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Major Birthday in NoVa


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Feeling blue, turning a big number soon, and have been sick with acid reflux, though recovered enough now to eat out. Dear sweet wife wants to celebrate in a nice way. I don't want to really, but I suppose it will do me some good. Passion Fish comes to mind, as it has a good reputation with Don and other experts here. Would love to hear of other special places in NOVA, the kind of place that says Happy Birthday to you just by being so excellent in something like ambiance, particular dish, service. Thanks in advance for your suggestions.

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Ray's the Steaks does close off the back room to large parties (up to 30 I believe.) We had our rehearsal dinner there and it was a blast. However, there is a "minimum dining charge" that could be cost-prohibitive depending on what you have in mind. The nice thing is if you don't meet the minimum they let you buy wine to go at a cut retail rate off the (rather nice) list to make up the difference.

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Cafe Renaissance in Vienna is "old school" and may be my current choice in NOVA along with Passion Fish and 2941. Cafe Renaissance is far more romantic, tableside preparations with soft lighting and gorgeous murals gracing several walls. http://www.caferenaissance.com/ If you go you should really consider one of these four desserts which are all prepared tableside. I note this because they do an especially good job of this here.

Flaming Cafe Renaissance $9.50

with brandy coffee & whipped cream

Crepe Suzette for two $19.50

Banana Foster for two $16.00

Mixed Berries Jubilee Flumbe for two $18.00

with brandy & raspberry liqueur over vanila ice cream

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from today's Washingtonian chat:

B-day Brunch or Dinner for Mom:

Hey Todd:

My mom's birthday is coming up this Friday and we want to take her out to either a good dinner or brunch this weekend.

Do you have any suggestions for places in Northern VA, since my father refuses to hike into DC for most dining events?

Thanks!

Todd Kliman:

Pass on a "Happy Birthday" to your mom for me, please.

And how about a night in the bistro at Restaurant Eve, in Old Town? I would think that would make her feel pretty special. A round of cocktails to start, a charcuterie board, and then move on to any of the various preparations of game, or maybe a bowl of bouillabaisse.

Or how about a big seafood meal at PassionFish, in Reston? Oysters on the half shell, lobster tail in red curry, a whole fish simply grilled with olive oil and herbs or -- my pick -- pan-fried two ways and served with two different dipping sauces ...

I hope one of those hits the spot. And I hope you'll drop back on and let us know how things turned out ...

Good luck.

I agree with the recs.

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Depending on how "big" the birthday is, I'd vote either Cafe Renaissance or L'Auberge Chez Francois since you seem to be talking north (as opposed to Restaurant Eve in the south (Eve may be in NoVa, but it's a long way from these other two restaurants)).

Has L'Auberge improved at all in the past year since Jacques officially took the reigns? The past two visits there (both just prior to the senior Haeringer's passing) were a mess.

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Has L'Auberge improved at all in the past year since Jacques officially took the reigns? The past two visits there (both just prior to the senior Haeringer's passing) were a mess.

My last meal there was several years ago, and I really thought it was pretty good - the atmosphere and service, however, were <<hors classe>>. The last couple of meals I had before that were more like yours ... truth is, I'm not current on this restaurant (but am certain that they treat senor citizens well - I'm still not sure if this is a 50th or an 80th birthday).

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Thank you, everyone, for such wonderful suggestions. Too bad only one can be chosen for this occasion. I'm currently mulling over all the great choices and am torn between Passion Fish, Restaurant Eve, and Cafe Renaissance. I'll report back after the meal. Thanks so much!

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