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30th birthday dinner in DC?

Need recommendations for dh's 30th birthday dinner in DC. He recently got a new job that is a great opportunity but is taking a pay cut, so we're not thinking anything too extravagant (ie, no Inn at Little Washington), but we'd like a nice meal to mark the occasion. We love Proof but have eaten there a lot; something similar would be ideal. I made a reservation at Mintwood but am having second thoughts because reviews make it sound very loud.

He has a peanut allergy so we steer clear of Asian food (sadly). He's not a fan of small plates restaurants.


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  1. Mintwood is wonderful. It can be loud depending on day/time of day (ie weekends are certainly louder than weeknights). You might like Cashion's Eat Place, next door from Mintwood (and you could always do dinner at Cashions and dessert at Mintwood since they have great desserts).

    1. Both Graffiato and Kapnos have VERY economical tasting menus and they will burry you in a huge variety of great food.

      Graffiato can be loud

      1 Reply
      1. re: Bart Hound

        The birthday boy is not a fan of small plates so unfortunately that would rule out Graffiato and Kapnos.

      2. Corduroy, Blue Duck Tavern, and Fiola/Fiola Mare merit your consideration.

        1. Make a trip to CityZen before Eric Ziebold leaves.

          2 Replies
          1. re: DanielK

            City Zen is great a bit higher priced. When is the current chef leaving

            1. re: knitone

              He hasn't said, but there were several stories a few weeks ago that he had signed papers to open his own place in 2015.

          2. Bourbon Steak. No small plates there.

            1. try Menu MBK's Kitchen menu. I haven't been this month -- the theme is "Mad Men" but I've been several times and it's always been terrific. I was disappointed in the last trip to Corduroy -- I think I'd give it a miss.

              1. Sorry to take so long to report back! (I have a newborn, so lots of things have fallen by the wayside.) Anyways, we did go to Mintwood Place at the end of August. I wasn't very happy with the experience, overall. Even though it was a weeknight, it was absolutely deafeningly loud in there. The servers had to yell and kept apologizing for not being able to hear us. We could barely hear each other, even though we were in the back corner of the restaurant, where it seemed like it might be quieter. The noise honestly made it difficult to enjoy the food.

                The food itself was decent, but not earthshattering, and especially not for the price. It was dh's birthday, so he chose the food: escargot hush puppies, calf's heart and collard salad, pork chop with spaetzle, striped bass with piperade, blueberry bread pudding and baked alaska. The calf's heart salad was very good, but the chunks of calf's heart were huge, which was a big oversight. The pork chop and striped bass were very good, but the desserts were a disappointment. The baked alaska, despite an impressive presentation, had a very dry cake center, and the sorbet or ice cream element was kind of an off note.

                I think we would have had a much different experience if we sat at one of the tables outside (it was a pleasant, warm evening), but despite having a reservation those tables were first-come, and the wait for them was 90 minutes.

                2 Replies
                1. re: cathjf

                  That's too bad that you had a disappointing experience. Mintwood Place is one of my favorite restaurants in DC and I have always had delicious food there (for dessert I prefer the brownie sundae...because why not!). But it is not a quiet restaurant---which was mentioned above by a few people when you were looking for recs.

                  I imagine you won't be returning any time soon, but their brunch is worth a try because I think it's one of the better brunch menus in the city.

                  1. re: Elyssa

                    @Elyssa: About the noise--fair enough! I did take a risk on the noise because I hoped a weeknight might be quieter, and some of the other places that were suggested were already booked. But I have to say, it was easily the noisiest restaurant experience I've ever had. And I just don't know that that's the best environment for enjoying a relatively refined meal, where you're spending almost $200 for dinner and drinks.