DCFoodies.com DC Restaurant Week - August 2006 - DCFoodies.com

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Jul 24, 2006



So I need to figure out a strategy here - I want to be able to get a reservation at 1789 - unlike the last 6 restaurant weeks when I get shut out. What's the best method? Can you book this far ahead?


Call and see. I don't see why not.


Adam, be willing to go later on a week night. I got a reservation last Jan without too much trouble. Although, for the record, I didn't think it was worth the hassle. It was definitely great food and a great atmosphere, but it didn't seem terribly unaffordable (for a special occasion! not everyday!) without the restaurant week; the entrees are all around $30.


Ok, so if that's not the best place to go, what would you recommend? If I was only to go to ONE place during all of Restaurant Week (god forbid), where should I go?


Hello Adam,

If I had to choose 1 to visit I would go to Galileo. You could also go to opentable.com and see which ones are classified with $$$$ meaning they are normally the most expensive.


Hi, Jason. When you said "Talk to you in July," did you mean you and your adorable family will be away (and not blogging) for the rest of June? Say it isn't so, but only if it isn't so!


Tiffani Stanton

MCLEAN, VA 22012


I would NOT suggest Galileo...it was my worst RW experience ever...let's just say the food was horrible, as was the service...

1789 does not take reservations online this far in advance, but they may take them via phone. It's always one of my RW staples. Haven't been there since the new chef took over, though...


I went to Galileo for RW last year for lunch. I thought the food was quite good and the service was fine. We were in a large group (10 I think?) and were still able to get a reservation maybe only a week or two in advance.


Just an FYI, kids: 1789 is NOT participating in RW this year (I just called and tried to get reservations). But they apparently are offering a summer coupon on their website soon that offers basically the same 3-course deal and is available all summer. Also, don't forget that 1789 has the after-hours menu and pre-theater deal that are also RW specials available all the time.


Try Red Sage or IndeBleu. Those are definitely the best dining experiences I've had in DC, they both serve their full menus during restaurant week (instead of a paltry selection like at Galileo or other big-name joints), and they're both pricey enough to make it well worth the restaurant week crowds. I can't wait to go back.


IndeBleu does not offer a full menu and their wine selection is overpriced. It was not a good experience for us.


I went to Red Sage last summer during RW for lunch and it wasn't anything spectacular.


Hi Adam, If you can't make it to 1789 during restuarant week. 1789 is having their Summer offer again:$35 3-courses until Sept 13th.


Thanks for the info! I went ahead and made a reservation for Indebleu, but then saw Sarah's comment about not offering the full menu - anyone know for sure yay or nay?


I heard that you cannot do RW reservations until a month before hand....meaning tomorrow. Is this true? Also, is there a comprehensive list that details the restaurants participating? Is it the same as the ones that participated in the winter RW? So many questions. Thank you for your help and advice!


I've never heard that before. There will be a comprehensive list published soon on the DC Convention and Tourism web site. Also I'll post something here soon as well. The restaurants that participate from year to year are generally the same, with a few exceptions. The best thing to do is call for a reservation and ask.


I made reservations more than a month out for 1789 in January since I, too, had been shut out for many years. I just took a guess they'd participate and it paid off. Too bad they are not participating this time around, but the summer special sounds like a good deal. For the record, I quite enjoyed my meal (scallops), but Darling Boyfriend (who paid the upcharge for their signature lamb) was less pleased. This was about three weeks after the new chef took over the kitchen.


The list is up!



I have three places i really want to try for restaurant week...Galileo, Kinkeads, and TenPenn. Anyone have plus' or minus' during for them during restaurant week?


Galileo was NOT a good RW experience for me--neither the food nor the service made me want to return. Never done Kinkead's, but my colleague says it's a great RW lunch spot. TenPenh usually offers their full menu, don't they?

So far, I have dinner reservations at Palette, Cafe 15, Vidalia (been there twice and LOVE it), DC Coast, and Corduroy. Yay!


TenPenn was fine, but nothing special this past Janurary, and service was unbearable (and I'm not that picky). . . I'm doing Corduroy, Vidalia, Indebleu, and Arcadiana (LOVE me some Creole/ Cajun goodness)! My top two are Vidalia and Corduroy.


The one and only time I went to Galileo was when they were having a half price special for people on their email list. The service was fine but the food was nothing special at all. I was very dissappointed and this was after only paying half price! The wine list is also ridiculously overpriced. I was shocked but then read later in the Washingtonian that they are known for overcharging on their wine list. I would def suggest trying something else. Komi or Palena would be great restaurant week alternatives and Corduroy is an amazing time.


Rasika has their RW menu posted...if you can tolerate weeding through the flash set up.

Vidalia does, too.


Last year we did IndeBlue. They did NOT offer their full menu. They did post a RW menu (on their eye-hurting website). Since my SO and I were interested in all the offerings, we ended up going. The food was very good, and service was pretty decent.

But, as with any RW, if the selection is limited and you don't like the selections, you will probably not enjoy it.

My suggestion is to make a reservation, then wait for them to post a menu. If you like the choices, then go. If not, find another restaurant to try. No point in paying even the "discounted" $30 if you end up ordering dishes you don't want to try.


What about a steak place. I have had a fabolous experience at Smith and Wollensky, but I want to try something new. A guy at Bobby Vans said he used to work at Sam and Harrys and it was the place to go (full menu). Would you recommend this place or somewhere else?


I liked District Chophouse quite well the time I went. It was in RW the last time around, haven't looked to see if it's in this time.


I think there might be a Charlie Palmer, I know there is a Bobby Vans as well.
I would personally caution people to stay away from Ruth Chris. I was there on a regular event and the steak was extremley overrated. Why would resturant week be any better.


Restaurant Week is a symptom of just how perversely overpriced DC's food scene is. $30 pre-tax ain't cheap for a meal. Tack on $10-15/head for wine, 20% tip, and 10% tax, and you get $55-$60/head for limited menu options. And you have to fight to get a reservation. I suppose if you want to say I "ate a Galileo," it makes sense. But it would be cheaper to eat a few pretzels at the bar.


I agree with quez, I have been wholly unimpressed with DC's "high-end" food scene. Too much style and not enough substance.


Hence all the discussion and hard work by Jason to provide everyone with information on what each restaurant is offering. Some good restaurants DO offer their entire menu for RW. And others offer you two choices. If you don't do your research, you may get scheisted.

There are plenty of good restaurants in DC, if you find restaurants based on food, not just popularity.

Jason (but not Jason)

I agree with Wahoooob's earlier comments about limited menus. If you've wanted to try a place and it has a limited menu, make a reservation. If the menu doesn't appeal to all, cancel it. In January, my best meal and service was at Cafe 15, even though we only had 2 choices for each course. We were treated exceptionally well, which I hadn't expected. This summer, I'll try Tosca and Nora.


Any word on some of the menus? Betterfield 9 has theirs up on their website. Anyone seen any of the others?


Last year we ate at the following:
Butterfield 9: Strange service, tiny portions, and one entree had to be sent back because it was totally inedible. Interesting food, though - I wished that it would have tasted as good as it sounded.
Tenh Penh: Excellent food, average service. I especially liked the small samples of things (like gazpacho in a little shot-like glass) that they brought between meals.
Corduroy: The biggest disappointment of them all. I can't even remember what I ate. I do remember that there was a dessert that was like a big candy bar, and it was very good.
Dino: BEST restaurant in DC. Best service, best food, etc. We even bought a set of the flatware that they set their tables with. Every detail was perfect. Get the cheese course. Skip the wine pairing and buy a bottle instead.

And seriously....Could someone please explain why everyone seems to think that Corduroy is such hot stuff? No one ever seems to have a substantive review that says anything other than "it's great." When we went, every last bit of it was disappointing.

My best bit of "restaurant week advice" is to go EARLY. Go ahead and take the 5:30 or 6:00 reservation. You get the best of the ingredients in the kitchen and the wait staff isn't at their wits end...and neither is the kitchen.


Last year my bf and I decided to try two lunches one mid-week and one late sunday. We figured we were getting to try two great places and would get more for our money. If you arent planning on going away for the weekend this year I would recommend a late lunch/early dinner over the weekend. Most places serve lunch until 4pm anyway. We tried Mie N Yu which was totally amazing and also tried Vidalia's which had an amazing Peach Crisp for dessert, and I actually heard the lunch menu for Vidalias was better than the dinner. This year we are going to do dinner because of weekend plans at Smith and Wollenskys, does anyone remember what they served for the price fixe menu in the past?


I'm updating this post this weekend with links to Restaurant menus if they are posted on their web sites or if they've sent me the information.


Great - I have been nagging Indebleu for theirs, and have been getting zero response.


Avoid DC Chophouse for RW! I wasted my $20.06 lunch there last Jan. They had a very limited menu, I seem to recall only 2 choices for each course! I was stuck with beef tips in gravy on rice. What a waste of one of my 2 RW lunches for the year!


I made reservations for IndeBleu but now I'm wondering about their RW menu


I have the Indebleu RW menu - I gave it to Jason to post, but I guess he has been busy. Email me if you want it and I will forward it on.


I am taking my Dad to The Caucus Room for his birthday which falls during RW...any go a previous year? Do you recommend it or should I switch to Colvert Run which is also available?


Personally, I'd go with Colvin Run Tavern.


I went to the Caucus room last summer for RW. It was a good meal and I felt I got my money's worth. It is possible you get more bang for your buck elsewhere but I left very pleased after having a lovely dinner and some nice wine. Could have been the wine that left me so pleased. I'd go again if there weren't so many to check off the list!


I reserved online w/ Seasons at the Four Seasons 3 weeks ago for Sun. lunch & they just called to cancel saying they were not participating for lunch. Of course, by many of the better spots & times are taken.

I have done David Greggory for dinner in the past & I would not recommend it. Lukewarm food, uncomfortable seating & poor service.

Right now, I'm thinking of trying Charliei Palmer for dinner, but now I have to search for a Sunday lunch spot.


Tosca has posted their RW menu: http://www.toscadc.com/rest%20week.htm


David Greggory has a great happy hour and does a fun Pinot Noir night on Wednesdays - a better way to experience the restaurant than RW. davidgreggory.com.

I second the comment about Cafe 15. The service is much above most DC restaurants and the food is excellent. During RW last year, I went with a large, unruly bunch and they were exceptionally gracious even in the face of such adversity.


Bangkok Joe's has also posted their RW menu on their website. www.bangkokjoes.com

they have 2 appitizer options and 4 entree options.


anyone been to Willow yet?

Jason (but not Jason)

For RW, do you tip based on the RW price or on the amount that the total would have been on another week? The difference isn't huge, but it can be more than a buck or two for the wait staff. I've always tipped based on my estimate of the real price, but people with me recently thought that was a bit much. What do you think?


Tosca was yum. yummity, yum, yum YUM. Had the veal and spinach ravioli to start (sweet lord!), then scallops (eh--the pork and the lamb chops ordered by my friends were much better--guess I am not a sage fan), and finished with the the special strawberry crisp that wasn't on the menu--I highly suggest this or the chocolate cake with hazelnut ice cream (it tastes even better than it looks).

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