Thought I posted this before, but it didn't seem to stick.
Friend coming to town to do a little work and will be spending a day on the Mall visiting museums. I'm looking for suggestions for a small dinner gathering of probably 4 to 8 people. Some will be coming from work and I figure he'll be pooped after a day of museum visiting, so although he'll almost certainly be on Metro, he probably won't be up for an excursion to Arlington or U Street.
I was thinking about someplace in Penn Quarter or Chinatown, preferably where a group of (presently) undetermined size can walk in without a reservation in the 6-6:30 range and get a table. We'd like to talk geeky stuff and we're all audio engineers so it shouldn't be a very noisy place, and not overrun with the after-work bar crowd (or at least have a dining area far enough away so that we don't get their noise). Chinese is OK, probably Indian or Burmese is a bit too far toward the ethnic. Plain ol' 'murcan food is OK, too. It should be under $30 per person with tax and tip and maybe an outrageously priced iced tea, excluding wine or cocktails.
I know a lot of names in that area from reading here, but I rarely eat in the area other than Nando's Peri-Peri (not suitable for a group) or RFD (too noisy). Would Matchbox work? Any other suggestions? He's staying with a cousin in Silver Spring, so a suggestion there wouldn't be out of the question, but it might be inconvenient for the few who are already downtown at work.