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Nov 4, 2013 07:09 AM

Funky wine, innovative food, intimate setting recommendations?


I'm planning a birthday dinner. Looking for a place with an interesting and perhaps weird wine list, natural wines, unusual origins, maybe some orange wine, innovative food, and a place that's intimate and not stuffy. Places I've loved include Degustation and WD-50. If you know DC food, what I crave is something like Komi. Tasting menu would be great, with wine pairings even better, but neither is required. Not EMP expensive, but otherwise spendy is ok.


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  1. EMP is now $225pp so most places are cheaper than that!

    Can you be more specific? Or is that your actual budget ceiling? Is this for two people?

    I think you would like Pearl & Ash but it's probably too casual for a birthday dinner. No tasting menu, but small plates, innovative, not stuffy at all, very loud and hip, but lots of fun.

    1 Reply
    1. re: kathryn

      Great point! Maybe $150 PP max?

    2. Not EMP expensive, but of the same quality - The NoMad? Very elegant and appropriate for a birthday dinner. The wine list may not be exactly funky or weird, but it's comprehensive. Cocktails are great, too.

      I've found some offtbeat Italian wines at the Dell'Anima restaurants, including orange wines. L'Apicio is the biggest of the bunch, though L'Artusi and Dell'Anima would likely accommodate your party as well. Charlie Bird also has a good wine list.

      1 Reply
      1. re: zeeEats

        If you're making a weekend of it, the Dell'anima folks have a wine bar next door called Anfora.

      2. I may get roasted for this, but Hearth could work. I think the food is great, and its a pretty interesting wine list. Reviewed last week in the NYT if you want to read about it.

        1. You may want to look at corkbuzz, its a wine bar with food that was opened by the first female master sommelier in the US- the wine list has an excellent selection of by the glass and the menu was developed as wine friendly. Lots of small plates with entrees as well.

          Casa mono has a very comprehensive wine list, all from the different regions of spain and includes many that are hard to find.

          7 Replies
          1. re: Ttrockwood

            An aside: Laura Maniec is not the first female MS in the US. She got hers in 09. There were more before her, including the first, Madeline Triffon in 87

            1. re: thegforceny

              Oh- sorry, apparently the article i read was wrong....

            2. re: Ttrockwood

              Casa Mono is intimate only if you define intimacy as being real close with your neighboring tables...

              1. re: kathryn

                Ha ha. That is very true. Although the food and wines are quite good. Not sure Casa Mono would work well for a group larger than 4 as the space is so tight.

                1. re: zeeEats

                  The OP didn't specify the number of people- the front corner table would be the best, but yes it is "cozy"

                  1. re: zeeEats

                    Intimate birthday dinner with tasting menu usually screams two-top, don't you think?

                    1. re: kathryn

                      No idea - "planning a birthday dinner" sounded like a multiperson event to me right off the bat. But I can see what you mean.

              2. Not sure what you mean exactly by "funky" but you could do a lot worse than Rouge Tomate.