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Former DC Resident in Town for MLK Weekend


bettyjoan
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Hello all! I'm planning my first trip back to DC (since moving to ATL in May 2008), and I'm soliciting advice about my restaurant itinerary. I definitely want to visit old favorites, but I also want to hit any worthwhile places that were NOT open when I left the city.

I'll be arriving on Friday 1/16, and that night I definitely want to go to Proof (my old fave). Any recommendations for bars in that general vicinity where it would be fun to gather after dinner? We'll probably have about 20 people meeting us.

On Saturday the 17th and most of Sunday the 18th, I'll be in the city itself (staying near Van Ness). Then, from Sunday night through my departure on Tuesday AM (hopefully before any major inauguration craziness), I'll be in the Pentagon City area. I would really like to get a Hell Burger while I'm in Arlington, but other than that, I can't think of any new places that are musts.

Thanks for all of your help!

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Yes, I understand that crowds will be larger than normal, even long before the actual inauguration. However, it was my understanding that the whole "stay open late" thing was optional, and that it would be affecting bars and clubs more than restaurants.

I guess I'm just wondering, are there any new and exciting places I should put on my must-eat list? It's going to be my job, then, to call and inquire about any inauguration-related abnormalities (i.e., extended hours, places being closed for private parties, etc.).

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Why not stay at Proof?

My guess is that the bar at Proof on a Friday night will be a bit tight for 20 people, especially on inaugWeekend. If you can't find room at Poste (nice, but the bar might be a bit tight) or Fado (a good option, lots of nooks), RFD is a fallback. Regardless of the problems with the place, it is plenty large and there are a wide range of drafts to choose from. To be honest, I would get out of Penn Quarter after dinner and find some space in a more relaxed neighborhood, but that's just me.

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Again, I understand that crowds are going to be nutty. My questions were, 1) Are there any good bars in Penn Quarter for 20 people, and 2) Are there any new (since May), must-try restaurants?

RFD is the best suggestion, I think, for the first question--though I also like the idea of getting out of Penn Quarter. U Street is my old stomping ground, so maybe we'll head back there (though I don't think it'll be any less crowded). We're just going to have to be patient, I think. We'll order 2 drinks at a time when we make it up to the bar, and we'll be in cheery moods before you know it.

Is Corduroy REALLY the only suggestion for the second inquiry? I loved it when I visited a couple of years ago, and I've heard that the new location is lovely, but I really thought some other cool new places had opened. Maybe not, but I'll try one more time--thoughts? Don't worry about pondering where the crowds will be. They will be everywhere.

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Again, I understand that crowds are going to be nutty. My questions were, 1) Are there any good bars in Penn Quarter for 20 people, and 2) Are there any new (since May), must-try restaurants?

RFD is the best suggestion, I think, for the first question--though I also like the idea of getting out of Penn Quarter. U Street is my old stomping ground, so maybe we'll head back there (though I don't think it'll be any less crowded). We're just going to have to be patient, I think. We'll order 2 drinks at a time when we make it up to the bar, and we'll be in cheery moods before you know it.

Is Corduroy REALLY the only suggestion for the second inquiry? I loved it when I visited a couple of years ago, and I've heard that the new location is lovely, but I really thought some other cool new places had opened. Maybe not, but I'll try one more time--thoughts? Don't worry about pondering where the crowds will be. They will be everywhere.

Yeah, U Street might be a better idea: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YpTvkYBxa3Q

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I'm getting really frustrated here. I don't know how many more ways I can say it--I UNDERSTAND that it's going to be nutso in DC, and I UNDERSTAND that we're going to do a lot of waiting and pushing and fighting the crowds. But is the negativity really necessary? I said in my last response that I didn't think U Street would be any better than Penn Quarter, so a link to the election night celebrations and a sarcastic statement just come off as snitty and unhelpful.

Ferment Everything, thank you for the Commonweath suggestion.

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Hello all! I'm planning my first trip back to DC (since moving to ATL in May 2008), and I'm soliciting advice about my restaurant itinerary. I definitely want to visit old favorites, but I also want to hit any worthwhile places that were NOT open when I left the city.

I'll be arriving on Friday 1/16, and that night I definitely want to go to Proof (my old fave). Any recommendations for bars in that general vicinity where it would be fun to gather after dinner? We'll probably have about 20 people meeting us.

On Saturday the 17th and most of Sunday the 18th, I'll be in the city itself (staying near Van Ness). Then, from Sunday night through my departure on Tuesday AM (hopefully before any major inauguration craziness), I'll be in the Pentagon City area. I would really like to get a Hell Burger while I'm in Arlington, but other than that, I can't think of any new places that are musts.

Thanks for all of your help!

I'll assume you're aware of crowds, and list some places that have opened recently: Black Squirrel, Enology Wine Bar, Corduroy, Co Co Sala, Pete's Apizza, Darlington House, TangySweet, Commonwealth, Nando's, Ray's Hell Burger, Good Stuff Eatery, Volt, Art and Soul, Hello Cupcake, Surfside, and Adour. That should keep you busy!

Cheers,

Rocks.

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Sigh. That linked article (which, like ALL articles published thus far relating to inauguration weekend, I have read, contrary to the prevailing thought on this thread) relates to transportation. It does not address any new and interesting restaurants in DC, which was the primary goal of my post--to find out where I should head to try DC's most recent (and tastiest) dining scene additions.

I asked the same question multiple times because I wasn't getting the answer I was looking for. Instead of restaurant recommendations, I got warnings about inauguration crowds. Thankfully, DonRocks has provided me with a very comprehensive list, and I look forward to getting to as many of those new places as I possibly can.

I hope those of you who are staying in town for inauguration can find a way to have a good time--I understand that boatloads of tourists invading the city is always a scary prospect, but if residents and business owners are hospitable and gracious, folks will keep coming back long after the historic occasion of 1/20/09 (which, no matter what you say, is a very good thing).

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I think you should avoid the trendy neighborhoods altogether and stake out either The Red Derby or The Raven (Mt. Pleasant Street). There ain't a tourist in the world that's heard of either spot and their dive-y qualities will be a fine contrast to the champagne and ball gown crowd filling up the pricier places. The Raven is where Pearl Jam hang out when they're in town, though some say that it's lost a bot of its charm since the smoking ban took effect.

And -- metro accessible.

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which was the primary goal of my post--to find out where I should head to try DC's most recent (and tastiest) dining scene additions.
Or you could... peruse the Dining Guide - something I recommend to everyone. It has always been my go to when I am thinking geographically. Anything new should be on there, and you would be able to recognize the new names.

But aside from that... I like the bar at Rasika on Weds-Sat when Jason is there. I like the seating there though it might be a clusterf***.

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Synesthaesia, I, too, love the bar at Rasika--it's a little small, though, so you're right that it may be a cluster-you-know-what. :P

I did peruse the Dining Guide, but I thought that personal recommendations might narrow the list a bit. And lizzie, thanks for your suggestion--must have missed it before!

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I'm getting really frustrated here. I don't know how many more ways I can say it--I UNDERSTAND that it's going to be nutso in DC, and I UNDERSTAND that we're going to do a lot of waiting and pushing and fighting the crowds. But is the negativity really necessary? I said in my last response that I didn't think U Street would be any better than Penn Quarter, so a link to the election night celebrations and a sarcastic statement just come off as snitty and unhelpful.

Bettyjoan, I was just at home in DC after having moved away in May of 2007. I was wondering about new bars/restaurants that have opened up since I left. So I was VERY excited when I saw this thread because it is exactly the info I was looking for. But then I read the responses......

I just wanted to say that while reading through the various replies, I also got VERY frustrated with the amazing lack of direct responses to bettyjoan's question. So..... I am now posting to 1) publicly show support for bettyjoan's position and feeling and 2) to remind the DR faithful that many people (other than the person actually posting the question) rely on these threads and the experience and valued opinion of DR members to direct us readers to new and exciting gastronomic delights. So it would have been nice for people respond in helpful ways--like Rocks and Lizzie and Waitman did.

If you don't feel like sharing, that is totally fine. But to lecture about crowd size when the real (same) question was clearly about new restaurants is frustrating for other readers as well as the original poster. We (people who have moved away; new, wanna-be foodies; new residents in the city; and the many readers-but-not posters) value your opinions and your experiences. Us soliciting your advice should be seen as a flattering show of respect and appreciation and not an attempt to annoy you.

And bettyjoan, I guess if we ask this type of question again, now we know to omit the time period in which we will be going out. Because I suppose if we wanted a good new restaurant on New Year's Eve or Valentine's Day, we would probably get the same unhelpful and snarky responses. :P

Just my $0.02.......

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Hello all! I'm planning my first trip back to DC (since moving to ATL in May 2008), and I'm soliciting advice about my restaurant itinerary. I definitely want to visit old favorites, but I also want to hit any worthwhile places that were NOT open when I left the city.

Now, (stepping off of my soapbox...) in answer to your original question. When I asked a friend in DC the same question, she highly recommended

Nicaro

8229 Georgia Ave.

Silver Spring/Takoma Park, MD 20910

Phone: 301-588-2867

I have not personally been there yet. bUt my friend lives in downtown Silver Spring and she goes to Nicaro about once or twice a month. She LOVES it. And she swears by the Sunday brunch. ....especially if you like Southern cooking. So I would say that they are definitely worth checking out.

Happy dining!!

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Since you'll be in Pentagon City, maybe some spots in Alexandria are options for the last few days of your stay. I'm not sure if you'd be able to get a reservation, but Nana's Sunday Dinner at Majestic is always a nice way to enjoy a meal with friends. And if you didn't make it to Bastille before you left town, it's a cozy, friendly spot for (reasonably-priced) modern versions of traditional French dishes. Bar Baudelaire, upstairs from Le Gaulois on King Street, is also a decent spot to meet up with a larger group of friends and has a nice small plates menu available (along with the full menu). None of these places are new since you moved, but might be options when you're staying in Virginia.

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now we know to omit the time period in which we will be going out.

I dunno about other people, but the time frame would affect my responses - you know, "What's a good place to have Christmas Eve dinner?" is a VERY different question than "What's a good place to have a fancy french dinner on j random Saturday night in the spring?" And the truth is, advising someone to go to places that will NOT be at their best due to crowds, specials events, etc, is not helpful.

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In terms of new places that have opened since May, you've got plenty of good options. Just a few:

Ben's Next Door - right where you'd expect it to be on U Street and featuring Chef Rock Harper (winner of Hell's Kitchen season 2)

Matchbox on Barracks Row - same menu, second location

Founding Farmers - likely to be a bit crazy but they've got a lot of space and they're making some very good cocktails at the bar

Bourbon Steak - Michael Mina's new place in Georgetown

In the Pentagon City area, you might also think about checking out the new Fyve in the Ritz Carlton right there or the Liberty Tavern in Arlington. There's also Domaso Trattoria in Rosslyn and Jackson 20 in Old Town - both of which are Kimpton property restaurants like Poste and Urbana.

Not sure if all of these are new since you left, but they're worth checking out if you haven't yet.

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Thanks for asking! I had a great time. Friday night dinner at Proof was spectacular, and I also enjoyed my inaugural (pun intended) trip to Ray's Hell Burger on Sunday night. Saturday afternoon I went to Pizzeria Paradiso, expecting it to be a madhouse, but we were seated immediately and had a great lunch. The rest of the time, we cooked in.

I went to Wonderland Ballroom for my 20-people get-together, and it was pretty darn crowded--but it was fun. And, as luck would have it, only about 5 of my friends actually showed up, the others citing the cold as their reason for wimping out. Amateurs. :P

We also hit the Reef and Napoleon in Adams Morgan on Saturday night, and while both places were chock full of revelers, everyone was in a really good mood and people were pleasant and understanding of the extra time it was taking to get drink refills. Overall, even though the city got busier and busier as the days wore on, I found that the atmosphere was contagiously joyous.

A successful trip, no doubt. Hope you all had a great weekend, too!

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