In response to several inquiries regarding restaurants in the new National Harbor convention complex... we just returned home from our conference and I thought I would offer some help.
We stayed at the Westin National Harbor, it has only been open a few weeks, and as of the moment the restaurant is useless. It was convenient one morning to have breakfast before heading over to Gaylord, and it took way too long to be seated, our petite fourteen dollar omelets and 6 dollar cups of coffee were painfully slow in being prepared and served in the empty restaurant. One highlight was the lobby bar... nice view, comfortable, and good bartender.
Our conference was at Gaylord...and I was happy that I had thought to call ahead for reservations for most of the nights as we would have been out of luck for business dinners. All restaurants were overbooked and turning people away and there are NO alternatives as this area is under construction. Prices at Gaylord are sky high but if you are at a convention, you have NO choices.
Old Hickory Steakhouse at Gaylord... beautiful atmosphere, rich dark woods, spectacular water views, crisp service... high prices at $40+ per entree, but the steaks superb, perfectly cooked, and very juicy. I had a NY Strip that was fork tender. Wild Mushroom ragout also very flavorful. Naked steak on a large white plate. Nothing served with the meat. Tablemate ordered a Bone In Swordfish Chop that was at least one pound, perfectly grilled, and tender. Unusual but amazing cut of fish to say the least.
Moon Bay Seafood at Gaylord... indoor and 'outdoor' seating. I enjoyed a lobster roast dish served in a cast iron kettle that contained all shellfish. Dramatic presentation as the steam escapes when the kettle is served and the top removed. Good seafood all around the table at slightly more moderate prices. Desserts were poor... bla. Service exceptional.
One evening we took a water taxi to Alexandria... great suggestion that we would NOT have considered without your suggestions. Restaurant Eve did not have our reservation even though we had called in advance and were fully booked. We didnt want to eat at the bar, so we took their recommendation of Jackson 20 with Southern Bistro style cuisine. Excellent recommendation as the food was the best of our trip. We started out with Fried Green Tomatoes, topped with a spicy lump crab remoulade and pickled ramps. The Ribeye was excellent... tender, perfectly cooked, and juicy accompanying Smoked Gouda & applewood bacon potato gratin truly added to the dish and the horseradish cream put it over the top. Other notable dishes were the Rainbow trout with Crawfish Etoufee and the Grilled Sirloin with homecut fries and arugla salad was delicious as well.
My suggestions for those attending conventions at Gaylord is to make your restaurant reservations in advance for Gaylord dining, and definitely take the water taxi trip and enjoy Jackson 20 in Old Alexandria.
Thank you fellow board members for your suggestions as well!