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Visiting Andrews Air Show This Weekend


chris lewis
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Hello,

I am new to list and have a personal, ulterior motive to joining. I live in Northern NJ and will be visiting the DC area, with my 16 year old son, this weekend (5/16 &17).

We will be spending Friday at the Smithsonian and then staying the night in Laurel MD before heading to the air show at Andrews on Saturday.

My question for the list is where to have dinner Friday night? Should we stay in DC or is there decent dining in the Laurel area?

We will be taking the Metro in from Greenbelt and have Metro passes so we can go anywhere the Metro goes. Also we’ll be driving from Greenbelt up to Laurel.

Are there any “must eat at” or “if you go to DC you’ve got to go to” places?

My son is well traveled and an experienced dinner. We’re from the NYC metro so prices don’t really scare us. And obviously we’re looking for more of a “guy” place, red leather and steaks maybe?

Any ideas would be great!

Thanks!

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Hello,

I am new to list and have a personal, ulterior motive to joining. I live in Northern NJ and will be visiting the DC area, with my 16 year old son, this weekend (5/16 &17).

We will be spending Friday at the Smithsonian and then staying the night in Laurel MD before heading to the air show at Andrews on Saturday.

My question for the list is where to have dinner Friday night? Should we stay in DC or is there decent dining in the Laurel area?

We will be taking the Metro in from Greenbelt and have Metro passes so we can go anywhere the Metro goes. Also we’ll be driving from Greenbelt up to Laurel.

Are there any “must eat at” or “if you go to DC you’ve got to go to” places?

My son is well traveled and an experienced dinner. We’re from the NYC metro so prices don’t really scare us. And obviously we’re looking for more of a “guy” place, red leather and steaks maybe?

Any ideas would be great!

Thanks!

Can we assume you'll be going to dinner immediately after touring the Smithsonian, and that you won't need to Metro back to Greenbelt first? And will you be having lunch down near the mall? Will you be having dinner Saturday after the air show? And will you want breakfast in Laurel?

Mitsitam Cafe is your no-brainer for lunch, but Friday dinner is more complicated: Fogo de Chao, Les Halles, or Capital Grille are obvious choices for a steak (The Caucus Room and Charlie Palmer will be too dressy for having just toured around). But all of these are also chains and not quintessentially DC. Let's see what others have to say about some more interesting, home-grown options based on your replies...

Cheers,

Rocks.

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Perhaps Ray's the Classics...which I believe would be somewhat on your way back to Greenbelt from downtown.

Can we assume you'll be going to dinner immediately after touring the Smithsonian, and that you won't need to Metro back to Greenbelt first? And will you be having lunch down near the mall? Will you be having dinner Saturday after the air show? And will you want breakfast in Laurel?

Mitsitam Cafe is your no-brainer for lunch, but Friday dinner is more complicated: Fogo de Chao, Les Halles, or Capital Grille are obvious choices for a steak (The Caucus Room and Charlie Palmer will be too dressy for having just toured around). But all of these are also chains and not quintessentially DC. Let's see what others have to say about some more interesting, home-grown options based on your replies...

Cheers,

Rocks.

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Sorry, I should have been clearer. We do not have to return to Greenbelt after the Smithsonian. We'll be parking the car in Greenbelt, of course, and at some point will need to get back there so we can drive up to the hotel in Laurel. Other then that we have all of Friday evening. Although that raises an interesting point. We will be dressed in comfortable traveling cloths so we may be dress code challenged.

Chris

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Oh, and we're just going to grab something fast for lunch. It's our first visit to the Smithsonian so we want as much time as possible there. Once it closes we have the evening to enjoy a nice dinner.

chris

The only way to grab something fast for lunch is to actually eat in one the museums or from a cart. There's not much else really close. You'd have to walk a few blocks to find something. And, if you're going to eat in a museum, you should hit Mitsitam Cafe, as Don suggested, in the American Indian Museum. Even if you aren't planning on that being one of the museums you visit, it's right next to the Air and Space Museum and it won't waste a lot of time.

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The only way to grab something fast for lunch is to actually eat in one the museums or from a cart. There's not much else really close. You'd have to walk a few blocks to find something. And, if you're going to eat in a museum, you should hit Mitsitam Cafe, as Don suggested, in the American Indian Museum. Even if you aren't planning on that being one of the museums you visit, it's right next to the Air and Space Museum and it won't waste a lot of time.

Mitsitam Cafe it is!! I googled and see that it is native Piscataway Indian for Let's eat. We live minutes away from the town Piscataway in NJ!!! Sounds like fate and a good lunch.

Thanks for the suggestion. Now on to dinner.

chris

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If the weather is nice, sit outside at Les Halles and enjoy a steak and some people watching.

That's not a bad idea, but it does seem weird to send someone from the NYC area to the DC branch of Les Halles for a steak. ;)

I don't know if Ray's the Classics in Silver Spring is quintessentially DC, but it is definitely a local joint. Prime steaks without pretention at far less than prime prices. And it's less than a 10 minute detour from Greenbelt Metro heading back to Laurel. When you hop back on 495, instead of exiting on 95 North, go 3 more miles to Exit 30, Colesville Rd (Rte 29 South). Ray's is about 1.5 miles down on the right, just before Georgia Ave.

Also, though it's not a steak destination, the Green Line (the Metro line that Greenbelt is on) passes right through the U St. station. There is probably the greatest collection of Ethiopian restaurants outside of, ummmm, Ethiopia. Queen Makeda, Etete, and Dukem are among the standouts there. According to the Ethiopian Embassy, DC has the largest Ethiopian population in the world outside of Ethiopia, which I suppose makes it pretty quintessentially DC. That neighborhood also has a lot of historic significance, being linked with Duke Ellington and once known as "Black Broadway." And you can get mediocre diner food with a ton of local cultural history at Ben's Chili Bowl, right around the corner from the station.

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Yeah, sending a pseudo-New Yorker to Les Halles seems a bit superfluous.

IMHO DC's most distinctive restaurants (i.e. not what you could find elsewhere) tend to be humble and ethnic, but it sounds like you're looking for an impressive atmosphere and Metro-accessibility as well. This town is more about political power than liquid wealth, so I'd agree with ohstate and lean towards something like Old Ebbitt Grill, which practically radiates a sense of "important decisions made here all the time", even if it is a part of the Clyde's group.

Or how about the Oval Room?

It would be nice if the Hotel Washington's new owners would install (1) a serious chef and (2) seating on the rooftop terrace when they reopen (à la the fictional restaurant in "No Way Out"), but that's a moot point until next year.

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Personally, I'd rather spend as much time as possible at the museums then stroll somewhere for dinner, rather than try to figure out what exit to take on the highway and worrying about whether I'd be late for a reservation. Not to mention that a reservation might not be possible at this late date. Old Ebbitt Grill works too.

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What about Kinkead's? More seafood-y than steak but seems to have the feeling you're looking for. It's not far from the Smithsonian and it's close to metro (even if it's not the right line and requires a transfer).

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Wow, great info, thank you all!!

Some more input from me. I wasn't really looking for "quintessentially DC". Sometimes there are must see places in a city. Like in NYC if you were to go there and wanted a memorable, special, romatic dinner you MUST go to the River Cafe in Brooklyn. That's a bad example because that's not what we're really looking for. Maybe a better example would be Windows on the World atop the Wor;d Trade Center (of course that fell the terrible fate of 9/11/01) or Tavern on the Green in Central Park. Now none of these would work for my son and I due to our long day traveling and touring and therefore not being properly dressed. But we have choices here that are more low key, the above are just the more famous in NYC that came to mind.

I guess we're really looking for some good dinner suggestions with a few things in mind:

1. We will be driving down from NJ leaving home around 6am and spending the day at the Smithsonian so we will not be very "fresh" or well dressed.

2. I know we can always go to a TGIF (yuck) or Ruth Chris' (a notch or 3 above yuck) but would rather like to try something we can't get here.

Ray's looks interesting. It looks like we could go to our hotel in Laurel and freshen up before dinner. How important are reservations? Are walk in's discouraged or just require some waiting?

Thanks again everyone. This list is an amazing find!!!!

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Personally, I'd rather spend as much time as possible at the museums then stroll somewhere for dinner, rather than try to figure out what exit to take on the highway and worrying about whether I'd be late for a reservation. Not to mention that a reservation might not be possible at this late date. Old Ebbitt Grill works too.

Old Ebbitt Grill looks good too!

The food here, I assume, is good?

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