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Jul 24, 2006

Comments

Jason (but not Jason)

I just posted a few minutes ago, but I have to second Sarah's raves about Tosca. Went there for lunch today, and I'm not sure whether the food or service was better--both were outstanding. I had the octopus/scallop appetizer, halibut (good but I'd try something else next time), and the peach strudel. I tried the Scapinasch and sorbets too (off other plates), and they were both excellent. A happy RW day for me.

Adam

For RW, I have always tipped like 25% or so. I'm sure the staff isnt thrilled about the lower prices (i.e. lower tips), but I bet they make it up in volume.

DD

Does anyone know what is on the menu at Smith & Wollensky?

Tonya

Has anyone done Galileo's? I'm booked there for lunch Sunday, but I'm apprehensive because of their terrible RW reviews. If anyone takes a look, is anything good still available for an early lunch on Sunday?

Jen

I've gone to Smith and Wollensky for the last two restaurant weeks, and I'm scheduled to be there again later this week. In the past, you could order any steak off the menu as your entree (I think I've always done the filet, which is about $32 normally). Desserts were more limited, to about three items (including a massive slice of cheesecake). I'm blanking on the first course. You can, of course, add a la carte sides for the usual menu price.

After only hitting a couple restaurants during the last RW, this year, I'm going all out, with six meals booked (five dinners, one lunch). Corduroy (last night), Vidalia (tonight), Ceiba, Smith and Wollensky, DC Coast and Acadiana are all on my list.

I'm not doing Tosca this RW, though I've done it twice during previous RWs and have generally been impressed. Last year, I did it on Sunday at the end of the week, and it seemed as if the servers were all weary. Ambience suffered, too, as we were seated on the light, sidewalk side of the restaurant, rather than darker, cozier sections.

Corduroy has long been a favorite of mine (and, to the earlier poster who wondered why it's gotten such love, I can say it's consistently tasty and well-plated, and I've always found the service to be excellent. Portions are also large, which is something I can appreciate at times.)

I've been to Corduroy five times now, and last night's meal was strong, as usual. I had the braised short rib for entree (it was a special item, without surcharge, last night) and the tomato totonno, a warm dish with rare tuna and diced red tomatoes. The signature kit-kat-like chocolate dessert bars were not on the menu but were offered as a special item last night (though my companion and I had the chocolate sabayon (rich, moist, dense chocolatey goodness with a hazelnut wafer and chocolate ice cream, and a blueberry tart).

The negatives of our experience last night were few: the wait time between first course and the entree was unusually long, and my boyfriend's delicious corn chowder had a skin when it was served.

I typically tip based on what the meal would have cost (or my best estimate of the same). I'm naturally more inclined to do a 20 percent tip on actual menu prices when the service matches a non-RW experience.

Heather

I ate at Ceiba with friends last night and it was fantastic. They offer 5 apps: shrimp ceviche, 2 soups, and 2 salads. Then they allow you to pick any entree from the menu (surcharge on 2 items), then 3 dessert choices: chocolate cake, flan, panna cotta.
The ceviche was incredible. Was not too excited about my friend's conch chowder, but another friend got the black bean soup and it was tasty. Our table got scallops, salmon, and halibut. All were good, but the flavor of the halibut was great, no fishy taste whatsover. The desserts are lacking with the panna cotta and flan. The chocolate cake is like a brownie and very, very tasty.

Anne

I am excited about Smith and Wollensky from the review above. I will be there on Friday.

Went to Season's last night and although I was initially disappointed when I looked at the selection, I ended up being fairly pleased. They offered two selections for each course which was a big let down. 1st courses were Gazpacho or a Scallop/Mussel dish (1 scallop, about 5 mussels.) 2nd ourse was a Chicken dish with potatoes and asparagus or a red snapper with a corn, pea, potato succotash and a sweet sauce. And dessert was a key lime mousse/tart (that they toted as being cheese cake but was very light and airy so I will call it a mousse) or i think a margarita sorbet.

I had the scallop, snapper and cheesecake. It was a good meal and we had good wine. The portions were small but the waitstaff was extremely attentive.

For RW I tip 20% on the price on my bill. more for excellent service.

Sarah

Yesterday, I went to The Caucus Room for lunch. The meal was pretty basic, but the portions were good sized. The had two choices for app (two meatballs or a green salad), three for entree (tilapia, steak frits, or chicken) and two for dessert (cannoli or chocolate mousse). We all had steak and it was a little too chewy. The meatballs to start were pretty good, but the salad was bare bones basic, and the chocolate mousse was gorgeous and tasty (the cannoli looked good too).

Sarah

As a sidebar on The Caucus Room is that they also offer 20.06 bottles of wine for lunch that are quite good--and the service was SO friendly that we all left with a smile.

Lauren

Did Smith and Wollensky for lunch on Monday and was quite disappointed in both the service and selection. Choice of soup or basic salads for app; entree choices were limited to a filet, salmon, or chicken, none of which really came with anything to share the plate; dessert was fresh fruit or plain NY cheesecake. Eh. Our waiter very much treated us like we were there for RW and not the normal service you expect and get at S&W. He came around a bit at the end, but really was not up to their standards.

I'd avoid it.

Jason

Perry's last night left me a little disappointed. All portions, aside from the sushi plate, were very, very small. The "heirloom" tomatoes in the tomato salad looked and tasted like normal tomatoes to me. The red wine service outside is attrocious. They leave it out in the 80 degree heat and it comes out to the table just as hot. I think it actually cooled off a little as I drank it. Stick with white wine if you go to Perry's and site outside.

Lynn

My friends and I went to Acadiana last Monday for RW and I have to say that it was YUMMY! We had gumbo, corn chowder and deviled eggs for apps for 1st course. All of them was tantalizing to our eyes. For 2nd course, I had the blackened tuna and the chocolate bread pudding for dessert. I must say that I left the restaurant full and very much satisfied. The portions and the taste of the food was amazing. I definitely will have Acadiana as a "MUST" for RW. Looking forward to Bobby Van's and Indique for the rest of the week.

Another Sarah

Anyone know if Notti Bianche is having discounted wine pairings again?

Rob

I don't see much about Kaz Sushi Bistro's RW approach for lunch. I have never been and am wondering if RW would be the best time to go, given they have some tasting platters for $15 and $19 on their regular menu.

DD

Does anyone know what is on the Ruth's Chris menu?

Laura

Just heard from another source that Notti Bianche has wine pairings for $15 for RW.

FYI

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heirloom_tomato

Anne

Just back from lunch at Willow. it was excellent. The RW menu had a choice of tomato salad, corn, potato and leek chowder (excellent!!), caesar salad, or gazpacho. the main courses were Willow burger, shrimp mango salad chicken pot pie and a vegitarian dish that I forgot to check out. Desserts were key lime tart, chocolate tort or banana split.

I have the chowder, burger and banana split and it was excellent! The burger had suated mushroom and onions and a distinctive red wine taste and came with steak fries. My table mates had rave reviews of the caesar salad and the chicken pot pie. The shrimp salad was a small portion and everything was seperate. About 5 shrimp, some avacado slices, orange sections and mango strips. Looked good and very light.

I left very full and satisfied :)

Denise

Anybody been to Nora for RW? I've never been, and thought this would be a good opportunity to check it out without paying the usual prices. (Yes, I do have a reservation.) Good idea? Bad idea?

Jason

I think it's a good idea. I thought about trying them this week as well, but I just didn't have time in my schedule.

Emily

Anyone know how Cafe Atlantico's lunch menu is for RW?

Jason (but not Jason)

Denise--I think it's a good idea (from a selfish standpoint) because I'd like to know what was offered and how the service was. From a more objective standpoint, if you're given more than a choice between lentils and cabbage (Nora is not inexpensive usually), RW would be a great time to try something you might not usually try (like Nora). It will also be interesting to see how a restaurant (and wait staff) new to RW will treat RW.

JoeHoya

Hate to be the first one to do this, but I'm here to post the first negative RW experience (as far as I can tell). My wife and I have been eager to try the Morrison-Clark Inn for a meal, so we decided to take advantage of RW to give it a shot.

Suffice it to say, I had to step away from the table between our entrees and desserts to speak to the manager after a series of service snafus:

1. We arrived early to take advantage of their porch Happy Hour special, which several sites I visted (incorrectly) reported as occurring on Wednesdays and Thursdays throughout the summer. As it turns out, Happy Hours are only on Thursday. So I ordered a Jack & Ginger Ale instead of a signature drink. I received a Jack & Coke instead, and we did not see another server on the porch for the next 20 minutes. Finally we gave up and went inside.

2. Our server failed to inform us of the fish of the day, requiring us to ask him when he asked if we were ready to order.

3. My wife's crab bisque was delivered without a soup spoon, and I was served the wrong appetizer altogether.

4. Breads are delivered to the table by a server, but they didn't reach us until after we had already received our appetizers and the server who brought them was unable to tell me what type of muffin she was offering - needless to say, I passed.

I felt compelled to bring all of this to the attention of the manager, and she thanked me for doing so in a discreet and straightforward manner.

Generally speaking, I consider service an important part of the meal - almost as important as the quality of the food itself. Which means that a stellar meal can overcome service like this.

Unfortunately, no such meal was to be had at Morrisson-Clark. They offered six appetizers and six entrees (two of each category carried upcharges of $5 and $10). My wife had the crab bisque and the rainbow trout (for a $5 upcharge). I had the shrimp and grits (for a $5 upcharge) and the crab cakes.

The appetizers were both good, if not stellar, and the entrees were both decent. The disappointing aspect of the meal was the sides - "southern fried rice" with the rainbow trout was bland and greasy, and heirloom tomatoes that accompanied the crab cakes were mealy and soft.

All in all, this was our most disappointing RW experience to date - and we've been doing this for four years now.

Heather

Ate at Indebleu last night for the first time and have to say that it does not live up to the hype or it's usual prices. The menu is very limited, but interesting, so that you will choose something out of your comfort zone. I believe they had 4 apps, 4 entrees and 2 desserts. My table got the samosas, the bacon app with cabbage, and the shaved peach salad. Very small portions which is to be expected at a french-indo fusion place. The samosas were boring and like Julias empanadas. The bacon app was 2 1/4 inch slices of bacon on top of cabbage. The thick bacon was just sort of gross. The entrees everyone got were the monkfish and the chicken. Both very tasty, but just not the wow factor we were all expecting. The desserts were yummy though: chocolate mousse with caramelized bananas and caramel ice cream, and ginger and vanilla ice cream. The service was about a 6. Never refilled our water glasses, constantly kept trying the wrong plates to the wrong people, and they pack you into the restaurant like sardines.
All in all, I am glad we went because I had really been wanting to try it, but I am also glad that I went when it only cost $30.06. Will not be going back for the full price fare. Trying Corduroy Thurs. night and cannot wait.

Lynn

Well, my girlfriends and I went to Bobby Van's on 15th St for RW. The food was good, but presentation needs a little work. I started 1st course with choices of field of greens or caesar salad, 2nd entree with petite filet mignon and NY cheesecake for dessert. I must say the filet mignon was perfectly cooked and tasty. Portion was bigger than I expected, but the sides (mashed potatoes & creamed spinach) left little to be desired for. It needed to have more presentation other than putting meat with 2 veggies on a plain white plate. As for the dessert, it was really good. They also offered several choices for 1/2 bottles wine for RW. That was certainly an added bonus since the prices were cheaper than you getting a glass of wine from their bar. The service was great and very friendly. Indique on Friday for me and looking forward to it.

Bob

It would be nice if people posting their reviews would make clear whether they went for lunch or dinner.

Matt

I went to open table and booked Smith & Wollensky for Saturday for dinner. I did it through the Smith & Wollensky site. It didnt say anything about restaurant week. Will this be a problem when i go? I am a newbie at this and since i booked online i couldnt tell them on the phone im doing it for restaurant week.

JoeHoya

My Morrison-Clark experience was a dinner last night.

Heather, we tried Corduroy a few RWs ago, and we loved it. Hope you have the same positive experience.

Matt - you might want to call the restaurant and check with their reservations people just to make sure everything is kosher. Otherwise, I wouldn't worry too much.

VP of Dior

It's a shame 1789 isn't participating. I went there for the last RW and it was delicious.The service was immpecable. I also went to Galileo last RW and was disappointed by the service and flavor of the food.

So far this week I've gone to Acadiana and Georgia Brown's. Tonight I have a reso for Corduroy and I am very excited about that.

Acadiana - Overall it was OK. The trio of deviled eggs was good and I had the BBQ shrimp po boy. The shrimp was well cooked and tangy, but the sandwich was lacking additional ingredients. Maybe I'm mistaken but I thought a po boy consisted of more than just shrimp and bread.

Georgia Brown's - Their RW special menu had two options for each entree. For my appetizer I selected a shrimp cocktail kabob with a rum sauce glaze and mango chunks. It was good. My boyfriend opted to order from the regular menu and got a bowl of she-crab soup. I can honestly say it was the best she-crab soup I've had. It was thick but not overpowering.

My main course from the RW menu was a New York Strip steak with goat cheese and peppercorn and a grits cake. Outstanding, really. The steak was done to perfection and the goat cheese was a nice compliment to the tangy peppercorn. I don't even like grits, but the grit cake had a firm texture that reminded me of a tater tot! BF got the fried chicken on top of garlic mashed potatoes with collard greens. The chicken was very moist and the skin was buttery.

For dessert I had an apple tart and BF had a pecan chocolate pie. My tart was OK, but BF's was very good and not too rich.

The waiter was very attentive and the entrees were paced well. It was busy for a Monday (being the start of RW) so I was bracing myself for snags in the service, but there were none. Overall, I was very impressed with Georgia Brown's!

Amy_DC

I just returned from a Restaurant Week lunch at the Monocle. The last ten minutes in the restaurant turned what had up until that point been a positive experience, into a very unpleasant one. When the bill arrived, my party of four split the total of $90.00 four ways, and added in a 20% tip. Two of us had cash to cover our portions, and the other two had credit cards. So that our server could receive his entire tip in cash, we instructed him to put $27 on both of the cards and to keep the $54 cash. He looked puzzled, and reminded us that the amount charged on the credit card would not include gratuity. We indicated that we were aware of that, and that the gratuity was in the cash. We continued the uncomfortable back and forth conversation with the server, as he pointed out that some guests are not aware that the amount charged on a credit card does not include the gratuity. The server took our cards and cash and went to the back of the restaurant to process the cards. He returned with the two receipts from our credit cards, and we signed the receipts and placed them on the table. The server picked up the receipts, began to walk away, and returned after realizing that we did not add a tip to the two credit card receipts. We explained (again) that the tip was included in the cash. The server appeared to act as if he did not believe us and began counting the cash in front of us. I indicated that it was insulting for him to stand there and count it in front of us, as he should have counted the cash when he ran the credit cards. If he had counted it then, he would have realized that we left him a generous tip. On the way out, we stopped and relayed the experience to a manager, who was apologetic. Personally, I have never been that insulted by a server and will never return to the restaurant. Hopefully I can save some of you from an equally insulting experience.

Jen

I went to Ceiba for lunch on Wednesday. It is my only RW lunch this year, though I am now doing an astonishing (at least to me) seven RW meals. It was my first time at Ceiba.

I enjoyed it, partly because I thought the service was strong. I'm an iced tea guzzler, and I'll confess that how a restaurant handles the glasses I drain every few minutes matters to me. Some of my favorite restaurants for service (sadly, not neccesarily for food) are those who have paid attention to the level of tea in my glass. So it's no surprise that I was pleased that our server at Ceiba was quite attentive. He kept my glass of passionfruit iced tea full, which is great, but he gets extra points for noticing when I'd used all of the splendas in the sweetener box and consequently removing and refilling it with the yellow packets.

For my first course, I had the conch soup, which had three hush puppies inside and was served with sherry and rum in little pitchers for you to spice up or mellow down the soup as desired. It was good, but not excellent. The soup had a bit of a kick to it -- for me, just the right amount.

My companion had the soup of the day, a cold cucumber soup she said was delish; I don't know much about its preparation other than that it contained cilantro.

My entree was ahi tuna prepared on sugarcane skewers and served over a kind of spicy rice. Her entree was a pecan-crusted tilapia with a plantain and roasted red pepper sauce.

Dessert for both of us was the chocolate cake, which had the consistency of a dry brownie, with a braised brandy cherry compote (the other choices were a lime panna cotta and a flan).

They served a homemade caramel popcorn with the check, and the bread was a tortilla-like baked flatbread dusted with cumin that I'm going to try duplicating in my own kitchen.

There were no upcharges, and you had your pick of any of the entrees on the lunch menu, which did include a couple of non-fish items. Most were priced around $15 normally. The appetizer choices were more limited; there were about five or six offerings, including the soup of the day, two salads, a shrimp ceviche and my conch soup.

Incidentally, I have to echo the earlier post about IndeBleu. I went there for a RW lunch last year and was so disappointed with the options and the portion size that I've refused to go back. I put it in the same class as Cafe Milano (a place that has lots of buzz and is fine for "being seen," but isn't for fine dining).

The rest of my RW:
Tonight: Smith and Wollensky
Friday: DC Coast
Saturday: Dino
Sunday: Acadiana

Previously this RW: Ceiba, Vidalia, Corduroy

nan

For those inquiring about nora, here's the link for the RW menu:
http://www.noras.com/menu/noramainmenu.pdf

Jason

Amy_DC, I wouldn't right off a restaurant just because you had a bad experience with one of their waiters...It sounds like you had a very pleasant experience there and it's sad that ruined your experience.

Irene

On Wednesday night my husband and I went to Colvin's Run Tavern for the first time for RW. It was hands down a phenom experience. Our waiter was incredibly friendly and suggested fabulous food and wine. The Duck/Gnocchi appetizer was delicious. The Cod entree melted in my mouth, and the creme brulee- while not the best I have ever had- was a good ending to a wonderful meal. I highly recommend it.

On another note- La Paradou was listed on the OpenTable reservation list for RW- fortunately I called them to confirm because they very rudely said that they absolutely never participate in RW! I was pretty annoyed because I had cancelled my reservation elsewhere to make that one- and then then when I tried to reschedule my other reservation it was already gone...

So, tonight I'm taking my father to Coeur de Lion for his birthday and I am crossing my fingers that it is good...can anyone tell me if they've gone there yet for RW? Alot of people are talking about Smith and Wollensky - they still have availability- should I switch? Please advise~ Thanks!

Emily

Smith and Wollensky:

As someone else noted, the dinner menu is as follows:

Mixed Greens OR Caeser Salad OR Soup du jour

Filet Mignon OR Salmon OR Chicken

Cheesecake OR Fresh Fruit

Service was fine, and I was planning on ordering the filet anyway, but was still disappointed by the limits on the menu. Also, "medium well" came out as well and medium and "medium rare" came out as rare....

Laura

VP of Dior, 1789 is not participating because they are running a 3 course $35 (with coupon) special through mid-September. You can get the coupon from their website.

Laura

Oh, and I found out how Jaleo does RW. For lunch, a shot of gazpacho (like a cordial glass), three tapas and a dessert. For dinner, same as above, except you get a glass of wine, too.

LooLoo

FYI, don't forget that some DC restaurants allready have a 3-course fixed price lunch for $20 or less all year round.
Red Sage, Zenga, Mie N Yu, Charlie Palmer, Finemondo, Galileo, Bistro Francais...

And La Tasca has a $10 lunch special of 3 tapas (from a select list)

Corey

Anyone know anything about Kaz Sushi and RW?

Bill

Willow. went for lunch a month ago and had the hanger steak, fries and spinach. It was all too salty. The staff didn't seem to care. Went again for dinner two weeks ago with two friends. Again the meal was too salty (particularly the gnocci). told the staff. They again weren't too interested. Will try one mor time before writting them off permantly

JoeHoya

Salvaged RW with a strong showing at Dino - across from the Uptown Theater where Yanyu used to be - tonight. They make their entire menu available for RW, with anything on the menu under $14 available as a first course, any entree, and any dessert. The only upcharge is if you want a cheese plate in place of dessert ($5 upcharge).

To sweeten the deal even further, Dino is running a special through Labor Day they call wine Madness - Sunday through Wednesday, any bottle of wine that lists over $50 is 33% off. Needless to say, we took advantage of that option in addition to the RW deal.

And we were richly rewarded on all fronts. My wife and I are big fans of good cheeses and cured meats, so she started with the Burrata (Bufala mozarella surrounding fresh ricotta accompanied by olive tapenade, roasted yellow peppers, and peeled tomatoes) and I tried their prosciutto crudo (which they proudly announce has been cured for a minimum of 500 days). Both were wonderful.

I ordered a tagliatelle with wild boar ragut which was great (and is my hands-down recommendation for cold weather dining when the time comes). My wife had the fish of the day, which was a whole bronzino broiled and served with lemon and capers. Again, we were impressed by both dishes.

Dessert gave another wealth of choices, and we settled on the golden raisin bread pudding (which seemed to have standard raisins to my eye - but I could be wrong) and a chocolate souffle. No disappointments there, either.

Washing all of it down with a delicious 2001 Sangiovese, we couldn't help but marvel at the night-and-day difference between our experience at Morrison-Clark earlier in the week and our dinner at Dino tonight.

We are warning all of our friends away from one of these two restaurants and eagerly looking forward to our next visit to the other. Which do you think is which?

Jason

Thanks everyone for reporting back on your experiences. I think 90 comments makes a record for one of my Restaurant Week posts!

Ru

Anyone know which restaurants have an extended RW menu?

mjsante

Restaurants that have extended Restaurant Week to 8/27 (unless otherwise noted).

Mienyu - www.mienyu.com
Dino (to 9/4) - www.dino-dc.com
Indeblue - www.bleu.com/indebleu
Oya - www.oyadc.com (to 9/6)
Viridian (Not 100% certain – call to confirm) - www.viridianrestaurant.com Butterfield 9 - www.butterfield9.com
Jefferson Restaurant - http://www.korhotelgroup.com/hotels/jeffersondc/dining.html

Also, 1789 has a coupon on their website good into Sept for a $35 3-course meal.

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