food is very good, but since this is a birthday dinner for a 17 y.o., he can't partake of the best thing about Brasserie Beck, the Belgian beer.

              Againn is tired and only mediocre.

              Cedar is quite nice, and if they know it is his birthday they will definitely treat him well. It is definitely relaxed and my twenty something son and nephew really like it. The food is outstanding.

              Corduroy is sophisticated, not overly stuffy, and has fantastic food.

              1. re: dinwiddie

                This is the latest Chowhound discussion I can find on Corduroy at the moment. We will be going as a group (group is on the loud side so luckily, we have one of the private rooms since we might otherwise shake the serenity) on the day after Thanksgiving. Wondering what the favorite dishes were and about the wine-pricey list I hear? Incidentally if anyone sees this, Corduroy was recommended by our kids' 20 something friends who think is reasonable compared to other good places with very good food. So I guess it is serene but good for a special dinner if you are younger too.

            2. re: spider

              Againn is not the restaurant it used to be. It has gone way downhill, and a new chef from Scotland has not helped any. It is just about the worst value in town. I had a smoked haddock that was rubbery and hard to cut with a knife. Expensive to boot. In Cornwall, this is an inexpensive and delicious breakfast dish. Our other two dinners were 'eh' and expensive.

            3. Thanks everyone! Those are great suggestions.