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Dinner in DC with 23 and 10 year old

Hello. Looking for a suggestion for dinner on Friday night in DC with my 23 and 10 year old daughters.. Looking for someplace within walking distance of 20th and M. Right now, I have a reservation for Founding Farmers, but wondering if that's a good choice for the 10 year old. I've seen suggestions for Central and The Hamilton on other websites. The 10 year old loves mac and cheese. I can deal with lobster mac or good crab cakes!

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  1. Central has mac n cheese that is outstanding.

    1. Personally I wouldn't go to Founding Farmers. Central would be a good choice. I haven't had their mac and cheese but I have had their crab cake and it's delicious.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Elyssa

        Even though Founding Farmers is meh at best, it is, ironically, a good choice for a picky 10-year-old because of its big selection of comfort foods - rotisserie chicken, chicken pot pie, mac-and-cheese, burgers....

        The Hamilton is also a good choice for the same reason.

        Ris is high-end cuisine that is entirely inappropriate for a picky eater, except maybe the cheeseburger. The food at Firefly is really not very good. I had a dreadful meal there this past winter. And although they call it updated comfort food, it is definitely not a menu for this kid except that there is a mac-and-cheese side. Vidalia and Blue Duck Tavern - also not really the right kind of place.

        The food at Central is great and yes, there are numerous choices that this kid would probably eat but the style of preparation could be an issue for a picky kid. I have an image in my head of the kid looking at the dish and saying "what is this?" with great distrust, before even trying it.

        I haven't been to Tonic so I can't speak to the quality of the food but it sure looks like the perfect menu and perfect location for you.

        1. re: Just Visiting

          The mac n cheese at Central is perfectly recognizable. Although listed as a side dish, I doubt a 10 y.o. could finish it.

          1. re: Steve

            I agree. Also no where does this post say that the 10 year-old is a picky eater. Just that she loves mac and cheese. At 10 I was a very adventurous eater---but I still loved an amazing version of mac and cheese (hell I still enjoy that!).

            1. re: Elyssa

              Oops sorry---didn't see the parent posting below again saying the 10 year-old is picky.

              Well in that case I think the only restaurant mentioned with a kids menu (that I know of) is the Hamilton and Firefly.

            2. re: Steve

              I haven't tried it because it is a dish I don't care for, but as everything at Central is terrific, I wouldn't doubt that the mac-and-cheese is also great. I didn't say it wouldn't be recognizable, as might be the case with some of the clever faux dishes at Central. What I meant was that it may not look like her Mom's version, and now you've got a cranky kid in an fairly pricey restaurant ($9 for a side order of m-n-c), $18 for a plain burger).

          1. re: ipsedixit

            Cuttlefish stew.
            Beef heart tartare.
            Crispy pig ears.

            Yup. Sounds like just the ticket for a picky kid.

            1. re: Just Visiting

              As well as mac and cheese and a burger.

          2. Central is quite a long walk from 20th & M. I think Firefly might do the trick (it has mac and cheese on the kids menu), or your 10-yr-old fight find something else to her liking (latkes? chopped liver? corned beef?) at DGS Delicatessen. Ris is another possibility.

            1. Hank's Oyster Bar isn't that far from 20th and M. That could be a good option (seafood and mac and cheese).

              Another option would be Firefly as well---both girls might enjoy the decor.

              1. Thanks for your suggestions, everyone! I will check out the menus at the restaurants that you mentioned. My 10 year old is a very picky eater so unless it's food she sees on a kids' menu, she's not eating it!!

                1 Reply
                1. re: freshstart19

                  whoa, there's a topic for another thread. not eating it if not on the 'kid's menu'

                  hmm, no explaining sometimes it's the same food more or less just in different proportions?

                2. Vidala and Blue Duck Tavern are good. Check their menus though.

                  1. Tonic is 0.6 miles south of 20th and M and has mac & cheese, pizza, tater tots, etc. I like their food and there's more grown-up stuff too.

                    1. As the parent of almost-9-year-old twins, I can relate. One is a picky eater, one is more adventurous.

                      The baseline question I think you need to resolve is whether you want (1) a place that has a lot of things on the menu that your kid at least would recognize (Hamilton, Clyde's etc) or a place that has at least one thing on the menu that you know your kid would eat but more interesting stuff for the rest of the group.

                      Some of these places probably are not too concerned with the minor children demographic. Out in the burbs, you're more likely to get a kids menu even at places with more esoteric food.

                      1. Thanks for all of the additional replies. I am trying to cater to my youngest daughter's tastes. I'll have to check the metro map to see how she and I will get to any of these places. 20 & M is where my older daughter works. I'll be coming from the Air and Space Museum. It's my bday so I was looking for something that I would like as well!!

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: freshstart19

                          It'll cost you about $6 to jump in a cab to get to Central from Air and Space.

                        2. Firefly is very nice and has some fun things for kids like make your own cookie.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: moosy

                            I am wondering if my post-reno experience at Firefly - which was pretty much a parade of barely edible dishes for all three of us - was an anomaly. Three recommendations here...though with so many good restaurants in DC that are much surer bets, and given the intense noise level at Firefly, I'm not sure I want to try it again.

                            1. re: moosy

                              WARNING! THE KID'S MENU AT FIREFLY SAYS IT IS FOR 5-AND-UNDER ONLY.

                              There is a mac-and-cheese side on the regular menu but this is one of the lousy dishes one of my dinner companions ordered. It was gritty, the pasta was mushy, and it was over-salted. She took a couple of bites and abandoned the dish. Actually, that's pretty much the story of that entire meal. We all left hungry.

                            2. Thanks again for more replies. Central is not available on Friday night so we will definitely plan further again for our next trip down in July! A member of our party wants to try Founding Farmers and since we have the reservation, we'll keep it. You've given me choices for future trips. Thanks!