I’m a Los Angeles resident who is going to D.C. with another guy friend (who also resides in LA) this coming weekend to visit a friend who is completing his masters at Georgetown. My friend at Georgetown has told me in the year he’s been there, the food scene in D.C. pales in comparison to Los Angeles. I think he might have gone to the wrong places since I’ve uncovered some interesting places in your neck of the woods thanks primarily to Steve, Joe H, and KtMoomau as references.
Los Angeles is known for its culinary diversity. Unfortunately for me though, because of this, it makes it difficult for me to be impressed. For instance, from my reading, Etete and Queen Makeda are highly recommended Ethiopian places, Rasika is supposedly a great spot for Indian food, and El Pollo Rico is supposedly a tremendous Peruvian place, but LA has these types of restaurants. It would be interesting to see if a DC ChowHounder has tried Mario’s in LA for Peruvian comparison purposes.
Also, although generally not considered “ethnic” these days, I’ve read that Makoto and Sushi Taro are highly esteemed when it comes to Japanese cuisine in the D.C. area but Los Angeles has Japanese restaurants that are Michelin star rated (RIP Michelin Los Angeles and Las Vegas 2010) like Urasawa, Sushi Zo, and Asanebo and other less publicized but superb restaurants like Hama Sushi, Nozawa, and Sushi Gen.
I already have a general idea of what restaurants I want to try. I’ll be eating three dinners and three lunches in your beloved area and I need help fine tuning my list to finalize one lunch and two dinners. I don’t necessarily need to try a tasting menu but if it’s truly worth it, I’m definitely game. The best tasting menu I’ve had so far was at Robuchon in Vegas, the second best at Providence in Los Angeles just to give readers an idea of what grade of food I’m expecting if I’m going to be spending tasting menu type of dollars.
I’m open to places unique to D.C. as well as places that are consistently on the money. I’m also going to have a ZIP car so transportation will not be an issue for me. In addition to the restaurant or experience you think I should try, if you guys could tell me what dish excels at the restaurant you’ve recommended like “Gnocchi at Palena”, I’d greatly appreciate it.
So far my hit list looks like this:
Lunch 1 – Oohs and Aahs (Crab Cakes, Shrimp, Lemon Pepperwings and Greens)
Dinner 1 – ??? (I presently have reservations at Citronelle but at $190 a head for the tasting menu, I hope I’m not overlooking another better restaurants like CityZen, Marcels, Palena, 2941, Restaurant Eve, Inox. I don’t need to order the tasting menu but I heard Citronelle had a good tasting menu. Should I go a la carte instead at Citronelle or try another tasting menu at a different location? Any comments?)
Lunch 2 – Café Atlantico Chef’s Dim Sum Tasting Menu
Dinner 2 – Central – (Fried Chicken / Corn Beef Sandwich/Lobster Burger)
Lunch 3 – ??? (Currently eyeing Restaurant Eve’s “Lickity Split” menu though)
Dinner 3 – ??? (I want this to be a steakhouse with amazing Ribeye. I’m hoping the ribeye will be better than at Maestros. I haven’t been to Del Frisco’s yet but I heard that is the only other Ribeye steak that can touch Maestros. (Yes, I know both are chains) Currently, I’m thinking of going with Ray’s the Steaks since it seems to be adored by local Chow Hounders. I understand the value for the food is a plus at Ray’s but my question is will it blow the other ribeyes at other steakhouses away such as at Capital Grille, Bourbon, and BLT? I’m a little hesitant about trying Charlie Palmer since Michael Voltaggio resigned as executive chef to join Volt but input would be appreciated. )
Snack 1 – Ray’s Hell Burger (if time permits)
Snack 2 – Pit Beef Sandwich at Pioneer (if time permits)
Options that I’ve eliminated -
1) Table 21 - They’re taking reservations for January 2011! Coincidentally, Bryan’s brother (Michael) is the executive chef at the Dining Room which has been on my go-to list as well in Los Angeles. Too bad I missed the boat on this one.
2) Komi – Missed the window of opportunity to obtain a rezzie.
3) Minibar – Missed the window of opportunity to obtain a rezzie. If you DC ChowHounders have a hard time getting a reservation, how can an “out-of-towner” coming in a few days have a real chance?
4) Prime – I don’t want to be required to wear a jacket for my meal.
5) The Source – I was very intrigued by the chatter but I’ve been to many Wolfgang’s restaurants and LA has plenty of asian fusion venues to go around.
6) Zaytinya – I’m already going to one of Ardes’ restaurant, Café Atlantico although I may consider this as an option for my Monday lunch. (Yes, I currently have two Michel Richard venues in my line-up.)
7) Other Ethnic Restaurants – Basically, besides Ooh and Aahs, I think LA has plenty of ethnic restaurants to occupy my curiosity.
Sorry for my long post but I wanted to be as detailed as possible to get the best possible response. Thanks for all the past posts and comments regarding your area and thanks in advance for any comments to my specific post.
1942 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001
110 South Pitt Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
1330 Maryland Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20024
3529 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008
633 D Street, NW, Washington, DC 20004
3000 M Street NW, Washington, DC 20007
1509 17th St NW Ste 1, Washington, DC 20036
701 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001
Washington DC, Washington, DC
1503 17th Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20036
601 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20004
Las Vegas Restaurant
7091 Security Blvd Ste 102, Windsor Mill, MD 21244
7643 New Hampshire Ave, Takoma Park, MD 20912
1800 Tysons Blvd., McLean, VA 22102