When I was in college, friends and I would go to restaurants to find their 'menu weakness': the one dish that is way underpriced and provided a great value to eat well for very little money.
Sometimes this would be an appetizer that ate like a main dish. They are getting harder and harder to find these days, especially in DC.
Lyon Hall in Arlington has my favorite at the moment. Listed as a side dish, their 'kraut garnie' is an Alsatian classic and is as good as food gets. Such a glorious mixture of flavors. There may be no such thing as the 'ideal version' of this dish - with saurkraut, potato, bacon, and sausage- but this might come under consideration. Add the warm pretzels (they serve enough for two people) and you have an entire, filling meal.
IF you are dining for two, all you'd have to do is add the ridiculously delicious pickled vegetables. This is a hearty, copious dish of crunchy vegetables at the perfect texture. Astonishing stuff.
Kraut Garnie, $8
Pickled Vegetables, $6 ($3 happy hour, until 7pm)
Soft Pretzels, $9 ($5 happy hour, until 7pm)
So dinner for 2, before 7pm, $16 to eat some really fantastic food.
Do you have any others 'menu weaknesses' that you'd like to share?
Steve, this is a great idea for a thread. I suspect some people might keep their favorites hidden, but I hope some will be shared.
Down in Rehoboth Beach, there's a very popular place called Big Fish Grill on Route 1. Always packed. Food is good, plentiful, fairly priced. We go there every summer, and I have not ordered an entree in years. The reason is their salads are huge. For example, the "Wedge" with tomato, bacon, and gorgonzola is all of $5.95, and is absolutely meal sized. If you weren't sure you'd get filled up, you could splurge on a side for $3.
I love that place!
the pupusas at Judy Restaurant on 14th St. NW are only $2 each and I think two make a filling meal, since it comes with chips, salsa, and curtido. Tamales are only $2.50 each, and if you want to splurge the guacamole or the platanos fritos are each $5.
I'm a big fan of Willow in Ballston, but their entrees are too pricey(many in the $30+ range). However, if you sit in the bar area which has regular tables/chairs, they have a Nosh menu where each of the small plates, excluding the flatbreads, costs from $4 to $14. I can stuff myself on the nosh menu for $25. This is compared with getting a pricy appetizer/entree combo in the main dining room where I am out $45-$50.