It's that time of year again, folks! DC Winter Restaurant Week has been announced for January 11th - 17th. Almost 200 area restaurants are participating this winter, offering a three-course dinner for $35.10, or a three-course lunch for just $20.10. RW offers a great opportunity for local residents to explore places they've never been, and to taste the best the city has to offer for a fraction of the price. As always, DCFoodies will be offering up this season's menus as we receive them -- but don't wait! A lot of restaurants play it close to the chest, not releasing their special menu until days before the event, when most of the better tables are already booked. Here's a few tips for booking early:
1) Avoid places that already offer special pre-theatre menus, and the like. You can experience these places on the cheap anytime, sometimes at a better price than the RW offering. Of course, a lot of these places have been known to throw a free glass of wine into the deal...
2) Go for the big and pricey! Hey, when is the next time you are gonna get a meal at Ruth's Chris for less than $40? Look for the $$$s and $$$$s on OpenTable and go for broke, though bear in mind, those ones book up fast.
3) Some restaurants put more into Restaurant Week than others. Some offer a bare-bones selection, hardly indicative of what they really can do. On the opposite end of the spectrum, a few offer the entire menu, giving diners the option of tasting everything the chef has to offer. Though one can never be sure ahead of time, take a look at last year's menus, as they should give you a good idea as to who goes all out for the occasion.
4) Many places extend the Restaurant Week pricing for additional month or two. If your time is short and you wanna cram a lot in, again, take a look at last year's menus, and hold off booking those places that extended the deal, as they are more likely to do so this year as well.
5) Though it may be tempting to pick the trendy new spots on this year's list, consider giving it a pass. Restaurants have enough troubles within their first six months without taking Restaurant Week into consideration -- those that take it on too quick often prove unfit for the task, with lackluster service and questionable food being the end result. Give it some time, and stick to the tried and true -- if they are any good, the new guys will be around for this summer's Restaurant Week.
For a full list of participating restaurants, please visit the official website here. Stay tuned, as we will be rolling out the menus as soon as they become available.