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I was asked to comment about DC's Best Dining Neighborhood by my friend Warren Rojas.

With due respect to other restaurant writers, some of whom are seduced by the new, the popular, the televised, and the highly publicized, I'm telling you right now that The Wharf will be to Washington, DC what The Inner Harbor is to Baltimore: A destination for tourists, but a place where locals will never go, except once a year when they're hosting out-of-town guests.

The smartest thing The Wharf could do would be to charge $10 for parking to anyone with a valid DMV driver's license.

You heard it here first. Sorry I'm not more popular - proclamations like this are why - but even though I'll never be famous during my lifetime, I sleep very well at night (actually, I don't, but it's not because of this).

---

PS - One of my New Year's resolutions is to write one, solid review per week. I've had many false starts in recent years; not this time, not if I can help it. Just think of me as the fugue in Beethoven's Hammerklavier.

Cheers,
Stable Genius <_<

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Don, I was one of the people who named The Wharf as best dining neighborhood when asked by Warren Rojas.  I'm sorry that I didn't say Shaw as well, because I do believe it has incredible restaurants.  That said, I completely disagree with you about The Wharf.  I've been to Kith and Kin, Del Mar (twice), and ate at Requin last night.  All three restaurants were excellent.  I am still thinking about the fantastic duck dish I had at Requin last night.  These are not chain restaurants like the Inner Harbor- they are fine dining spots featuring accomplished chefs. 

The parking is a pain- the lot is expensive - but it is Metro accessible.  But last night with frigid temps, it was such a pleasure to park in the lot and brave the elements for just a few seconds to get to Requin.  

There are many more restaurants yet to open at The Wharf- most from chefs with established restaurants in other parts of town.  So I don't see this heading anywhere in the same direction as the Inner Harbor- which I agree does not have a single worthwhile restaurant.

Here's my post about Del Mar (hope you don't mind me sharing it here)  http://beenthereeatenthat.net/2017/12/del-mar/

Lori

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The National Harbor/MGM might be the better comparison. They're both easy to avoid and you have to make them your destination if you want to go to them. Adult amusement parks with an entrance fee to park your car. The Inner Harbor on the other hand is hard to avoid in Baltimore even if you have no interest in stopping.

If the Wharf is supposed to be a music destination, I hope they come up with something better than the Pearl Street Warehouse. It could use more casual bars with beer joint bands rather than something so programmed and ticketed. If it's going to be so commercial for the tourist trade (which it unavoidably will be), it should aim for something more like Beale Street Memphis or Broadway Nashville.

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On 1/7/2018 at 3:16 PM, Lori Gardner said:

Don, I was one of the people who named The Wharf as best dining neighborhood when asked by Warren Rojas. 

Lori, I saw your name (hence, "some" - you know how much I respect your work). I do agree that The Wharf has taken a local slant, and who knows? It might end up being a Ferry Building Marketplace, instead of the Inner Harbor. I'm no futurist; but I draw a lot from the past, and when I was there just last night, all I could see was "tourist destination" - I might be completely wrong, but we'll need to wait a few years in order to find out for sure. Many of the restaurants there are affiliated with local restaurateurs, but ones with an eye towards growth and expansion (the devil in me thinks Kith and Kin might have been in the works during the existence of Shaw Bijou, but I really don't know) - yes, the restaurants will be good now, and for the near future during Review Season; I'm *extremely* skeptical about what will become of them. I'm not sure where you're originally from, but I remember when Baltimoreans were tremendously excited about the Inner Harbor (and really, what's so bad about a tourist destination anyway?) - hell, I knew people from Dundalk who were genuinely excited about the I-95 Travel Plaza (seriously - one of them took me there in 1987, and this is the person who introduced me to Schultz's Crab House). 

(Of course I don't mind you sharing your posts here - I wish you'd do it more often.)

SRJ, I also thought of the National Harbor, but right now The Wharf is just plain *better* - the National Harbor, with the possible exception of Old Hickory Steakhouse for a brief time, was always going to be for conventions, and not so much for residents. And I'm still pissed that they took "The Awakening" away from Hains Point, which is what it was designed for (even though I don't like the artist; I loved the sculpture there).

---

"The Awakening" - (SRJ)

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9 hours ago, DonRocks said:

I was asked to comment about DC's Best Dining Neighborhood by my friend Warren Rojas.

With due respect to other restaurant writers, some of whom are seduced by the new, the popular, the televised, and the highly publicized, I'm telling you right now that The Wharf will be to Washington, DC what The Inner Harbor is to Baltimore: A destination for tourists, but a place where locals will never go, except once a year when they're hosting out-of-town guests.

The smartest thing The Wharf could do would be to charge $10 for parking to anyone with a valid DMV driver's license.

You heard it here first. Sorry I'm not more popular - proclamations like this are why - but even though I'll never be famous during my lifetime, I sleep very well at night (actually, I don't, but it's not because of this).

---

PS - One of my New Year's resolutions is to write one, solid review per week. I've had many false starts in recent years; not this time, not if I can help it. Just think of me as the fugue in Beethoven's Hammerklavier.

Cheers,
Stable Genius <_<

It cannot be the best dining neighborhood if it is not a neighborhood.  (Besides which, I share Don's expectations for the Wharf.  And is *anything* currently there worth the $$, even now?)

Shaw is the trendy choice.  I wonder, though:  In terms of a single block, Upshur just east of Georgia would be pretty hard to beat.  And the answer to the query (best dining neighborhood) might actually be, shockingly enough, Adams Morgan!  TUG, Bros. & Sisters, the forthcoming Bruner-Yang and Gjerde joints, Donburi, Federalist Pig, Zenebech Injera, Mintwood, Lucky Buns, Keren, Henry's Soul Cafe.  Wow -- who would thunk?!

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7 hours ago, Marty L. said:

Shaw is the trendy choice.  I wonder, though:  In terms of a single block, Upshur just east of Georgia would be pretty hard to beat.  And the answer to the query (best dining neighborhood) might actually be, shockingly enough, Adams Morgan!  TUG, Bros. & Sisters, the forthcoming Bruner-Yang and Gjerde joints, Donburi, Federalist Pig, Zenebech Injera, Mintwood, Lucky Buns, Keren, Henry's Soul Cafe.  Wow -- who would thunk?!

I agree that with the addition of the restaurants at The Line Hotel, Adams Morgan is now a contender for best dining neighborhood. I think it will be interesting to keep an eye on how The Wharf evolves as new restaurants open.

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7 hours ago, Marty L. said:

It cannot be the best dining neighborhood if it is not a neighborhood.  (Besides which, I share Don's expectations for the Wharf.  And is *anything* currently there worth the $$, even now?)

This may not be the best comparison, but remember how good and *exciting* Rockville Town Square (where have you gone, Bobby's Crabcakes?) was when it first opened; now, it has all but gone to hell in a handbasket. The Wharf is *much* more highly financed for tourism, so that's where the analogy breaks down.

It was the recession that hit RTS hard - I believe that will also be an upcoming test of The Wharf, but it's in a more recession-resilient area.

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On 1/8/2018 at 10:37 AM, Ericandblueboy said:

What would bring the tourists to the Wharf?  There's nothing exciting there.  On the other hand, I take my kids to the Naval Yard frequently.

The skating rink has been a big draw this Winter. When it warms up, the boat ride past the Tidal Basin. Visiting families are always looking for something to combine eating/scenery/shopping in post-Museum pre-bedtime for kids. The Wharf will be mobbed by vacationers and regional visitors this coming Summer. 

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I think the three music venues (two open and one to come) combined with the thousands of residents who will soon be living there give hope that you'll have a lot more locals at the Wharf going forward. It's also quite easy to get to, similar to Navy Yard in that way, if you live or work in the city. When going to shows at the Anthem, which I've done four times so far, I've walked from my office near Union Station. 

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Now that Wharf has been open for awhile, are you finding yourself down there regularly?  I gave Kith & Kin two tries.... Del Mar is excellent but it's kind of a special occasion restaurant.  I suppose I should try Kaliwa but no one is really pimping it.  I'd like to check out the mercato at Officina but I'm not really going to shop there on a regular basis.

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We get to Artechouse fairly regularly and always dine at the Wharf after.  Have been a few times separately, but we're that wretched breed knows as MoCo Marylanders, so it's a haul down to the Wharf.

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On 12/7/2018 at 8:07 PM, Ericandblueboy said:

Now that Wharf has been open for awhile, are you finding yourself down there regularly?  I gave Kith & Kin two tries.... Del Mar is excellent but it's kind of a special occasion restaurant.  I suppose I should try Kaliwa but no one is really pimping it.  I'd like to check out the mercato at Officina but I'm not really going to shop there on a regular basis.

I'm honestly not that interested in trying many of the offerings at the Wharf, but I've driven there multiple times now (from Arlington) specifically for the mercato at Officina. It is awesome - highly recommended. Excellent fresh pasta, semolina loaves, cheese, house cured salami, biscotti, fritti of various types, roman pizza al taglio, and a whole butcher case. Delicious quarts of housemade soups. Chicken liver pate. Pints of housemade gelato. Seriously, as an Italian-focused home cook, I love this place.

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2 hours ago, Pat said:

For people who drive to the Wharf, where do you park?

I was going to ask a similar question, but I'm more interested in the Maine Avenue Seafood Market -- where does someone park who's lugging 5-10lbs of fresh seafood?

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45 minutes ago, stevem said:

There is a shuttle bus from lenfant and it’s generally easy to park there.

I assume you mean finding street parking on weekends around L'enfant?  I did that once this past summer, and biked from L'enfant to the wharf.

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12 hours ago, stevem said:

There is a shuttle bus from lenfant and it’s generally easy to park there.

Does that mean the Wharf has no parking?

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30 minutes ago, Kibbee Nayee said:

Does that mean the Wharf has no parking?

The Wharf has a parking garage with discounted parking for an hour if you buy at the fish market.  It fills up when there are shows at the Anthem and later in the day on weekends.  The website has real time garage occupancy info (click on car and parking).

From the Wharf's website:

Quote

Parking Garage

Our underground parking garage on Maine Avenue SW and open around the clock. There are three entrances: Blair Alley, Sutton Square and 7th Street Park.

Upon entering the garage, scan your ticket with ParkMobile (Zone 326) to make exiting a breeze! ParkMobile will automatically charge your account the appropriate amount, based on the duration of your stay. 

VIEW WHARF GARAGE ENTRANCES MAP

Fish Market: $2 for first hour with purchase and validation (please take the ticket with you for validation)
First 30 minutes: $5
1 Hour: $10
2 Hours: $17
3 Hours: $22
4 Hours: $25
More than 4 Hours: $35
Parking rates reset at 4am
Restaurant validation may apply to pricing. Please take ticket with you.

 

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