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Mar 25, 2013 09:15 AM

Dinner with kids but dont want a chain

NY CH here, coming to DC with the fam next weekend. Kids are 10 and 6. Decent eaters but deep ethnic wont work. Meaning Thai, Indian....wont cut it.
However, great burgers, mexican, steaks, italian...will certainly work. Also any decent places in China town worth traveling too? We are staying at the Mariott Courtyard on 900 F Street, NW

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  1. Fogo de Chao, Carmines, and Capital Grill are all solid chain options, but you don't want chains. Matchbox is a local pizza/burger chain, but it can be hit or miss, and the Chinablock shop is notoriously crowded. Acadiana is good cajun/creole, but a little more upscale. Graffiato is the new Italian on the block. Good food but occasionally deafening. Would they be able to handle French bistro fare? Bistro D'oc across from Ford's Theater does pretty good steak frites. Austin Grill is around the corner, but it's comparable to what you'd find at Chi-Chis.

    2 Replies
    1. re: monkeyrotica

      < Austin Grill is around the corner, but it's comparable to what you'd find at Chi-Chis.>

      And the Austin Grill was such a good restaurant when it was new in town back in the '80s.

      1. re: Jay F

        Yep. That's when Ann Cashion ran the kitchen. We started going to the Alexandria location when we moved here in 1990, and we had lived in Austin. The AG at that time was just like great TexMex restaurants we loved in Austin. It has saddened me to see the decline.

    2. 2 Amy's is a haven for families desiring Neapolitan pizza and really good desserts.

      1. I will second the the recs for both Matchbox (Chinatown) and 2 Amys, although 2 Amys is a bit out of the way if you're staying at the Courtyard Marriott.

        And I know you said no ethnic, but you should check out Nando's, which makes a great roast chicken and some kick-ass mashed potatoes. It's close by in Chinatown near your hotel.

        Lastly, if by "decent places in China town" you mean actual Chinese restaurants as opposed to just a restaurant in general (like Matchbox), then the answer is NO.

        3 Replies
        1. re: ipsedixit

          China Boy actually does some excellent noodle dishes, but the place is miniscule and little on the seedy side.

          1. re: monkeyrotica

            While I don't disagree with you monkeyrotica, I hesitated to mention China Boy given that the OP is coming from NYC, where even some of the most pedestrian noodle shops in Manhattan's chinatown would put China Boy to shame. And don't even get me started on Flushing's chinatown ...

          2. re: ipsedixit

            I second Nando's and Matchbox. Also, my kids really enjoy tapas at Jaleo in that neighborhood.

          3. Just booked a table at Matchbox. Looked awesome. Had to pass on the Pizza as we have a ton of that in NYC. Thinking of booking at Jaleo as well. We have a bunch of those chicken places here as well. Thanks so much for the help.

            3 Replies
            1. re: princeofpork3

              Jaleo is cool, you might also check Zaytinya's menu (which changes all the time by season, but stays sort of the same) it's another of Andres' places.

              1. re: hill food

                We went to Zaytinia's last night. We have a six year old. It was fine for him. He has a peanut allergy and they were very good at accommodating us. Noisy acoustics which makes it easy to include kids. The cocktails were fine, the food uneven. Baba Ghannouge was lovely with pomegranate seeds. Tabouleh was quite salty. Avgotaraho was very lackluster. It was convenient to our location. But the less than friendly greeters and uneven food left us feeling meh about the overall experience.

                1. re: amyleechen

                  it IS a noisy room, and can be hit or miss. have loved it one time and hated the next and then loved it again.

            2. Would you consider the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian's Mitsitam Native Foods Cafe?
              SOUNDS ethnic but is very appealing.
              Current menu at: