I don't think they're avoiding you. There are some areas closer in, like Ballston, that are completely devoid of such establishments (save the recent addition of Willow, but from what I read here, that place is a mixed bag). The major restaurants in Ballston are IHOP, Flat Top Grill, Rio Grande, Tara Thai, and a Chevy's, which is fairly close to the options to have in your area. I think that most of Arlington (specifically, the Wilson blvd. corridor) is like this, devoid of quality, chef-driven restaurants, saved only by Ray's and Tallula. Even Adams Morgan, with the exception of Cashion's, doesn't appear to have a lot going on in the good restaurant department.
It seems, for better or worse, that these types of restaurants open up in specific neighborhoods known to be part of the dining and entertainment scene: Penn Quarter, Dupont, Georgetown, and "Downtown," for instance. Even then, many of these are owned by "restaurant groups" or hotels, so they're not exactly "Mom & Pop" places, but many of them benefit from having a strong, dedicated chef at the helm instead of an accountant.
That doesn't directly answer your question, or diminish your plight, but it does show that this issue isn't strictly limited to the outlying suburbs.
Edited by Capital Icebox, 17 November 2005 - 09:37 AM.