I want to say thanks to all the great advice we received from fellow chowhounders for our trip to Washington. We were staying in an ideal location in Chinatown. Ideal in that it was close to most of our restaurant options, not as ideal for the groups of crazies that like to hang out near the gallery place metro!
We landed around lunch time and after checking into the hotel early, decided to have sushi at SEI on7th street. We had three rolls and could have had a few more as portions were small. We tried the Snow White, Fish &Chips, and Capitals. The descriptions sound great with unique ingredients but they all fell short. All were quite bland, with the Fish & Chips being the best. For $45, I was disappointed.
We took the metro out to Foggy Bottom to Trader Joes. I love this place. So many great options. We wished we had a refrigerator. We bought bunch of goodies, including a cheap bottle of Sauvignon Blanc for a pre-dinner drink. After some site seeing and the bottle of wine, we went to Zaytinya for supper. This was the first of three of Jose Andres restaurants we tried and this was the best by far. We tried the falafel, which was awesome. We almost came back for lunch to eat them again. Next up was mercimek koftesi, which was a tasty lentil patty served in lettuce leaves with some preserved lemon yogurt. This might have been the single best taste of the trip. The next three items were good but didn't live up to the first two. We tried the Brussel sprouts, shrimp with dill and a special of pulled lamb in fillo, which sounded so much better that it tasted. I forgot to mention the pita, which was so good , I couldn't stop eating it. Tossed that down with a nice Greek white wine then called it a night.
Next day started with some site seeing then lunch at Rasika. We love Indian and were excited to try this place. We had the much loved palak chaat, which lived up to expectations and turned out to be the best dish of the meal. We also had the dal makhani, tikka masala, some rice and naan. The dal and tikka masala had so much cream that we had trouble finishing it all.
We visited he Capitol after lunch then off to Jaleo for supper. We had the tomato bread with manchego, which was so good, we ordered another. The endive with goat cheese was the next best item we tried. Also had the asparagus with romesco sauce, shrimp with garlic and patatas bravas. The last three were only decent compared to the two. Since this place came in higher than Zaytinya for a simple sized meal, it just didn't feel worth it.
We went to the zoo the next day then walked Lebanese Taverna for lunch. Had some tasty pita, not Zaytinya tasty, but still good. We split a falafel sandwich and a chicken shawarma. They were both decent but not worth travelling for. Back to the mall area for site seeing then decided we needed a drink. We went to the patio at Jaleo to get out of the sun. I had the best gin and tonic in my life. For $14, it needed to be good. Had he London Dry, with a grapefruit flavor and found my new summertime drink. Anyone have the recipe?
Supper was at our third Jose Andres place. Oyamel was the worst of the three. Service was poor and food heavy. Had the beet salad, which turned out to being the bet bite. Had the most salty Brussel sprouts ever. Had tortilla with shredded turkey and mole, meatballs with chipotle sauce and a cochinita pibil taco. Wasn't crazy about the two margaritas I tried and I normally love margaritas. Would not be back to his place. I know I was warned but we chose it because of the easy walk.
Saturday was an all day shopping day for my wife. Ugh! Lunch was crappy food court. We drove like maniacs to get back to the city for Birch and Barley. What a great value. Had a ton of great IPAs, the chicken sausage flatbread and pappardelle with goat for me and fig flatbread and goat cheese cavatelli for my wife. Couldn't leave with dessert so I tried the lemon chantilly and my wife had the cookies and confections. Overall his place was my favourite. The beer was great, the food great and was an overall good value.
Overall a fantastic trip. You have a wonderful city and we can't wait to come back again. Thanks for all the great suggestions!