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The Caucus Room, Relocated from Penn Quarter to the Georgetown Westin Hotel at 24th and M Streets


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[posted on eGullet 2003-2004]

Last night at The Caucus Room, our table had some of the best wine service I've seen in Washington. Everything about the way we were treated was just about perfect: for starters, there was our wonderful server Rachael, who was as cordial and friendly as she was professional and organized. We had multiple bottles, sometimes several going at once, and she showed a remarkable talent in pouring everything at the right time and keeping all the glasses in order. The stemware they use is first rate, the wines were decanted correctly (the head sommelier even came over and gently decanted an older Hermitage through a candle), and our entire party left thinking that the $15 corkage fee per bottle ($90 for a total of six bottles) was well-deserved, so much so that extra cash was left for our server on top of a 20% tip. Kudos to Rachael and The Caucus Room for a wonderful dining experience.

Cheers,
Rocks.

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Caucus Room was my first "fine dining" experience in DC after I moved here from Indiana three years ago. (Try St. Elmo's if you're ever in Indianapolis and don't leave the state without Lowrey's chocolates in Muncie.)

Fresh out of college, my best friend was treating me to a birthday dinner. Our server could not have been more attentive and gracious--he guided us expertly through the menu and surprised us with a beautiful berry cheesecake (with candle) for dessert. It was a lovely entree to dining in this city--I wish every upscale restaurant would treat younger diners with the same respect. (Not every twentysomething is an appletini-swilling low-tipper!)

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We've had a couple of DC Crü dinners at the Caucus Room. The wine service has always been first rate. At the first dinner Rachel was our wine service person and she was perfect. She provided fresh glasses with each bottle of wine, made sure that the first taste (to check if the wine was corked) was done by the person who brought that particular bottle, and made everything look easy. Considering that we opened 9 bottles of wine that night, it was quite a feat to keep everything going so well.

Edited by dinwiddie
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The service at The Caucus Room is still terrific. Last night, I had dinner in their handsome bar, which they now term a "bistro." My bartender, Kevin, was very down-to-earth and friendly, while at the same time extremely professional and service-oriented. He displayed pretty much of a perfect balance, and is a credit to The Caucus Room.

From the regular dinner menu, an appetizer of Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes ($17) were two, two-ounce crab cakes of lump blue crab, with almost no filler, and an addictingly good lemon-herb tartar sauce. These are expensive (the entree portion is two four-ounce cakes for $34), but The Caucus Room tends to be expensive in general.

The bistro menu is less so, however, and my "dish of the night" was the Beef Tenderloin Quesadilla ($10), with chunks (probably end pieces) of filet mignon, stuffed with cheddar, monterey jack, and served with mounds of guacamole, pico de gallo, and sour cream. Cut into four wedges, this was ample, adequately gooey, and primally satisfying.

I mentioned to Kevin that this was a great dish for someone on a budget, and he urged me to try the Bistro Cheeseburger ($12) the next time I come in, served with french fries. I believe him when he says it's really good, and I will indeed order that burger.

To wash this all down with, I had drafts of Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA ($7.50 and worth it). In excellent condition, this beer is what you should be drinking here. Several years ago, I wrote an article for Washingtonian about the "Best Wine Lists" (click), and pretty much slammed the Caucus Room for their lousy, overpriced list. I'm afraid to say this still applies in a big, big way - I counted 169 selections, chalk full of laughable supermarket-quality wines, overpriced by ridiculous amounts. They did manage to have a "La Flaive" Chardonnay, and also one from the "Nappa Valley" on their poorly edited list of ghoulish mediocrities.

Let me add, however, that The Caucus Room allows diners to bring in their own wines for a $25 corkage fee ($50 for a magnum), with a two-bottle limit per table, and based on my last experience, has some of the absolute best wine service in town, truly. I've brought my own wine here in the past, and was made to feel like royalty by the gracious staff from start to finish. Let me also add that neither Kevin, nor anyone else there, knew that I was scrutinizing their list for the purposes of warning people away from it; they had no way to know. (Actually, that wasn't my "purpose" in scrutinizing the list, but my memory about the article was prompted when I did.)

Cheers,

Rocks.

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Nice post. I have eaten here maybe a dozen times on expense account lunches with downtown executives, and found it to have proper service and a conducive atmosphere for business discussions. I've also eaten at Sam and Harry's, which is related, so I tend to gravitate in both cases to the twin medallions of beef, available at both Caucus and S&H (and Tap Room I believe). I'm going to have to try the bistro next time I'm in the neighborhood.

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Hi. Has anyone had recent experiences with The Caucus Room? I would love to know what you think of their food and service. Thanks.

This may be a little late to help you, but according to the opening question in Tom Sietsema's chat this week, it has been rebranded as Social Reform (same ownership, I believe).

I'd actually heard a rumor, months ago, that The Caucus Room was "going out of business." Just goes to show the importance of fact checking before racing to post.

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According to Tom, it's just the front room that's been rebranded, though.

Ah, I see - I misread what he wrote, and apparently the Caucus Room lives on. I'd bet that you can still get the full restaurant menu in the bar area (you could before), so ... off to retitling land I go again. :wacko:Each one of these little changes takes about 10 minutes of my day - they add up.

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Ah, I see - I misread what he wrote, and apparently the Caucus Room lives on. I'd bet that you can still get the full restaurant menu in the bar area (you could before), so ... off to retitling land I go again. :wacko:Each one of these little changes takes about 10 minutes of my day - they add up.

[Or not.

This is a moderator's nightmare. Here goes:

The Caucus Room is now located in the Westin at 2350 M Street NW.

The "old" Caucus Room is now rebranded as Social Reform (yet, they advertise that they have private "Caucus Rooms").

So, given that both restaurants are under the same ownership, I'm faced with the first-time-ever dilemma of making *this* thread apply to The Caucus Room (which means that the name takes precedence), or Social Reform (which means that the location takes precedence).

What to do, what to do.

I think I'm going to keep it as The Caucus Room (since the ownership and name are the same), and we'll start a new thread for Social Reform (despite the ownership and location being the same). They absolutely must have two threads.

So from this point forward, anything in this thread will refer to The Caucus Room in the Georgetown Westin.]

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