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Galileo, 21st and L Streets Downtown - Fallen Star.


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Went with some friends last night to try out the new menu at Galileo. The good news is that everything on the menu -- including the wine -- really is half-price. So you can order the $75 tasting menu (three courses and dessert) but will only be charged a cool $37.50. And try some wines that won't break your Starbucks credit card in two.

The bad news is that the food and service was a disappointment: Chewy, overcooked lobster with a bland herb emulsion; limp, sandy scallops; no help from our waiter on what to order (Me: "It's our first time here." Him: "Well, everything's there on the menu." My brain: "You don't say!"); many items from the new menu posted online weren't on yesterday's menu (crab cannoli and stuffed veal among them, sadly); and the biggest disappointment -- none of the new desserts were available last night, and I had my heart set on the Apricot Chocolate Lasagna. :P

It wasn't a horrible experience by any means -- nothing of "Titanic" proportions -- it just wasn't anything special. It might be worth waiting a few weeks for the menu to settle in, especially since the deal is running all summer.

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My husband and I also took advantage of the half price deal at Galileo last night and found the service extemely cordial and the food excellent. I had the scallop appetizer and mine was perfectly cooked - 2 nicely seared and tender scallops (no sand) and a tasty melange of baby vegetables. I loved it! The rest of our meal was fine, and our server picked up the e-mail printout without flinching or scowling or anything. I do think we were charged tax on the full price however. (I don't have the bill with me to re-check - and I'm not carping about this.)

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Well since the restaurant themselves put out the promotion and informed diners how to handle it, then it should not feel awkward.  Hopefully the staff is not going to treat those  who use the discount poorly.

After reading your review, I think the staff should feel awkward at serving food that is a disappoinment.

The awkwardness was my own -- it just felt weird handing the waiter the coupon. That, however, isn't anything I blame them for. It was the food and general lack of warmth from the waitstaff that resulted it my disappointment. With several succesful recent trips to Eve, Atlantico, Ray's and more under (and expanding!) my belt, this place was definitely not up to par. But like I said in my original post, this was just one visit during the first week of the new menu, and perhaps it will be different for others, like the couple who also went last night and really enjoyed it.

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My husband and I also took advantage of the half price deal at Galileo last night and found the service extemely cordial and the food excellent.  I had the scallop appetizer and mine was perfectly cooked -  2 nicely seared and tender scallops (no sand) and a tasty melange of baby vegetables.  I loved it! The rest of our meal was fine, and our server picked up the e-mail printout without flinching or scowling or anything.  I do think we were charged tax on the full price however.  (I don't have the bill with me to re-check - and I'm not carping about this.)

Welcome to DR.com 3M. Your experience at Galileo contrasts markedly with that of Capitol Icebox. It's kind of weird that you would both dine on the same evening and have such difference meals. Perhaps your entres were prepared by different sou chefs.

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I would guess that consistency in food preparation in a restaurant must be a real challenge - and of course critically important for maintaining a reputation for excellence. We've all had disappointing meals in fine restaurants and figured, "it must be the chef's night off!" And then too, everyone's perceptions are different. :P

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I have an Open Table question.  I am making a reservation but am not sure that one of the people will be able to join me.  Will Galileo charge me for that person even though I am keeping the reservation?

This has not happened to me at other restaurants in the past. Of course, if you find out that your party size has changed early enough you could call and let them know.

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(Warning – this may be considered a sub-par posting for lack of style or food knowledge, but such a wonderful experience should be mentioned even in my novice fumbling way…)

Went to Galileo on Monday night, and had an amazing, amazing time. First want to mention our server Levante who made everything extra special…

The wine list is huge, as we (me and Dad) ‘attempted’ to choose, I described my Dad’s desires (driest white) Levante didn’t even need to ask the sommelier, suggesting confidently pinot grigio. Luckily those 4 wines were $35-45 (hey there was a $12,000 btl – so you never know…) I then asked which one was ‘the best’ and he promptly shut the list and said he’d bring the perfect wine (off the list), a similarly priced “Le Uve” Pinot Grigio, Friulvini. I must also mention the sommelier on duty that night, a gentleman who was so charming, explained the presentation of the wine (“washing” of the glasses with the wine a good idea to get rid of residual dishwashing liq.), and conversed with my Dad, (much to his enjoyment.)

Back to the menu – I decided on..

“La Burrata – “Burrata” Mozzarella served with Arugula salad ”

(huge, btw, no way I could have eaten it all), at my dad’s first bite he responded “oh wow… so creamy…” exactly, very decadent. It was served on a bed of arugula (not sure what it was dressed in…) - have decided I am big fan of arugula.

Dad had…

Le Animelle - Veal Sweetbreads poached in milk and herbs, dusted with flour and sautéed, served with ragu of chanterelles, asparagus and black truffle sauce

My dad ordered the veal sweetbreads, again thanks to Levante. When we first ordered he said they were out of the veal sweetbreads, but I guess seeing our crestfallen faces (my dad had just reminisced over his childhood ‘sweetbread’ memories) Levante returned saying the chef on duty would be able to give us the one last serving! I can’t give justice in words to how much the tender sweetbreads with truffles were enjoyed by Dad.

Moving on – I had the

Gli Agnolotti – Pillow pasta filled with asparagus in Mascarpone cream sauce with marinated Prosciutto, Parmesan and basil oil

(Didn’t really see/taste asp? but didn’t matter), and the pasta itself was great, soft and tender. I could not get enough of the sauce (it’s funny it looked like too much at first) thankfully the (asiago?) bread was still at the table to sop up EVERY last drop …prosciutto bits were just enough, and the parmesan was sooo good (sharp and rich)… my Dad commented on how fresh the herbs tasted!

Dad had…

Il Grosso Rombo – sautéed filet of Halibut served with braised beet greens, baby beets, garlic sauce and arugula pesto

He was IMPRESSED… (the filet was also huge) and it was defiantly a showcase of the fish itself, which I think was cooked perfectly, firm, flaky not at all overdone. It was at this point that I also realized how perfectly the wine tasted with the food. I had liked it well-enough at first, but this was an “Ahha!” moment for me that the food tasted better with the wine and the wine became more appealing while washing down the food…. Thanks again to the staff!

I had to ordered dessert even though my Dad insisted he was full! Also ordered cappuccinos (yummy.) so….

Fruita Della Passione – Passion Fruit mousse served with white chocolate sauceI have to say my first bite was a bit unexpected. I got more of a (crumbly?) cake like bottom half, than the top mousse part, so expecting a creamy fruity taste may have confused my taste buds. I am not sure why I didn’t love the cake part, maybe it was too dry for me, but I only mention it because maybe it was off, but again it could be me that’s off. I continue to say that the top-half the mousse part was fabulous, rich but with the fruit not overly so… Despite my initial reaction I would order it again and again.

We thought we were finished…However the wonderful Levante comes over carrying two bright-yellow flutes, Me: “Limoncello! my favorite” It really is, and while sweet for my dad he enjoyed it and also like the little plate of cookies/pastries. We were already getting such a treat with the summer deal, and yet they went above and beyond until the end…

For my Dad a meal is both food and service, and he was so thrilled by everything (as was I) that I really felt both were worth mentioning. Thanks again to Galileo for an exceptional night!

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OK, went to Galileo for the first time ever for dinner the other day. Note for men: I saw lots of business casual and not many jackets. Perhaps they relaxed the rules during RW?

What we ordered:

Le Capesante

Sautéed Scallops wrapped in Bacon served with a Ragu of Cherry Tomatoes, Pattypan Squash, Chiceri Beans and Asparagus in a White Wine Clam Broth

Linguine Con Molecche

Linguine tossed with Soft Shell Crabs, Marinated Tomatoes and Basil

Il Grosso Rombo

Sautéed Filet of Halibut Dusted with Porcini Mushrooms served with a Ragu of Chiodini Mushrooms, Fresh Peas and Fennel Lobster Sauce

Il Manzo

Tower of Grilled Beef, Grilled Eggplant and Roasted Local Tomato served with Potatoes Dauphin and Beef Jus

Carpaccio di Ananas

Carpaccio of Pineapple with Passion Fruit Dessing and Mango Sorbet

Napoleone di Pesca

Chocolate Mousse Puff Pastry Napoleon served with Peach Salad

I really enjoyed the antipasta and pasta that we had. The scallop was well prepared and cooked exceptionally well. The pasta was very light and reminded me of food I had in Italy.

The fish was great - definitely get that if you go. The sauce was delicious - very intense. The beef was alright, I felt it needed more salt to bring out the flavor of the meat (why are there no salt shakers at upscale restaurants? I know why, but c'mon...) and the chocolate dessert was a tad too sweet while the sobert was a good palate cleanser.

Overall, I wasn't impressed. I had high expectations b/c it's Roberto Donna's restaurant and all that jazz but honestly I was, to use Al Dente's words, just whelmed.

Edited by Gastro888
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At the DR dinner I was REALLY impressed with my veal chop. Massive. Delicious. Perfect medium rare. Loved it. The pasta, though. Really weak. Amazingly weak. Don't recall which one I ordered, but my wife reports that her pasta was the weakest part of her meal too. Kinda surprising, considering the reputation.

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I just got the weekly email and it does NOT appear that there will be a lunch grill this week. However, the following was included in the email (note the final admonition):

Our Half-Off Special Returns for a few Nights only

You asked for it, you got it. Galileo's half-off promotion returns for a few nights this winter. Receive half-off your check when you order from our dinner menu and our entire wine list on any of the following dates:

Monday, December 26, 2005

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Friday, December 30, 2005

Monday, January 2, 2006

Tuesday, January 3, 2006

Wednesday, January, 4, 2006

Thursday, January 5, 2006

Friday, January 6, 2006

To take advantage of this special offer bring a copy of this e-mail with you when you come to dine at Galileo and provide it to your server when you are seated. Reservations are recommended.

This promotion is only being offered to the recipients of this e-mail. Print outs from other sites mentioning this promotion will not be accepted. This special will only be available for dinner on the dates listed above and only in the main dining room of Galileo. This offer does not apply to the Laboratorio or Osteria. New Year's Eve is not included in this special promotion.

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We went to the half-price special last summer and I don't know if they had the second team playing, they hate half-price diners or they just had an off night, but it was surprisingly bad.

Maybe it was an off night? Seventeen members of this board went together last summer, and the thread starts right about here, so you can see that some of us had a wonderful meal and others had some reservations. Still, there was no sense at all that Chef Brandwein or staff resented the half-price deal. We tipped based on the full prices, and generously at that. If I go again, I will again order a la carte and also bring my own wine.

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I do recall the DG meal and there being a some discussion over the meal, but we figured it was worth a go for half price. That wasn't the opinion after the meal.We were a little shocked at how unfortunate the food was. Service, btw was very good, so we got kind of the opposite of the stereotypical Galileo experience.

Maybe someone should head out the day after Christmas and give it a try. If it sucks, we can all chip in to reimburse from the money we saved, and it it's great, everyone can make reservations right away :)

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I've never had an "on" night in Galileo. I have had a delightful meal in the Lab (albeit, IMHO not worth the money I paid-$180pp w/wine). I've had good eats with truculent service at the bar. And I've had two disappointing meals with abyssmal service and a hefty fee in the restaurant proper. There won't be a third.

The grill is great, but I don't think I'll darken their doors except for the grill and a possible trip to the Lab.

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Went to Gallileo for RW last night and the entire menu was available.

Was such a good deal that Mayor Bow-Tie was eating there last night as well.

There was a great floor show, too as Roberto was teaching a class in the kitchen which could be seen from our table.

I adore RW.

Edited by Woodleygrrl
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Went to Gallileo for RW last night and the entire menu was available.

Was such a good deal that Mayor Bow-Tie was eating there last night as well.

There was a great floor show, too as Roberto was teaching a class in the kitchen which could be seen from our table.

I adore RW.

How was the food?

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I just had a great meal at Galileo for RW. I let the waiter order for me, hoping he would have the insight on the menu. The first course was wild mushroom ravioli with a black trufle sauce. I enjoyed this very much. The sauce had a butter flavor and was a touch on the salty side.The ravioli were homemade and the mushrooms superb. The entree was a filet of beef with a reduced wine sauce and brussel sprouts. Also very enjoyable. Dessert was the tirimisue which was downright sinful. Service was superb and the place was packed! Bread plate was homemade. At 30.06, I was duely impressed (10 dollar up fee for the beef).

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Had a great experience tonight at Galileo, with both the food and the service hitting on all cylinders.

Since the restaurant normally allows BYO, I didn't bother to call ahead to see if it applied during RW, too. Alas, the matire'd informed us upon our arrival that they'd suspended BYO for the week. No worries, I said; we'll order off the list.

We'd already put in an order for champagne and I was studying the Barolo offerings when our server in the Laboratorio said that he'd talked his boss into letting us open a bottle. We were very pleasantly surprised.

Our server, as it turned out, was probably the best I've had in DC, at any restaurant - during RW, no less, and with BYO. He was attentive, helpful, personable, professional, generous and none too intrusive. He made great recommendations on both the food and beverage fronts, and he really pampered us. The meal itself hit all the right notes, save for a veal chop, which was ordered medium rare but was served just to the wrong side of medium medium. Still, it exceeded all reasonable RW expectations.

Our group is planning to return for a meal in the Labortorio, and I hope our friend is there when we do, as we have a bottle of Barolo with his name on it. (Well, with Bruno Giacosa's name on it. But close enough.)

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But in order to qualify for the 50% off deal, you have to be an original recipient of the email message that made the offer. They sent it out at least twice, but you can't present a copy of the email sent to someone else like you could last time.

To take advantage of this special offer, bring a copy of this e-mail with you when you come to dine at Galileo and provide it to your server when you are seated. Reservations are recommended.

This promotion is only being offered to the recipients of this e-mail. Print outs from other sites mentioning this promotion will not be accepted. This special will only be available for dinner on the dates listed above and only in the main dining room of Galileo. This offer does not apply to the Laboratorio or Osteria.

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This bears repeating:

This promotion is only being offered to the recipients of this e-mail. Print outs from other sites mentioning this promotion will not be accepted.

Don't show up at Galileo with a printout from this website - it's not valid. This offer is only for people on their email list - perhaps this would be a good time to subscribe to their email list for future offers and other information.

Cheers,

Rocks

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From Chowhound:

A warning to others: Last summer we ate at the 50% off . . . . -- and then our bill taxed us at 10% of what would have been the total bill (20% of the after-discount price) Galileo says that DC Govt requires them to do this - anyone heard of this with other restaurants? or whether it's legal?
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It really depends on how they ring it up in their system.

Say you have a bill of $100.00, and they discount it by 50% to $50.00. The actual sale is only $50.00, and you should be taxed accordingly.

But, if they take the $50.00 deduction another way, say by charging it to an in-house promotion account, the sale is $100.00, with Galileo "paying" $50, and the patron paying the remaining $50, plus the 10% tax on the total ($100).

I believe it's merely how they choose to handle the accounting. Then again, I'm no tax lawyer, so I could be wrong. :)

***edit: I'm not saying they are handling it properly, just that if they looked at it from the perspective that I mentioned above, they might believe they are doing it propoerly. They obviously don't have a firm grasp on the whole "tax thing".

Edited by B.A.R.
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The tax statutes of the District of Columbia provide that the term "sales price" to which the tax is applied, does not include "cash discounts allowed and taken on sales."

See DC Official Code, 2001 Edition, Division III, Title 47, Chapter 20, Section 47-2001(p)(2)(A). ---> *

If Galileo really is doing what is alleged, they are confusing what they are doing with manufacturers coupons and rebates. When you give a retailer a manufactures coupon, the tax is owed on the full amount and the discount comes off after the tax is figured. The same is true with rebates. Say you buy a car and the manufacturer offers a $1,000 rebate. That rebate belongs to the purchaser and typically the purchaser will assign the rebate to the dealer who treats it as part of the payment from the buyer. The tax is owed on the full amount. (Moral of story, when you buy a car, make sure the rebate shows up on the invoice as a dealer discount and not as part of your payment)

I would refuse to pay more than the tax rate on the net bill. I don't care how their billing system is set up.

Edited by Jacques Gastreaux
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Making last minute lunch reservations... looking for a place with outside seating.  Went to OpenTable.  Galileo has openings.  Click on reservation.  Receive this message:

Thank you for making a reservation at Galileo Restaurant. Should you need to cancel this reservation, please do so 24 hours prior to the reservation time.

Any guests who do not show up for their reservation will incur a $25.00 charge per person.

We look forward to having you dine with us. Your table awaits you.

OpenTable will never charge the card for any reason. There will be no charges by Galileo except in cases of a no-show, late cancellation, or required deposit per the restaurant's policy. Online cancellations are accepted before 5:00 pm on Feb 13, 2006.

All credit card information is secure and protected online by SSL encryption, the industry standard.

Discuss

So, did you go ahead and book it? Galileo has this policy for all meals, not just Valentine's Day. It certainly would seem to discourage same-day reservations, as the 24-hour requirement could not be met. And for lunch, when plans can often change at the last minute and the tab is lower, a $25 no-show penalty is pretty hefty! Still, for lunch I would skip OpenTable and call the restaurant directly if there was any possibility of needing some flexibility, just to see what could be done.
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Hey everyone--

Hate to plug, but Don said plug away!

Our new food guy, Tim Carman, is going to be doing some blogging on our new staff blog, City Desk.

He just posted a bit of news regarding Galileo: By the end of the year, its building will be gutted, and his landlord is still looking for temporary space for the six or seven months that renos will take.

Roberto hasn't nailed anything down yet, but Galileo (and Osteria and Laboratorio) as we know it will not exist for much longer.

Mike DeBonis

Washington City Paper

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So after sampling the Grill for the first time (and loving it :unsure: ) yesterday, I found out I'm being taken to Galileo today for a regular lunch. I haven't been in a long time. Are there any particularly good items on lunch menu that shouldn't be missed?

Thanks.

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All

Thanks for the advice, I will make it to those other places. I ended up at Osteria (Galileo). Reasonably close to the metro (Foggy Bottom). Had a delicious meal of panzenela salad w/buffalo mozz (antipasti)-shared; fettucini with wild mushrooms (me) and penne with tomato sauce (friend) (primi); meatballs w/polenta (secondi) and roasted potatoes (side).

Overall, the food was fantastic and cheap (we had 5 dishes and a side, two glasses of wine) for a total of $57. In fact, we were both busted full at the end. The antipasti's are $5, primi's are $8, and the secondi's are $10, desserts are $5, sides are $4 and wines are like $4-5.

My only gripe was the glacial pace of service. Pasta came out in reasonable time, but it was forever b/w primi and secondi. So much that we started to feel too full to eat it. I don't think it was a function of us having those number of courses. My only other gripe, self-made of course, was that I was too full (and it took too long) to try the cannollis for dessert.

http://www.galileodc.com/restaurants/osteria.php

Thanks again,

Nashman

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How big is the area dedicated to Osteria? I had considered going there this evening for a pre-Spamalot dinner. But the lack of reservations, combined with what sounds like limited seating is turning me off. In general, for a mid-week dinner, can one expect to walk in and be quickly seated, around 5:30 or 6?

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How big is the area dedicated to Osteria? I had considered going there this evening for a pre-Spamalot dinner. But the lack of reservations, combined with what sounds like limited seating is turning me off. In general, for a mid-week dinner, can one expect to walk in and be quickly seated, around 5:30 or 6?
In a follow up to the seating question, are the Osteria's seats next to the bar area? I ask because I like to avoid smoke when dining and was thinking that might be an issue at Osteria.
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In a follow up to the seating question, are the Osteria's seats next to the bar area? I ask because I like to avoid smoke when dining and was thinking that might be an issue at Osteria.
They are right next to the bar.

I don't get down there very often, but I stopped in one Friday night and the place was empty. I would agree the service was a little slow, but the food was excellent (cannot beat it for the price). I believe that it is the same food served in the main Galileo restaurant but at a lower price point (maybe a smaller portion). I am sure they do not have a separate kitchen.

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There were about 4 2-tops and 3 4-tops if I recall. The tables were spaced quite a bit so they could fit more seats in there. I got there at 6:15 last nite, no problem, granted it was nasty outside. It opens at 5:30, so that probably is never a problem.

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I eat at the Osteria all the time, and can't think of any Italian food in the city I like better, let alone for the price. The food is much simpler and less rich than Galileo proper, and comes closer to what I've had at casual places in Italy itself. The service is completely indifferent at the tables, however, as you might expect given the income stream from tips in the restaurant vs. the osteria. Sitting at the bar is the best bet. Smoke is an issue if you're bothered by it, unfortunately.

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I eat at the Osteria all the time, and can't think of any Italian food in the city I like better, let alone for the price. The food is much simpler and less rich than Galileo proper, and comes closer to what I've had at casual places in Italy itself. The service is completely indifferent at the tables, however, as you might expect given the income stream from tips in the restaurant vs. the osteria. Sitting at the bar is the best bet. Smoke is an issue if you're bothered by it, unfortunately.

Likewise and I agree, though its worth noting that you can eat outside as well. The food is great, the prices outstanding, and I've never seen the place anywhere near full.

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For those of you who subscribe to Galileo's email list, remember that the half price August special continues:

Only 8 more days left in August to take advantage of our summer special

Summer Special – Half Off on Dinner and Wine, Sunday-Tuesday Nights

Visit us now through August 29th and try anything on the Galileo dinner menu and wine list for half price on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday evenings (excluding August 14th, 15th, or 20th).

How does the promotion work?

Join us Sunday - Tuesday nights for dinner in Galileo's Main Dining Room and pay half price for your meal and for any wines from our award winning wine list.

To take advantage of this promotion, you MUST bring a printed copy of this entire e-mail with you (having filled in the information below) and present it to your waiter upon being seated.

Due to other promotions by various credit card companies, credit cards will not be accepted as a form of payment for the half off promotion. Payment MUST be made by cash or check (with valid ID).

Only one copy of this e-mail is necessary for each table.

For reservations or more information, please call 202-293-7191.

Name:

E-mail address: (the address which receives our e-mails)

This exclusive offer is only available to the recipients of this e-mail and does not apply to dining at Laboratorio, Osteria, the Kitchen Table or any of our private dining rooms. This offer will not be available August 14th, 15th, or 20th or in conjunction with any other promotion. Due to the nature of this promotion, please note that by law, the tax charged and due will be on the full amount of the check prior to the 50% deduction.

And keep in mind that this offer is not open to the general public, you have to have someone at your table whose name appears on the email and that person has to bring a copy of the email. Also note the cash/check only and the sales tax policy.
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