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A Party Of Five, Age Range: 17-65


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Looking for ideas for dinner for five on January 21. It's my mother's 65th birthday - she's not eager to advertise the fact, but it's too big to ignore. Coincidentally, my 17-year-old cousin is in town looking at schools, with her mother (mom's sister), down from Long Island. My mother is not quite as food-obssessed as some here (I mean that in a good way), but she loves a good meal in any cuisine, and has eaten at some of the finer restaurants in most American cities. My aunt has similar tastes but no money, and so has far less experience with great food. My cousin is a good kid, but at 17 is fairly clueless - she'd be happiest at a place like Elevation Burger. So, we're looking for great food with a menu that's not intimidating, in an elegant setting but relaxed enough for a kid to not feel uptight. My wife's first suggestion was 2941 (her current favorite), but we're picking up the tab and would like to keep it under $500 if possible. Two of us are not fond of seafood, mom isn't into steak (although she loved Ray's). Northern Virginia or DC preferred. Any ideas?

Oh, yeah - it's my first post, but I've been reading for months, steered here by DanielK. My wife is registered as NotQuickDraw, and we were at the 2941 dinner and missed the cut for Ray's. You'll be seeing more of us, and hopefully less of us if the diet goes well. Is it possible to be a member here and lose weight? We'll let you know.

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I think that jake's suggestion of Firefly is an excellent one. Perfect for the things you said you were looking for.

BTW - after I joined eG (my first forum) I lost 20 pounds, largely because I quit eating crap (otherwise known as fast food) and started eating real food.

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Corduroy is definitely on the list of candidates, but we've already taken mom there on another occasion (or she took us, I can't remember). Repeat visits are not a disqualification (except at Cafe Atlantico - long story, mom's fault, not the restaurant's), but a new place, if only new for us as a group, would be preferable.

I've only been to Firefly once - it was good, but I wasn't overly impressed. On the other hand, that was a large group, a special occasion, and some time ago, and I've heard from someone else who was there that either it was an off night or it has improved significantly. I'll add it to the list (mom gets final say - it's her birthday, after all).

Zaytinya is out. Great food, but it's a Saturday night. Been there, done that, never again. On a Tuesday, absolutely.

Never tried Indique, but I've heard good things. I'll put it on the list as well.

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I don't know if Dino counts as "elegant" in the way you're looking for, but it is a fun environment with an extensive menu.

If you ate early enough (6-ish?), the front room at Palena could also be an option. Actually, the more I think about that, the more I think it works. Everything from burgers to rabbit, and elegant without being intimidating. I wouldn't try to walk in there with a group of 5 at 8pm on a Saturday, but if you were open to eating earlier, I bet you could snag a booth and be very happy there.

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In the last three weeks I've great meals at two places that might fit the bill - Komi and Majestic Cafe. Both are nice, hip and relaxed all at the same time.

Komi's menu might be a shade smaller and more "intimidating" but is, of course, excellent. Majestic's menu is really accessible and all three of the meals served at our table last week were really, really good.

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You are all nuts. The answer is obvious: Clyde's.

We ended up at the Mega-Clydes in Chinatown when Waitman's folks were in town over the holidays. A good time was had by all but it was very noisy which can make life difficult if you are in a large group.

I really enjoyed their fried chicken livers, very comfort food.

I think that (Clyde's) Old Ebbitt would suit better (we waited too long to get a res. for Christmas so settled for Mega-C). This spot has pleased (but not not not the atrium!) the family unit (including a discerning 65 yr. old mom) for 2 Holy Communions and 1 Confirmation. Not culinary cutting edge by any means but probably within the budget and I like the nekkid ladies on the walls behind the bars :) I also like all the other architectural flourishes that come off well considering the size of this place (though I miss the fact that they aren't in the same place I saw them in 1980).

The menu is broad enough to suit all. This dish was most beloved by my dearly departed mom Cannelloni di Casa house-made pasta stuffed with spinach, mortadella ham and three cheeses, baked in a cream sauce

My teens have also enjoyed Bistro Francais and the 13 yr old girl is currently in a swoon over Circle Bistro. Would also add to the Firefly and Corduroy chorus.

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Addie's up on Rockville Pike would definitely work - but it's up in MD. Not intimidating at all - good selection of food, almost all of it excellent. I think the Firefly recommendation is also very good - act fast to get that Saturday night reservation though!

Along the same lines as OE/Clydes is Chef Geoff's - I know it's not the most popular of places on these boards, but I've always had a good meal there, and have taken my parents successfully for the Mother's Day Brunch there.

You may also want to think about a place like DC Coast or Ceiba - places aren't intimidating, a "nice dinner" place, good food and drink.

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Addie's up on Rockville Pike would definitely work - but it's up in MD.  Not intimidating at all - good selection of food, almost all of it excellent. 

Addie's seems to be going downhill in a serious way. The setting has always been much more "funk" than elegance and the food, last time I went, was far from excellent.

I thought Bistro Francais was a good idea, especially with a teenager looking at colleges, since it's in Georgetown. Restaurant Eve in Old Town was what came to mind first though- great food, upscale decor, and walking down King Street to the river in Old Town is a real treat too.

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I'm sure you're all eagerly awaiting news of the decision ... ok, maybe not.

Anyway, for a while it looked like the scheduling had changed and it was going to be three for dinner - if that had held up, the choice was Restaurant Eve. The final word is Saturday is out, Friday is in, for all five - putting Restaurant Eve out of the budget. Virginia seemed like a good idea, though; those of us who are local all live in Virginia and DC on a Friday night can be a pain. So we're going to Majestic Cafe, based on two mentions in this thread and the comment from bilrus in the Majestic Cafe thread on Thursday about taking his own advice.

Thanks for all the suggestions, folks. Your help is much appreciated.

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I'm sure you're all eagerly awaiting news of the decision ... ok, maybe not.

So we're going to Majestic Cafe, based on two mentions in this thread and the comment from bilrus in the Majestic Cafe thread on Thursday about taking his own advice.

Thanks for all the suggestions, folks. Your help is much appreciated.

Tell your Mom that a whole bunch of people you've never met wish her a wonderful birthday and hope she has many more.

And yes, we want a report. :)

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So we're going to Majestic Cafe, based on two mentions in this thread and the comment from bilrus in the Majestic Cafe thread on Thursday about taking his own advice.

Thanks for all the suggestions, folks. Your help is much appreciated.

I'm feeling much pressure here... :)

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I'm feeling much pressure here...

There's no reason to feel pressure ... if it's a great meal, it won't be the first. If it's a terrible meal, well, it won't be the first either. We're just talking about food - one of the most important things in the world, and as such, not to be taken too seriously.

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