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USA Today / Zagat Survey


hm212
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So am I! And well ahead of anything in New York.

But, $98 at Maestro will get you 3 courses and maybe a drink, but no tip. . . . and only Tuesday-Thursday. The weeknight 3-course menu is $85. With tax, tip, and one drink, I'm calculating a bit more than $98. <_<

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This is based on Zagat, and really it is a joke. I am willing to bet that 90% of the people who give Inn at Little Washington have never been there and could not find Washington, VA on a map. And there is no way in hell that the Swann Lounge could legitimately top Citronelle, but at the Swann they do make a hell of a Manhattan (and use rye to boot).

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This week's $72 fixed-price, three-course dinner menu includes seared tuna, roasted Colorado rack of lamb and vanilla and raspberry crème brülée.

"Hotel food has gone through a renaissance," says Jason Weaver, The French Room's executive chef. "Hotel food used to be bland and boring, but that's not true anymore."

<_<

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It is increasingly becoming something of a rarity for an exceptional restaurant in the U. S. to operate independent of a hotel. Citronelle, CityZen, Maestro are all in hotels. It is expensive, almost prohibitively expensive to operate a restaurant as a stand alone at this level. While prix fixes north of $100 and wine markups of 100% or more seem excessive often this kind of pricing is the only option to turn a profit. Maestro started around $85 prix fixe for the same dinner that now approaches $150 on weekends. At $85 they lost money, but the intention was to help sell hotel rooms. CityZen and Citronelle also help sell rooms for their respective hotels. A "star chef" or "star restaurant" can have a great deal of value for a hotel.

It takes a major financial commitment to take the sometimes breathtaking leap to succeed at this level. Without the hotel essentially subsidizing the restaurants I believe there will be even fewer top tier restaurants opening apart from a hotel in the future. (All the more reason that Laboratorio is such a rarity: Roberto in the kitchen himself in a restaurant he owns that is not subsidized by a hotel.)

Without knowing ANYTHING about the specifics I would not be surprised if the Newseum didn't offer some interesting incentives to lure Wolfgang Puck to D. C. His name has a great deal of value and will help attract attention to their opening year and perhaps after.

And, if its true that either Ripert or Keller are coming to D. C. I would note that once again it is in a hotel dining room. As Jean Louis once was.

Edited by Joe H
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Komi, Palena, Restaurant Eve...

Those are all very good, but I get what Joe is saying here. They aren't quite in the same league as the places Joe mentions.

He is talking about the ultra-luxe places that we really only have a of in the area - the three he mentions, and I'd add the Inn (another hotel) to his list.

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Those are all very good, but I get what Joe is saying here.  They aren't quite in the same league as the places Joe mentions. 

He is talking about the ultra-luxe places that we really only have a of in the area - the three he mentions, and I'd add the Inn (another hotel) to his list.

Understood, although I would place Komi, Eve and Palena right there with Donna's restaurant which was singled out as an equal example to the high-end hotel restaurants. It also needs to be mentioned that while hotels provide extra capital to pay for a lot more opulence than most independent restaurants can afford, they may also add problems such as union workers and restrictions to what some chefs are allowed to do in their kitchens so it's not always a better situation.
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Understood, although I would place Komi, Eve and Palena right there with Donna's restaurant which was singled out as an equal example to the high-end hotel restaurants.  It also needs to be mentioned that while hotels provide extra capital to pay for a lot more opulence than most independent restaurants can afford, they may also add problems such as union workers and restrictions to what some chefs are allowed to do in their kitchens so it's not always a better situation.

hanks, Bilrus. Citronelle, Maestro, Laboratorio and The Inn I think are on a level that I believe is a step above the ones you mentioned, possibly CityZen, too. It is no secret that I am a huge fan of Roberto's Laboratorio. It is an extraordinary experience in its own way as Citronelle and Maestro are in theirs'. Laboratorio is not just an equal of the hotel restaurants I mentioned; it is the equal of any Italian restaurant in America. In fact Laboratorio and Maestro are the two best Italian restaurants in AMERICA. There is also relatively little, if any, opulence in his Laboratorio. Most of what you are paying for goes on the plate.

I wonder if people on here really realize what a extraordinary experience it is to have a James Beard award winning chef cook six or seven feet away from you if you sit at table #7?

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Thanks, Bilrus.  Citronelle, Maestro, Laboratorio and The Inn I think are on a level that I believe is a step above the ones you mentioned, possibly CityZen, too.  It is no secret that I am a huge fan of Roberto's Laboratorio.  It is an extraordinary experience in its own way as Citronelle and Maestro are in theirs'. 
IMHO the tasting room at Restaurant Eve easily equals the Laboratorio experience, and Maestro & Citronelle for that matter.
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And I'll dispute the notion that Inn at Little Washington is a restaurant in a hotel; I would characterize it as the opposite. It is a hotel in a restaurant. The room available at the Inn are for those who do not want to risk traveling back to the DC area after a long meal. That relationship between the hotel and the restaurant at the Inn is not the same at all of those places in Ritz-Carltons.

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And I'll dispute the notion that Inn at Little Washington is a restaurant in a hotel; I would characterize it as the opposite.  It is a hotel in a restaurant.  The room available at the Inn are for those who do not want to risk traveling back to the DC area after a long meal.  That relationship between the hotel and the restaurant at the Inn is not the same at all of those places in Ritz-Carltons.

I'll buy that.

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