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nice restaurant for post-wedding meal (DC or Maryland suburbs)

My fiance and I are having a VERY small wedding ceremony (10-15 guests) and my wonderful mom has offered to take everyone out for a nice meal afterwards. Money isn't an issue at this point - we'll worry about that when narrowing down our options. We're looking for something in DC or the Maryland suburbs. Also, my fiance's mom isn't very adventurous when it comes to food, so we'd like to stick to Americanish cuisine.

Finally, stupid question, but we'd probably want to bring a cake, do restaurants allow that?

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  1. A few questions to better help, since I recently tried to find a place for 17 people:

    Will the total number of persons at the restaurant be 12 - 17 (guests plus spouses)? All adults? What day of week and time of day? Do you want a private room (which tend to require a minimum in the $1500 or so range)? If not a private room, do you want everyone seated at the same table or just in proximity to one another?

    Here’s why I am asking these questions. I ask about numbers and table situations because most places I contacted had a table size limit of anywhere from 8 to 14. I had a lot of kids to plan for which was a major factor for us. Private rooms are nice, and many places have them even though they don’t publicize as such, but they require minimum total food (or food +beverage) costs. I found that some restaurants are more flexible during their less busy times.

    I ended up making a reservation at The Hamilton based on this board’s recommendations. Our event is next month so I can’t report back yet. Carmine’s was also suggested.

    2 Replies
    1. re: KeithW

      thanks for the reply. the most likely number is 13, one of those being an infant who won't be eating, one toddler, and two teenagers. the other 9 are adults. Definitely don't need a private room, all seated at one table would be ideal, but seated in proximity to one other would be OK too.

      We aren't 100% sure on the time of the week or day yet. Most likely will be a weekend dinner though.

      1. re: blue_the_puppy

        In addition to The Hamilton and Carmines, interesting suggestions were Old Ebbitt Grill, Clydes, and Ardeo (upstairs room, specifically). Two people mentioned Chef Geoff's but I ruled it out after a quick walk-through; just didn't get a good feeling about if for some reason, even though I'd been there years ago.

        I thought the not-yet-opened Farmers Fishers Bakers sounded interesting, but note that this is by the Founding Farmers group and Founding Farmers gets mixed reviews (that lean negative) on this board.

        Also, I love Blacksalt (seafood) but it wasn't a good fit for our group.

        Here's my old thread in case that helps -- I was looking in DC or VA only:

        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/865917

    2. Some restaurants do allow you to bring a cake for a special occasion, but you need to tell them ahead of time and be prepared to be charged a plating fee.

      You don't seem too concerned about a private room but really it would be so much nicer and quieter.

      As for specific options:

      Ray's the Classics in Silver Spring has a private dining room but parking has become a serious hassle because you can't use the lot behind the restaurant anymore.

      Cafe Deluxe in Bethesda - def Americanish food. Can be very noisy and no private dining room.

      Personally I think the suggestion of Ardeo Bardeo is just about perfect. Great food, reasonable prices, sit upstairs. The only issue is going to be parking but IIRC they have valet.

      If you can expand your options to NoVa, then I'd also include Willow in Ballston. Great food, reasonable prices, private room.

      If you go onto Open Table you can find a long list of restaurants with private dining rooms. One that jumps out at me is Firefly in Dupont Circle.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Just Visiting

        Actually, the outdoor lot behind Ray's The Classics is still available for free parking after 5:30 pm daily. If there is a function at the Fillmore, in which case there is an attendant charging $10, just tell them that you are dining at Ray's and there is no charge.

      2. Restaurants will likely allow you to bring a cake but you might need to pay a platting fee.

        For a really special experience I would head over to Equinox and dine in the private wine room. We had a special occasion there a number of years ago and everything from the food to the service was amazing. I'm sure Chef Gray and the staff there would be open to working with you to create a menu your whole family would be happy with. You can also swing by the White House before or after and take pictures!

        Another fun option would be to get the private room at Central. A totally different vibe but the food is a delicious fusion of French bistro (think mussels, pates, steak frites) and American favorites (amazing burgers, short ribs, ice cream sundaes etc).

        Congrats on the wedding!

        1. if they'll do Italian, Dino has a nice private room and good food. You can search on opentable for places with private rooms. Gordon Biersch has one, too.

          1. I forgot to mention District Commons. I would consider that another excellent option.