Question and Answer

Question and Answer

I haven't done a question and answer post in a while because I've been crazy busy. Things are calming down a little now, and hopefully I'll get caught up with my emails, but for those of you that sent me questions that I didn't respond to, I'm sorry.

I need a recommendation, and fast! I'm coming to town April 8th to advance celebrate my friend's wedding. It is my task to find a restaurant for Saturday night, in or around Dupont Circle. The ride-to-be would like some place classy where we can get dressed up and have drinks (in addition to a good meal). I need some place that won't break the bank.

Can you suggest a moderately priced restaurant with great food, a "grown up" atmosphere and a wine and cocktail list? Cuisine can be American, fusion, European... I prefer ethnic, but unfortunately, it's not me that's getting married!

Thanks and best wishes,

Well, If I were going to go out for dinner in Dupont, I would either go to Komi, Al Tiramisu, or 21P. If you've read my web site at all, you already know my opinion of Komi. You'll have a great Italian meal at Al Tiramisu, but it will probably be more expensive than Komi and therefore not as good of a value. 21P is new, and I haven't actually eaten there myself, but I've heard some positive things about it.

If you're party is looking to get some drinks and have a fun night out, I don't feel like Dupont is your best bet. There are plenty of "trendy" places in Dupont, but I don't feel that any of them have a good combination of great food and service. If you're looking for that, your best bet is to go Downtown or to Penn Quarter. Rasika in Penn Quarter will please all of you, as will Ceiba or Acadiana in the Downtown area.

My boyfriend lives in the DC area and I'm coming down this weekend for his birthday.  I'd love to take him out somewhere nice but we're both graduate students and therefore the budget is...well, tight. No other real restrictions though.  Do you have any inexpensive, but classy places that you recommend?  Even something along the lines of a brunch would work.  We love mimosas

Thanks for your help, and keep up the great work with your site and your son!  He is mesmerizing.

All the best,

Brunches in DC aren't very good in my experience and the ones that are good are pretty expensive...

For classy yet reasonably priced you have a few options.
Dino has great food at reasonable prices. Get the lasagnette or cinghiale and ask for a recommendation from the extensive and reasonably priced wine list. Tabard Inn is a smart choice for brunch if you're not looking for one of those $20 all you can eat buffets and it has a talented chef as well. 2 Amys is one of my favorite places to eat in the city, but the atmosphere is loud. Finally,  there's Osteria del Galileo. It's been a while since I've eaten here, but it's very inexpensive and it's in the same restaurant as Galileo, run by world famous chef Roberto Donna (he was and will be on Iron Chef again.) If you go, specify that you want to sit in the Osteria -- it's the area to the right of the bar. The prices at the real Galileo will give you a heart attack if you're looking for reasonably priced fare. The only problem is that the food can be a little hit or miss at times because they rotate what's available on the menu frequently, but most of the time it's very good.

By any chance are you aware of a Costa Rican restaurant in the DC area?

Sadly, there are none in DC. I think that's one of the few ethnic cuisines that we are missing. Anyone out there know of a Costa Rican restaurant that I don't know of?

Help!  Easter Sunday in DC, son is vegetarian (not vegan)...we are from Rochester, NY but get to DC often, but holidays there always stump me. 
Way out there in UpState NY.

First, why are you yelling at me with big bold text? (kidding)

I'm going to toss this one up to readers because vegetarian cuisine isn't my forte, but Viridian and Vegetate come to mind.

Is there any way I could convince you to divulge where I might get
that extra special burger???

Nope. Sorry.

Question and Answer

It's been an interesting couple of weeks, featuring food poisoning and features of my blog in the Washingtonian Online, Washington Post blogs, and many other web sites. Welcome to all the new readers out there.

So to start with this week, a first-time question from someone who actually works at a restaurant.


I have a question/comment for you.  As a restaurant marketing person I simply cannot read everything written, so forgive me if this has been mentioned!

Did you know that charges each restaurant at least $200 a month per computer, and then an additional $1 per head per reservation?  I believe in the site and the benefits, but here's what would help restaurants so much more.

All of us have links to OpenTable on our respective websites for reservations that take you straight to OpenTable.  All diners get the same amount of points in their account, but in return it only costs restaurants 25 cents on the dollar.

I know that so many of your readers, Washington Post readers, and other foodies want the restaurants to run as best as the can...if people knew this, do you think they would do the extra click directly to the restaurants website? I have been discussing it with other food folks and wondered if it is a secret, and if it wasn't would patrons help us?

Maybe this has been posted before, but if not I was curious for your opinion?


Well, I did happen to know that restaurants pay less for reservations when they refer diners to OpenTable from their web site. However, the only reason I know this is because I'm a web site designer and I happen to be working on a restaurant's web site right now that works with OpenTable. I was not aware of the $200 per month additional charge for each additional reservation computer. Ouch!

Most people don't know this, and I think it's a great point to call people's attention to. You hear that readers? Help your favorite restaurant out and make your reservations through the restaurant's web site!



I was looking at your site and I didn't see a review of Maestro. Any particular reason why? Just like to know.

Money, my friend. Money. On my birthday last year, I had the opportunity to go to Citronelle and that was probably the most expensive meal I've ever eaten. I imagine I might make it to Maestro eventually though. Fingers crossed.



Hey Jason,

I love your site...You guys have the cutest baby outside of mine. :)

But back to business. Have you been to Marrakesh on New York Ave.?

Thanks, he is cute isn't he?

No I haven't been to Marrakesh, mostly because I've heard that the experience is entertaining (belly dancers are fun), but that the food is only okay. Has anyone else out there eaten at Marrakesh that can give me better recommendations than I've heard?



Hello Jason,
I have heard recently that there is a restaurant in the D.C metro area that is known to have some dishes that can induce labor. I am way past my due and desperate to try  anything healthy.  Can you help me find this restaurant.

LOL. There's a little something called castor oil that a pregnant woman I know said she took to start labor. No, it wasn't Amy.

This is nothing that I would normally know, and I have to give Amy all the credit for knowing this, but you happen to be talking about Austin Grill. George Stephanopoulos' wife, Alexandra Wentworth, supposedly ate there and went into labor due to the "spiciness" of the food. Yeah. Whatever. If Austin Grill is spicy, then Olive Garden is authentic Italian.



And with that, I will conclude this weeks Question and Answer post. Keep the questions coming and hopefully I'll get enough questions each week to actually do this weekly.

Question and Answer

As I've been getting caught up with my emails in the last couple of months, I came across a bunch of good questions that many of you probably want to  ask as well. Just as an FYI for all of you, I won't be doing a Christmas or New Years Eve post this year, so if you're waiting for me to recommend places, to go, you'd best go elsewhere.

Jason, When is Restaurant Week?? January is fast approaching and there's no word of then the dates are? HELP!!!

Okay, this is probably the 10th time someone has emailed me asking me about this and for the last's Jan 9th through the 15th. The list of restaurants participating is not published yet, but I can guarantee you it wont be much different from the last list. I've been trying to get the list before it officially get's published, but my emails to the DC Convention and Tourism Corporation have gone unanswered. Keep checking back here for more updates.

Congrats on Noah. He's adorable! The help w/Thanksgiving dinner was fantastic. I
finally convinced my family to go out to eat. Only downer: we wound up at
America instead of Citronelle. Oh well. At least we went out. Anyway...

Here's my silly question. Or silly thought really. I think you should have a
"foodie connections" or something. Wouldn't that be great for the single
foodies of DC? Yes it would.

Totally self centered reasons: I have been dating around DC for a couple of
years now. And I like dining around town. The bulk of the fellows SAY they
like to dine. But I've learned that they will SAY anything to get out on a
date. Now, in my truly humble opinion, dining is different from going out to
eat. You go out to "eat" at P.F. Changs or Cheesecake Factory or Outback
etc. You dine at Ceiba, B9, Oceanaire. Why am I explaining this to you? You
already know. My situation is (I'm sure) not unique among the female
population in the DC Metro Area.

So. If you are tending to Young Noah one snowy afternoon this winter, and he
falls asleep and you have any neurons left to think about this veritable
"foodie hookup" or (I hate to think about it this way but:) "foodie
personals" (single TenPenh female seeks single Acadiana male for drinks,
appetizers, entrees and dessert"), or it could even be as simple as the
"foodie classifieds" please please please consider my silly thought.

Happy Holidays to you, Amy, Noah (so cute, so so cute), and the pets.

Thanks in advance.

p.s. - I knew I was forgetting something. What in the world happened to
Signatures? Is it closed permanently? I walked past and the stools were
upended on the bar at prime time. What's the deal?

Well, I'm actually not in the business of doing personals, but I think this is a great idea! Foodie Personals -- You should start your own web site. I'd gladly link to it. If I can give you some advice about trying to find a foodie hunk? Try becoming a member at They have regular get togethers, and you'd probably meet someone with similar tastes to yours there.

Oh, and Signitures is closed. Kaput. If it wasn't nailed to the post, it would be pushing up the daisies.

Hi Jason,

I was thinking that my boyfriend would love to take a cooking class and that it'd be a fabulous idea for a Christmas present.  You sounded like you loved the one at Galileo.  I was considering signing him up for a class at Galileo, but he works full time and attends law school part time, so finding free time is a chore in itself.  Do you know of any other (good) one-day sessions that would allow me to purchase a session yet not schedule it?  Like somewhere that would allow me to more or less purchase a gift certificate that could be used any time?

Thanks a bunch.

I'm sure if you call Gallileo they will let you work something out. The class that I went to was very cool and I enjoyed it very much. It was well worth the money. If you want, you can read about my experience there in this post.

Other restaurants that I know have cooking classes are Tosca and Citronelle ($$$). Circle Bistro will have them once in a while as well.

Another place to check would be They have cooking classes all the time and I'm sure that Charlie Adler can work something out with you. I'm sure this kind of request really isn't that out of the ordinary.

The Washingtonian also has quite a complete listing of cooking classes available in the area if you want to use them as a reference.

Hello. I hope it's ok to email you for a restaurant recommendation. I am a fan of Amy's site and found your site thru her's.
We are fairly new to the DC area (live in Montgomery County MD) and have tickets to see Wicked at the Kennedy Center on 12/22. Matinee show.  We were thinking it might be nice to eat out on our way out of town after the show - let some of the traffic clear etc.
Can you recommend a good place in DC or nearby that might be special and fun for our family, nice atmoshphere.  We are a family of 5 - our 3 daughters are 21, 19, and 15.  Overall we like Italian, Mexican, Chinese and American cuisine best.  My 15 year old is a somewhat picky eater & my 19 yr will not eat seafood! 

Any suggestions you could provide would be greatly appreciated.

It's definitely ok to email me for a restaurant recommendation! You're best choice in the area of the Kennedy Center is Circle Bistro, a personal favorite of mine. Chef Brendan Cox is doing some incredible French-American cuisine at the restaurant on the bottom floor of the Washington Circle Hotel. Make sure you have the Madelines for dessert.

Hi there. I'm a big fan of your site. So far, all of your recommendations have been spot-on.

I have a quick question about Corduroy. I am planning to take my boyfriend there for his birthday next Friday. We will be coming from a cocktail party, so will be dressed accordingly. I keep seeing that Corduroy's dress is casual.  Will we stick out like sore thumbs?

Thanks for your wisdom. ;-)

You won't stick out too much, at least not as much as the occasional person that shows up from the hotel in sneakers and shorts. Most people that go to Corduroy actually do get somewhat dressed up and I see people there in sport coats most of the time.


I was waiting for you to post your Christmas Eve and New Years Eve recommendations, but they never came. Do you have any plans to give us some guidance this holiday season?

The funny thing is, when you eat out on holidays like that, your likely to get a much less memorable experience than if you went there on say, a normal Tuesday night. If you think about it, most of the staff don't actually want to work on holidays just like the rest of us, and the seasoned, experienced people (chefs, waitstaff, and management included) are the first to get nights like that off. You end up spending just as much (and maybe more depending on the type of menu they're serving), but the quality just wont be the same. So save you're money, make a nice pot roast or lamb shank in your oven and spend the money on a nice bottle of expensive champagne.

Or you can go to Corduroy, which I know is open on New Years and I'm pretty sure (although I could be wrong) that Tom Power will be in the kitchen that night. I mean, it's not like he has anything else to do...

Okay, that's all for this week. I'm going to try to do a Question and Answer post every Monday assuming that I get enough questions emailed to me each week, so send your questions to [email protected].

Question and Answer

First, we are new to DC and a friend recommended your site for getting to know Washington’s food scene.  As a result, we really enjoy DC Foodies; it is a fabulous site! Next, we are having family visit Washington for the first time over Thanksgiving and we want to eat dinner out… Any good recommendations for a great Washington holiday experience?  Any insights are greatly appreciated!


Wow! You're really planning ahead there. Every year I do a Thanksgiving post where I detail which restaurants in the area are open for the holidays and what they're offering. Here's my post from last year. It should give you a good idea of what places will be open this year as well.




Just wanted to say thanks for a great web site.  I love going out to restaurants in DC...however, I'm still a grad student so I don't want to waste my money on a restaurant that's well known but not really worth it.  Your reviews are really helpful. 

Have you checked out the Little Fountain Cafe in Adams Morgan? I'm taking my boyfriend there for his birthday and I've heard great things about it.


Here's my post from my last trip to Little Fountain Cafe. You'll notice that the last time I was there, it was January 2004, so I can't speak to how good it is lately. However, I know that Tom Sietsema of The Post never hesitates to drop recs for Little Fountain Cafe in his weekly chats. It's a great place for a romantic dinner. Service, food and ambiance are excellent for that special evening out.




I see you are a big fan of Indian.  I'd be interested to hear what you think of the new-ish Delhi Club in Arlington (Clarendon).  I live in the area and used to rely on Delhi Dhaba for my Indian fix, but recently have had some not-so-great experiences there (super-greasy shrimp jalfrezy, fatty lamb vindaloo, hard rice).  If you've tried it, let me know what you think.


Well, I noticed this place the other day when I was driving through Arlington. I was like, "Hey that's new!" and I almost stopped in, but instead, I ended up going to The Italian Store. I agree with your prognosis of Delhi Dhaba - the quality of their food has really taken a turn for the worse in the last year. I used to frequent the location by UDC, but now I rarely go. Has anyone out there been to Delhi Club yet?


Q & A

I've received some interesting questions via comments and email lately about DC restaurants, so I thought I would post a couple here.

I greatly enjoy your Web site.  I have a question about restaurants suitable for club meetings.

Our group meets each month on a Sunday, at a Washington restaurant located near a Metro station.  We're a very new group and have held only two meetings thus far, the first at Café Luna, the second at Ben's Chili Bowl.

We'd like to hold our third meeting at another D.C. restaurant.  I'm the one tasked with finding a restaurant but could use some advice.  Any thoughts on reasonably priced places that might host lunch meetings?  Many thanks for any advice you're able to provide.


Hmm, reasonably priced and near a metro station...

Working my way down the red line cause that's the only one I ever ride.

Cafe Ole is right up the street from me. Mediterranean tapas at very reasonable prices. Its about a 5 minute walk from the Tenleytown metro


Cleveland Park
Indique - Good indian food. Especially for lunch. They have a good lunch deal where you get a entree with rice, naan, and soup or salad for about $9 - $11
Vace pizza - takeout only - I'm not sure about their ability to host a meeting.

Woodley Park
Mr. Chens Organic Chinese
If you're willing to walk to Adams Morgan, Amsterdam Falafal wont do you wrong. Everyone loves that place.
Tryst (also in Adams Morgan) is a nice sit down place with couches and you can get sandwiches and coffee. WiFi enabled as well. They might be willing to host a meeting.

Dupont Circle
Heritage India is right at Dupont Circle on Connecticut. Excellent Indian food.
Pizzaria Paradiso is also at Dupont Circle, although the dining room is small.
If your willing to walk a little...
Osteria Del Galileo is the Bar area at Roberto Donna's Galileo. Pretty good italian food and very cheap. It's walkable from the Dupont metro down 20th or 21st I believe.

Faragut North
Spezie is a little bit more on the pricier side, but it is at 17th an L right on the Farrugut North metro. You won't find better Italian food in the city for the cost though.
Nirvana at Connecticut and K has a good Indian buffet (I'm told), although I've eaten there for dinner and wasn't too impressed.

Burma has great burmese food. Definitely in your price range.

Hope that helps.

(quoting my post about Faryab) "I ordered a beer since I can't drink a whole bottle of wine on my own now
that Amy is pregnant." Whereas, pre-pregnancy, you could?

Stop reviewing restaurants; I haven't even gotten to Afghan Grill yet and
already you're giving another Afghan restaurant a good review, plus it's in
my neighborhood. Give us a chance to catch up!


Pre-pregnancy, Amy and I would share. :)

I was able to top off a bottle of Pinot on my own the other night at
Corduroy. Luckily we were there for a couple hours and I ate a ton of
food, otherwise I would have been completely tanked by the end of the

Come on now...keep up. What's the hold up already? I'm only reviewing
1 or 2 restaurants a week here...

Thanks for being such a dedicated reader....

I noticed that one of my favorite spots (Yanyu) is gone. Argh!
Are they relocating? Is the chef going somewhere else?


No and No.

Sorry Bernice. It's gone. No more Big Duck - I'm sad. Spices is run by the same owner, but they don't serve any of the same dishes. I'm not sure why they closed, but there is a new Italian bird moving in. Hopefully, they're not going to be another Uptown tourist trap.

Fan Mail

Dear DCFoodies,
My friend says that she HATES curry and can't eat spicy food. I couldn’t get her to an Indian restaurant to save her life. What do I do?

I know people like this as well. They suffer from picky eaters disease. Slip her some curry in her lunch some day. Assuming she is not allergic and you don’t have to rush her to the hospital shortly thereafter, continue to do this everyday, adding more and more as the days continue. Soon, she will be addicted like the rest of us.

Dear DCFoodies,
I've been reading your site, and from what I can tell, you have absolutely no culinary training. Am I accurate in this statement?

G. How could you tell?

Honestly, I'm a Software Engineer. I’ve never written professionally or taken any cooking classes. I do however, eat out ALL THE TIME and I love food. I think you will find that when I write about my experiences at restaurants, I don't bother to write much about the décor or ambiance. There are three things that I care about in a restaurant. Quality of food. Service. Value. Anything else is just a distraction.