Sigh. I have a birthday with a zero coming up in a few weeks, on a Tuesday night. Thanks to the fall shutdown, a work trip to federal agencies got postponed, and the best date for everyone but me was my XX birthday. Numerous decades involved, and enough said on that, since I am in serious denial. On the actual day, I need to entertain a group of ten and I don't know much about their food preferences, allergies, etc. Moreover, to fit our expense parameters, it would help if entrees were in the low to mid twenties. Fortunately, my boss will be along, and happily understands that under the circumstances he will need to buy a bottle or three or four of very nice wine (which can't be expensed since we work for a public agency ourselves).
A few more parameters: for budget reasons, we are staying in Arlington, and unless the weather is really bad would prefer to take metro into DC, but I will be darned if I am going to spend my big birthday at someplace in Arlington (am I wrong? If so why?). So, I would strongly prefer to be within a few blocks of a station. I hate herding cats, and it will be easier to do without a lot of walking involved. Secondly, the group varies quite a bit in age, so while some would probably appreciate a 'happening' spot, the rest are more sedate (like me :-)) and probably wouldn't. Finally, I'd like a quiet place where we would have a chance of at least discussing the day's meetings and getting a chance to know each other better. I am totally open on type of cuisine.
Since the day in question is a weeknight finding spots that will take a group doesn't seem to be a huge issue. I've considered Zaytinya, and may go there the next night with just a friend, but I am worried that not all the group will appreciate small plates, and that it will be too noisy. I've had a very nice dinner previously at Bistro Bis, but it is just a bit pricier than my expense account will allow.
Based on the menu and the photos, I am considering Cedar. Sure, it looks a bit sedate, but sedate is good when you turn xxx.....
So, where would you go?
And bonus points for where I could go the next night, just with a good friend who is also a colleague, to blow off steam about how I had to spend my xxx birthday with my boss at a business dinner...?
(and don't feel too sorry for my whining, as the real celebration will be most of the previous weekend in San Francisco :-))
Any ideas appreciated!