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Richard's Place (Formerly Catwalk Cafe and Next Stage) - Self-Service Cafeteria Inside of Mead Center at Arena Stage, 6th and M Street SW

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Arena Stage has a new home in SW DC, not directly across from the fish market. Real name: Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater (!). Dinner at the cafe there, Next Stage by José Andrés. I think this production, Oklahoma, is the first production at this building . Someone thought the menu of the cafe should tie in with the current production. I will let the idea of José Andrés drawing inspiration from the traditional foods of Oklahoma speak for itself.

State Bird Wild Turkey Noodle Soup

free range wild turkey, carrots, onion,celery. At least the noodles were added at service, so they didn'y get mushy.

Chicken Slaw Salad

spinach stuffed chicken, shredded cabbage, cheese and buttermilk and herb dressing. OK, but too cold.

36-Hour Short Ribs

slow cooked in a red wine sauce. Probably the best thing on the menu.

Potato Puree

with American Idaho potatoes (!) Yes, well ...

Oklahoma Succotash

black-eyed peas, okra, squash and bacon. Good or inedible, depending on likes or dislikes of ingredients.

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese filling. Plenty sweet.

half-bottle 2007 Catena Merlot ($28) (!) Umm....

I will leave the review of the theatrical event itself to someone else.

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We're going to the Janis Joplin show at Arena Stage. I know this place got panned when it opened, but I haven't read anything about it for quite a while. Has anyone been recently? Should I spend my money there? Thanks.

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We went when it first opened and vowed never to go again. In May, due to time constraints, we were unable to dine pre-theater anywhere else, so tried it again. The food was still awful. And the ambiance? None.

We did not have a great experience at Station 4, but certainly it is vastly superior to the Catwalk. If you can, consider Sou'Wester in the Mandarin, or even better, the bar menu at CityZen (3 courses, $50/pp). That has become our regular haunt for Arena pre-theater.

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