Thanks for all the suggestions....I really appreciated it and I figure I owe a trip report. We ended up going to Bistrot du Coin. Loved the look of the place. The food was fine, but after watching my partner try every white wine they had available by the glass to no avail, I'd suggest ordering wine by the bottle. Nevertheless, it was a useful and very convenient solution. By the way, the Margaret Bourke-White exhibit at the Phillips is worth a visit. The permanent collection is quite cool also but unfortunately the annex containing most of it is closed for renovation so you'll have to come back in a couple of years to see what they haven't space to hang for now. That merits doing.
Part of the reason we came to DC was to meet up with somes friends from London who were in town on business. I had perused this board for a place to have dinner and settled on Le Relais in Great Falls. Due to rental-car-map-lossage (really, the damn thing was flat wrong...) we were very late for our res and arrived after their official closing time. They couldn't have been nicer and stayed open until we got there. Given all of that, and various other circumstances due to the fortunes of Manchester United, we had the tasting menu with the wine pairings. Anybody who wants blow-by-blow on that will have to post a request but it was quite delicious. One can argue about whether such extraveganzas are overpriced but at that level and the end of the day the experience is what counts. We had a great and unexpected one so it was worth it.