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DC Restaurant Week Top Ten Picks

Here are my top ten picks for Winter 2010’s Restaurant Week based on their reputation, quality of food, restaurant week menu offerings, or based on my own restaurant week experience. If interested, check out my Summer’s Top Ten picks. Remember: Restaurants that offer their full menu are considered the best deal. The restaurants that already offer prix fixe menus or pre-theatre menus all year-long, such as Oya or Cafe Atlantico, you can take advantage of anytime. In addition, restaurants that offers any small-plates/tapas/mezze, such as Zaytinya, Jaleo, Oyamel, Me Jana, all great, but already generally offer good deals year-round. Some restaurants offer only limited selections, or include various surcharges (sometimes called supplemental fees) for some of their better dishes – these should be avoided.

** Note** I did not include VOLT in the top ten listing due to proximity and unavailability (VOLT was booked the hour that the dates were announced.) Also Vidalia was ousted from the list. I organized a RW group outing in August and was almost embarrassed; none of my guests were particularly impressed.

  1. Adour – Situated inside the elegant and luxurious St. Regis Washington, D.C., Adour offers Washingtonians a glimpse into legendary Chef Alain Ducasse’s culinary mastery. Since it’s opening in September 2008, the restaurant was nominated by the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Area of Washington as the ‘Best New Open Restaurant’. Although they offer a pre-theatre menu for $49, the RW offering is just $35.10 with no surcharges! (See menu here);  it’s an excellent value at one of DC’s most romantic restaurants. Some of their main course offerings include the slow cooked beef short rib with confit shallot, winter vegetables and bordelaise sauce or the seared haddock “grenobloise”  with brandade, capers and fried parsley or choice of  
    roasted chicken breast “grand mere” with button mushrooms and pearl onions. In addition, Adour will be extending the promotion almost the entire month of January until the 23rd.
  2. Bibiana – It’s new but it’s fabulous and you will experience some of the best food and service of your life. Check out my review from Opening Day.
  3. Kellari Taverna – Another new kid on the block, with its recent opening in October but has been around long enough to work out some if it’s initial opening kinks. RW is a great time to try this new Greek hot spot.
  4. Zentan – Heading here with a group of food writers for RW. It’s new but has been doing well since it’s recent opening. Located in the Donovan House this Pan-Asian hot spot is the place to be on most nights … let’s see how it handles the RW crowd.
  5. The Oval Room – A power spot; can’t go wrong here. It’s listed as #7 in the January 2010 Washingtonian’s 100 Very Best Restaurants issue which is no surprise; Chef Tony Conte – a protege of Jean-GeorgeVongerichten and one of Ashok Bajaj’s top successes. I had some of the best dishes of my life here, the Parmesan custard and the butter-poached lobster with curry (check out my mention here).
  6. Rasika – My #4 pick from the summer RW; Chef Vikram Sunderam’s offers deliciously authentic Indian cuisine. Rasika has been ranked within the top 25 of Washingtonian’s Very Best list for years and in January 2010, it earned three and a half stars out of four ranked at #8. Chef Sunderam’s restaurant week lunch menu is the most promising at such an excellent value and includes its much-praised palak chaat, lamb roganjosh and for dessert, carrot halwa with cinnamon sabayon. For dinner, enjoy some his best dishes, the palak chaat, black cod lightly sauced with star anise, dill, and honey and for dessert enjoy the carrot halwa with cinnamon sabayon. Bread or rice comes with each main course. Owner Ashok Bajaj is the best in the business. You can’t tell? I’ve included two of his other restaurants in my top ten, Oval Room and his latest venture, Bibiana.
  7. Tosca – My #2 pick for the summer RW; – Executive Chef Massimo Fabbri has earned a superior reputation for making some of the best pasta in the city, which is house-made fresh daily, Tosca ranked within the top 25 of Washingtonian’s Very Best list two years in a row earning three stars out of four. (((Their restaurant week SUMMER menu was one of the best – by offering diners their full dinner menu, including some of Chef Fabbri’s signature dishes black sea bass tartar, Veal Ravioli, Risotto with saffron, and carrot pappardelle with a rabbit ragu)))) Tosca already has a wonderful pre-theatre dinner for $35 with wonderful choices, otherwise it might be ranked higher.
  8. 1789 – Offers a monthly prix fixe menu for $40 but RW could be an opportunity to try out some of Dan Giusti’s Rammy nominated cooking, if you haven’t been able to make it in beforehand.
  9. Againn  – The new British Gastropub will shock you, this is not your usual British fare. Executive Chef Wes Morton, joins Againn after having worked at some of the fine kitchens of Washington DC such as Citronelle and CityZen. The restaurant is new but you won’t be able to tell – the kitchen is in sync and the beverage program is well-developed. I recommend trying out Againn for RW lunch.
  10. Bistrot Lepic -Recently, I had the pleasure of dining at Bistrot Lepic & Wine Bar, the neighborhood French bistro located at 1736 Wisconsin Avenue in Glover Park. It was my first experience dining there but I was very impressed with its charming, quaint, and romantic atmosphere.  Lepic will celebrate it’s 15 year anniversary this year. I plan to help spread the word about this neighborhood gem and It’s on my list to take my husband this year.

Honorable Mentions:

Poste Modern Brasserie – Poste already offers a pre-theatre menu for $35.09 everyday; however, it is only available from 5pm-6:30pm, which is difficult for most diners.

Dino – Dean Gold always gets into the spirit of RW by offering a glass of house wine. Dino is excellent authentic Italian food using the best ingredients.


3 Responses

  1. […] Restaurant Week is January 11-17, and Dining in DC has been working round the clock to collect all the available menus. (Way to go Lisa!) Also check out her restaurant week picks. […]

  2. Lisa, if you or your friends want to do DC Restaurant Week in style without breaking the bank, Reston Limousine is offering a 30% discount on all vehicles from limousines to shuttles.

    Bon Appetit!

  3. […] what the rest of DC had to say about Againn: WeloveDC, Localkicks, DininginDC, & […]

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