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Non-Romantic Valentine's Day Dinner Options


aurelgrooves
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i have an aquaintance coming to town from London. someone i don't know really well, much older than me.

they are being nominated for a Grammy (?), so let's say they might have good taste, some money. I would like to show off some good DC food.

however, it just so happens that saturday is valentine's day and so everywhere is all special menu with red roses and kisses and hearts. puke.

so, can someone recommend somewhere nice, but not too expensive (so in the case we split the bill, i'm not broke) and won't have us interlock arms while we drink champagne?

something that is DC (does that even exist?), a little unique? anywhere in NW that might have a table free next saturday?

thank you!

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You are so screwed!

If it's just two, you might consider eating at the bar of one of the more elegant spots around town -- showing up at opening time at Palena, for example. I just had a fine meal at Marcel's, but it wasn't cheap; I think the minimum is three courses is $55 and the place is not chock full of wine bargains. You might also consider the bar at Vidalia, the lounge at Citronelle and, most promising, perhaps, the bar at CityZen ($50 for three courses).

It might pay to eat early, though, given the inability to reserve. Plus, if your mate is flying in that day, 6:00 is 11:00 anyway...

Or, just say the heck with it and drag him to Moroni Brothers, the only El Salvadoran restaurant in the world that also has a wood-burning pizza oven (or is it the only high-end pizza place in the world that offers plantains and pupusas for apps?).

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The bars at CityZen and Vidalia are great suggestions. You may also want to consider the bar at Urbana - which is great all-around but certainly a bit more casual than the first two suggestions. It's not fancy or in NW DC, but I hear that Granville Moores is really tasty and unique. It's within walking distance to funky bars, too - in case you want to show this person around the H Street scene a bit.

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Not romantic? A&J. Story: last year I came home from work late, exhausted, freezing cold, and smelling like burnt rubber and hot brakes. Totally forgot it was Valentine's Day. Husband drove us over there and the place was freakin' mobbed. I've never seen a crowd like that there. We ended up sharing a five-top with another couple who were clearly bummed not to have a romantic little table to themselves, but thought it better than waiting an hour. We ate fast so they could canoodle without us.

It was the antithesis of romantic.

But seriously? I second the suggestion for Palena at opening time. They're cool.

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something that is DC (does that even exist?), a little unique? anywhere in NW that might have a table free next saturday?

thank you!

Definitely screwed. Trust me, I speak from 3 decades of experience here-finding a nonromantic spot on 2/14 is not easy or fun. That being said, if your dining companion is comfortable sitting at a bar you might see if you can do an omakase menu at Sushi Ko (glover park) or Kaz. Also, eating earlier rather than later will diminish the romantic factor somewhat.
You are so screwed!

If it's just two, you might consider eating at the bar of one of the more elegant spots around town -- showing up at opening time at Palena, for example. I just had a fine meal at Marcel's, but it wasn't cheap; I think the minimum is three courses is $55 and the place is not chock full of wine bargains. You might also consider the bar at Vidalia, the lounge at Citronelle and, most promising, perhaps, the bar at CityZen ($50 for three courses).

It might pay to eat early, though, given the inability to reserve. Plus, if your mate is flying in that day, 6:00 is 11:00 anyway...

If you are going to go the bar route check to make sure that the restaurant is serving at the bar. The past few years Palena has only offered the back room menu throughout the restaurant with reservations only.

There are restaurants who don't do a special menu but they are few and far between. Dining out for a nonromantic meal, especially as a two top, on Valentine's Day is just bizarre. We won't discuss the time my father was mistaken for my sugar daddy.

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but dining out for a nonromantic meal, especially as a two top, on Valentine's Day, is just bizarre. We won't discuss the time my father was mistaken for my sugar daddy.

Heh. That explains the reaction MrP and I got last year dining with a single very pretty lady friend, who wanted to get dinner before the show we were treating her to. What was that song from Cabaret...?

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I was discussing this subject with a friend yesterday, and she had an amusing story about attempting to find a place to get dinner with her brother one year on Valentine's Day. I'll skip the story, but they ended up finding a Chinese restaurant (don't know which one) that worked out.

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If you are going to go the bar route check to make sure that the restaurant is serving at the bar. The past few years Palena has only offered the back room menu throughout the restaurant with reservations only.
Good advice. Cityzen is not serving any food at the bar that night, but Citronelle Lounge is business as usual.
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