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Three dinners, more than 3 options. What's a person to do?


Alex
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Ms. Alex and I will be in DC later this summer, and we're considering our dinner options for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. We've been to DC numerous times (and, of course, make use of Don's Restaurant Guide), but we always can use some advice.

We're not looking for a bargain per se (although we wouldn't say no), but don't want to spend an outrageous amount (as in CityZen's regular menu or Minibar), either. Here are the places we're considering: Proof (possibly the tasting menu); Palena (probably the café menu); CityZen (the bar menu); Rasika; La Chaumière; Circle Bistro. One possible solution is to go to Proof, Rasika, and La Chaumière for lunch and the other three for dinner, but that might depend on where we are at that time of day. Anyhow, here are my questions:

1) What do you think of those options? (We've been to Palena and Circle Bistro before and would gladly go again.) Do you have other suggestions of the don't-miss type? Any place within reasonable walking distance from a subway or bus stop would be OK.

2) I haven't been to Palena in several years. Is the cafe still at the very front of the restaurant, with no reservations accepted? By what time should we arrive to avoid a wait?

3) Is the bar menu at CityZen still "a steal," as Don says in the Guide? Ditto the arrival time question.

Thanks.

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Ms. Alex and I will be in DC later this summer, and we're considering our dinner options for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. We've been to DC numerous times (and, of course, make use of Don's Restaurant Guide), but we always can use some advice.

We're not looking for a bargain per se (although we wouldn't say no), but don't want to spend an outrageous amount (as in CityZen's regular menu or Minibar), either. Here are the places we're considering: Proof (possibly the tasting menu); Palena (probably the café menu); CityZen (the bar menu); Rasika; La Chaumière; Circle Bistro. One possible solution is to go to Proof, Rasika, and La Chaumière for lunch and the other three for dinner, but that might depend on where we are at that time of day. Anyhow, here are my questions:

1) What do you think of those options? (We've been to Palena and Circle Bistro before and would gladly go again.) Do you have other suggestions of the don't-miss type? Any place within reasonable walking distance from a subway or bus stop would be OK.

2) I haven't been to Palena in several years. Is the cafe still at the very front of the restaurant, with no reservations accepted? By what time should we arrive to avoid a wait?

3) Is the bar menu at CityZen still "a steal," as Don says in the Guide? Ditto the arrival time question.

Thanks.

Vidalia's lunch menu (19.90 for three courses) should be on your list.

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Vidalia's lunch menu (19.90 for three courses) should be on your list.

Thank you; that looks wonderful. Ms. Alex is a big fan of Southern-influenced cooking. Do I assume correctly that the servings on the three-course tasting menu are smaller versions of the ones on the à la carte menu?

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Thank you; that looks wonderful. Ms. Alex is a big fan of Southern-influenced cooking. Do I assume correctly that the servings on the three-course tasting menu are smaller versions of the ones on the à la carte menu?

Yes, the portions are smaller. I can't honestly say that there's a ton of Southern influence in most of the cooking these days, unless you consider a general obsession with pork products southern. But, whatever it is, it's a great deal.

I love La Chaumiere but, given my druthers, I might do it for dinner as it isn't light eating.

Nothing against the cafe at Palena or Circle Bistro, but for a nice casual meal I might try Brasserie Beck instead, particularly if you've a yen for good Belgian beer. And, speaking of beer, Commonwealth makes for a nice trip outside the Tourist Zone you are in the mood for British brew and /or some general -- if hipster-oriented -- bar-hopping afterwards: The Raven, the Red Derby, Wonderland, the Looking Glass Lounge are all nearby. It keeps you young. Both Beck and Commonwealth are well-regarded for their food, as well.

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Thank you; that looks wonderful. Ms. Alex is a big fan of Southern-influenced cooking. Do I assume correctly that the servings on the three-course tasting menu are smaller versions of the ones on the à la carte menu?

I suggest reading the topic dedicated to Vidalia where plenty of DR members provide feedback that answers your question. There's more than enough food even for someone from Michigan :D (wherefrom the chef hails, in part). More than Southern. V is at top of list of area restaurants that build seasonal menus based on what they buy from local farms. Pigs are as important as onions and where else are you going to get house-cured rabbit bacon?

Spend a couple of weeks reviewing restaurant topics here and see what gets the most buzz. I'd venture outside city limits if you have the time. Many good places are Metro-accessible, if not all. One of the Ray's--if you do sit-down in Silver Spring vs. burgers or steaks in Arlington, combine that with a trip across the street to The American Film Institute (I'd link it, but just lost a post in doing so). Restaurant Eve. Pleasant in Falls Church.

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Yes, the portions are smaller. I can't honestly say that there's a ton of Southern influence in most of the cooking these days, unless you consider a general obsession with pork products southern. But, whatever it is, it's a great deal.

I love La Chaumiere but, given my druthers, I might do it for dinner as it isn't light eating.

Nothing against the cafe at Palena or Circle Bistro, but for a nice casual meal I might try Brasserie Beck instead, particularly if you've a yen for good Belgian beer. And, speaking of beer, Commonwealth makes for a nice trip outside the Tourist Zone you are in the mood for British brew and /or some general -- if hipster-oriented -- bar-hopping afterwards: The Raven, the Red Derby, Wonderland, the Looking Glass Lounge are all nearby. It keeps you young. Both Beck and Commonwealth are well-regarded for their food, as well.

Yes, in the midst of my research I had noticed Commonwealth. Interesting. Also its neighbor Pete's Apizza, which is on my short list for lunch. My cousins, who live in the Glover Park area, like Beck a lot, so we might wind up there one night. Thanks for the info.

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Yes, in the midst of my research I had noticed Commonwealth. Interesting. Also its neighbor Pete's Apizza, which is on my short list for lunch. My cousins, who live in the Glover Park area, like Beck a lot, so we might wind up there one night. Thanks for the info.

When my father-in-law was here we hit Commonwealth for apps and then Pete's -- which is essentially right next door -- for the pizza entree. Amazing that my gout didn't come back that night.

Give a yell if you're getting up that way. I'm two blocks away, I'll buy you a round of Bluebird Bitter.

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My cousins, who live in the Glover Park area, like Beck a lot, so we might wind up there one night. Thanks for the info.
If you need a quick meal or snack when visiting your cousins in GP, I really enjoyed my meal at Surfside. Has a small, pretty good beer selection, with a bar in the back that has frozen margaritas.
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When my father-in-law was here we hit Commonwealth for apps and then Pete's -- which is essentially right next door -- for the pizza entree. Amazing that my gout didn't come back that night.

Give a yell if you're getting up that way. I'm two blocks away, I'll buy you a round of Bluebird Bitter.

Deal. Thanks.

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