Washington, D.C. Journals

Dining in D.C.

An October 2006 trip to Washington, D.C. by Reiflame

Quote: Eating my way through Washington!

Cafe Atlantico

Restaurant

Quote:
Cafe Atlantico is another of Jose Andres' small plates restaurants (see also; Oyamel and Jaleo). And, like Oyamel and Jaleo, there are some great hits and some, well, not so great food. Their big draw is that they do a "Latino Dim Sum" brunch on weekends, which is what we went for.The highlights:Duck confit with passion fruit oil - The skin was crackling crispy, the duck was neither oily nor overcooked and the passion fruit oil was fruity without being too sweetConch fritters with a liquid center - I love conch, and these were a fun play between conch chowder and fritters. They are fried like a fritter, but with a center of conch chowder.Jicama-avocad...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 31, 2008

Cafe Atlantico
405 8th Street NW
Washington D.C. 20004
(202) 393-0812

Obelisk

Best Of IgoUgo

Restaurant

Quote:
Obelisk is a Washington institution; surviving in a highly competitive environment for the last 20 years. Like most survivors, Obelisk has it's ups and downs, but is currently on an up swing.The menu is simple; everyone gets a 5 course prix fixe, with 2-3 choices per course. The menu changes daily, and Obelisk does not have a website, which can be an annoyance.The first course for us was a selection of several antipasti - fried shrimp risotto balls, liver pate with candied hazelnuts, small meatballs, and a rabbit terrine with currants. The liver pate was the standout, but all were of high quality.As a second course, we had squash ravioli, a lentil soup with homem...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on October 31, 2008

Obelisk
2029 P Street North West
Washington, District of Columbia 20036
(202) 872-1180

Quote:
Citronelle reaches for lofty goals - and almost always hits them. Michel Richard is one of the brightest stars in the culinary sky, and this is his flagship restaurant.The food is playful but always lovingly prepared. You might find rice crispies strewn in with the "hard boiled egg"... which itself is actually the freshest mozzarella you'll ever taste holdings a sliver of yellow tomato. The other 9 courses that followed were equally imaginative and perfectly executed; a play on French onion soup was especially fun - a three cheese souflee on a bed of blanched onions had a rich and creamy crimini broth poured over it tableside. Richard, being a trained pastry chef, does not scrimp on desserts. ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on January 23, 2007

Michel Richard's Citronelle
3000 M Street NW
Washington, D.C.
(202) 625-2150

Corduroy

Best Of IgoUgo

Restaurant

Quote:
Corduroy is one of the hidden culinary gems of the DC dining scene. It's hard to find, and when you do find it tucked away in its second story of a second rate hotel location, it's not much to look at. In fact, the bathrooms aren't even in the restaurant! You have to use the hotel's facilities.So why, you might ask, would you go through the effort of seeking out this little dining room with all the ambience of an airport lounge? I'll tell you why... the food. It is divine.Tom Powers is an alum of Citronelle. The food is elegant, thoughtful and above all, beautifully prepared. The chef's pork belly, in any of its incarnations is a thing of wonder. Corduroy's wine lis...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on January 23, 2007

Corduroy
1201 K Street NW
Washington, D.C., United States 20005
(202) 589-0699

Vidalia

Best Of IgoUgo

Restaurant

Quote:
Southern cuisine comes to D.C! And with it, gracious, helpful and patient service.Vidalia makes a great first impression with its bread basket. Caramelized onion foccacia shares the table with some of the most respectable cornbread I've ever had. The condiment of choice is apple butter, which nicely compliments either bread.Appetizers are lean to the hardy; cream of onion soup with red wine, rabbit sausage with risotto, "pork and beans." Thankfully, the portions are small enough to offset the rather dense offerings. I'd imagine that the chef changes the menu for summer to allow a little more brevity to the menu.More southern favorites show up on the main courses like shrimp wit...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on January 24, 2007

Vidalia
1990 M Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20036
(202) 659-1990

Equinox

Restaurant

Quote:
I'll say right off the bat that I was sorely disappointed with Equinox. It had gotten generally good reviews and Todd Gray was supposed to be a wonderkid of modern dining.What I found was anything but: the salmon was overcooked to the point of dessication, the wine pairings with our 3 course menu felt like the restaurant was just trying to clean out the cellar, and our server was extremely disinterested in well, serving us.The dessert was nice, a pink-peppercorn ice cream in a cherry broth that wasn't too sweet. Unfortunately, neither that nor the 20% that they took off the bill was enough to save this meal for me. There are much better places in D.C. to spend this type of money....Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on January 25, 2007

Equinox
818 Connecticut Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20006
(202) 331-8118

DC Coast

Restaurant

Quote:
DC Coast is first of the venerable Jeff Tunks restaurants in DC, with TenPehn, Ceiba and most recently Arcadiana. These restaurants, renowned for their consistency, excellent service, and beautiful interior design, sometimes leave a more adventurous palate wanting.That being said, I'd recommend any of the three to a visiting friend or someone on a first date. The food at DC Coast, while not excellent by any standard, it's completely competent. The offerings here bend towards classic regional favorites. The "Buffalo" fried oysters were a fun take on an old favorite of mine but lack the crispy fat that makes chicken wings so divine. The accompanying slaw was slightly dry but had robust f...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on January 25, 2007

DC Coast
1401 K Street NW
Washington, D.C., United States 20005
(202) 216-5988

Notti Bianche

Best Of IgoUgo

Restaurant

Quote:
Notti Bianche is tucked away right outside of the George Washington University campus, 2 blocks off the Foggy Bottom Metro station. I had a craving for pasta last night, so I snagged an 8:30 reservation for my boyfriend and myself.It's a small restaurant, holding no more than 50 diners. It's not particularly pretty, and the low ceilings with exposed piping aren't particularly romantic. That said, I've seen a lot worse in the D.C. dining scene.The meal itself was great. We started with a trio of crostini, the highlight being the whipped bacala with garlic. It was not too salty, not too bland... a difficult feat to pull off. After our salad course which featured prosciutto, I wanted to t...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 3, 2007

Notti Bianche
824 New Hampshire Ave NW
Washington, D.C., United States 20037
(202) 298-8085

Ceiba

Best Of IgoUgo

Restaurant

Quote:
Ceiba is one of the four Jeff Trunks restaurants in DC. Of the 3 that I've been to, this is my favorite. Ceiba is Latin American fusion experiment. Instead of bread, you're served a crisp cracker with a pumpkin seed spread. It's addictive!It's definitely one of the prettiest dining rooms in the area. The rich colors glow in the somewhat dim lighting, and the art is original and yet somehow strangely familiar. Like all of its sister restaurants, Ceiba has great service. The waiters are attentive without hovering and willing to go an extra step for their patrons.The high point of the night was without a doubt the cerviche sampler. Four small plates arrive on a larger dish of ice. The tun...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on March 3, 2007

Ceiba
701 14th Street NW
Washington, D.C., United States 20005
(202) 393-3983

1789 Restaurant

Best Of IgoUgo

Restaurant | "1789"

Quote:
First a disclaimer: not terribly long ago chef Ris Lacoste left 1789 to pursue other ventures. I have not had a chance to return since her replacement has been appointed.1789 is a venerable Washington standby - a fine dining destination that's survived more presidents than most of us. Somewhat amazingly, it's managed to never fall into the stodgy trap that most restaurants it's age fall into. This is in part because of the management's ability to find and keep significant talent in the kitchen.There are several dining rooms available in the Georgetown rowhouse that 1789 is situated in; all are decorated in pure Federalist style, making for a somewhat unusual atmosphere. If you enjoy th...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on March 14, 2007

1789 Restaurant
1226 36th Street, NW
Washington, D.C., United States 20007
(202) 965-1789

Jaleo

Best Of IgoUgo

Restaurant

Quote:
Jose Andres' Jaleo restaurants are a great excuse to grab a few friends, knock back a few sangrias, and enjoy some excellent tapas.Jaleo is first and arguably the best traditional tapas joint in town. For the uninitiated, tapas are "small plates". Generally, you would go with a group of 4-6 people and order 2-3 tapas apiece. Sharing is the name of the game - half the fun is being able to try a bunch of new things. You know how in some restaurants the appetizers are infinitely more interesting than the entrées? This is like eating a whole bunch of appetizers. The menu is divided into 3 sections; hot, cold, and seasonal. The hot and cold menus don't seem to change, and the season...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 14, 2007

Jaleo
480 7th Street North West
Washington, D.C., United States 20004
(202) 628-7949

Ardeo

Best Of IgoUgo

Restaurant | "Bardeo"

Quote:
Bardeo is the sister restaurant-neighbor to Ardeo in D.C.'s Cleveland Park area. The concept is interesting - it's not quite tapas, but not quite large plates, either. Basically 1.5 or 2 entrées is plenty of food. The dining room itself is dark and narrow, dominated by a large bar. There are maybe 10 tables, and I don't believe that Bardeo takes reservations (Ardeo, however, does). During peak times, it can be extremely loud.The first time I went, instead of butter with our bread we received a chicken-liver mousse. I surprised even myself by liking it! Unfortunately, at my latest venture there, the mousse was no more. I'm not sure if this is because we got there late (~11pm) or if they...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on March 31, 2007

Ardeo
3311 Connecticut Ave., NW
Washington, D.C., United States 20008
(202) 244-6750

Central Michel Richard

Best Of IgoUgo

Restaurant | "Michel Richard's Central"

Quote:
After Michel Richard gave up his restaurant empire, he moved to DC and opened Citronelle, destined to be the city's hot dining prospect for the next decade. Finally, he's opened his second venue - Central. Central is above all a classic bistro. The food is classic French sidewalk dining - steak frites, moules, roasted chicken. The end result is food that exhibits Richard's skill and signature styles but at a price that the common man can afford.Appetizers are divided into "hot" and "cold". Some of the entries made me raise an eyebrown (iceburg lettuce wedge? Are we at Outback?) but most of the choices are simple and rustic. The gougeres (airy little bite-sized cheese puffs) are like bi...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 12, 2007

Central Michel Richard
1001 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, D.C., United States 20004
(202) 626-0015

Blue Duck Tavern

Best Of IgoUgo

Restaurant

Quote:
Blue Duck Tavern is a relatively recent comer to the DC restaurant scene. The dining area itself is a very open space full of glass, brushed metal and wood with a gigantic open kitchen.The menu is served a la carte and has a heavy focus on the origin of your meal. You'll know if your steak came from Iowa or Texas and if your veggies were picked that morning in Pennslyvania or Maryland.Honestly, it's a little pretentious, but the quality of the food and service more than makes up for any shortcomings. We started with the pea soup with morels and a lobster salad. I don't like pea soup or morels, or lobster salad for that matter. But I loved this soup. The broth is thick and vibrant and t...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on July 7, 2007

Blue Duck Tavern
24 & M Streets, NW
Washington, D.C., United States 20037
(202) 419 6755

Sonoma Restaurant and Wine Bar

Best Of IgoUgo

Restaurant

Quote:
Sonoma Café and Wine bar is the sister restaurant to Mendocino Wine Bar and Grill in Georgetown. Both adhere to the same culinary ideals - simple, flavorful, and fresh.The restaurant itself is attractive; long and narrow with flattering lighting. My major complaint about the layout is that they've put way too many tables too close together. I'm not a big person, and I couldn't actually get into my chair because it was so close to the person behind me.This restaurant was one of the few places I've been where I enjoyed my entrée far more than my appetizer. Many of the "firsts" are pastas, and while not terrible, they were definitely forgettable. My squash blossom-goat cheese ravioli were...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on August 2, 2007

Sonoma Restaurant and Wine Bar
223 Pennsylvania Ave.
Washington, D.C., United States 20003
(202) 544-8088

Bistro Bis

Best Of IgoUgo

Restaurant

Quote:
Bistro Bis is the sister restaurant to Vidalia in Dupont Circle. It has a lot of the same touches; a beautiful dining room, excellent food and great service.The food is updated French. I had the best steak tartar I've ever had with house made potato chips and spicy mustard on the side. We also loved the tuna nicoise. The salads are also very good; vibrant and interesting, without being soaked in dressing.Thankfully, Bistro Bis is one of those rare restaurants in which the main courses are as good if not better than the appetizers. The lamb with the white balsamic vinaigrette was, in a word, amazing. The richness of the lamb and tartness of the vinaigrette complemented each other very w...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on September 22, 2007

Bistro Bis
The Hotel George,
Washington, United States 20001
202 661 2700

Oyamel

Best Of IgoUgo

Restaurant

Quote:
Oyamel is Jose Andres' foray into Mexican tapas, modeled after his highly successful Jaleo chain. You'll notice a lot of the same perks here - great food, decent prices and good cocktails.This restaurant is POPULAR right now. I'd highly recommend making your reservations (especially if you have more than 4 people in your party) a month or so in advance. They have an unfortunate habit of squishing more people than they should at the tables.That said, the food is great. The table-side prepared guacamole is wonderful. Some of our favorites were the braised short ribs, the chipotle meatballs, and the baby pig tacos. The chayote salad made for a refreshing break from all the meat!...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 2, 2007

Oyamel
401 7th Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20004
(202) 628-1005

Bobby Van's Grill

Best Of IgoUgo

Restaurant

Quote:
Bobby Van's Grill is the more casual outpost of the venerable Bobby Van's Steakhouse in NYC. It is, like many outposts of flagship restuarants, underwhelming. The menu has potential, but execution is poor, service is lacking and the wine list is boring at best. The dining room, though, is enormous, making it a good choice for office parties that don't mind mediocre food. Unfortunately, it's one of the few restaurants within walking distance of the Warner Theater, and we decided to try something new. Next time, I'll go back to Butterfield 9.The night we went, we were preceeded by two parties of 20+. I understand that this will slow the kitchen considerably, but it still should not take ...Read More

Member Rating 1 out of 5 on December 19, 2007

Bobby Van's Grill
1201 New York Avenue
Washington, D.C.
(202) 589-1504

PS 7's Restaurant

Best Of IgoUgo

Restaurant | "PS7"

Quote:
Great experience at PS7s! The service was great, the food was good and the atmosphere's nice (and not too loud.) My only complaint is that a lot of the dishes were a little overly sweet, which is kindof nitpicking.We couldn't decide on an appetizer, so we ended up with three:Clam and Chorizo risotto - the rice was cooked perfectly (not gluey or toothy), and the clam and chorizo nicely balanced each other. I was extremely hungry, and I don't normally order risottos as appetizers but I thought that this wasn't too heavy.Tuna Sliders - I tend to stay away from Tuna Tartar because it's kindof overdone, but these were great. The mini parker rolls' sesame seeds complement the t...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on February 25, 2008

PS 7's Restaurant
777 I Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20001
(202) 742-8550