Last Thursday I went to Colvin Run Tavern with a group of a dozen people to bid farewell to my company's CEO. We had arranged the dinner about a week in advance and were told that with such a large group, we would need to use the banquet menu, which is a 3 course meal, 2 choices per course, $60/each, exclusive of beverages.
The food was okay, but certainly nothing stunning, except for the salad. Tarragon was mixed with the salad greens, and the mix wasn't drowned in dressing. Everything else was competently executed, but nothing extraordinary.
I was very disappointed in the service we received. Evidently, the banquet experience doesn't include michelin formula service (no amuse-boche). This was a surprise, considering that several of my companions who've eaten there in smaller groups confirmed that they normally follow that general formula. Our server was stunningly inept. She took about 30 seconds per diner to place spoons or forks, repeatedly put the wrong utensils in front of our guest of honor, managed to mix up the orders for at least half of the diners (we all had a fine time swapping our fillets around to make sure the medium people's beef wasn't mooing), and couldn't even be bothered to face the dessert plates correctly. This went beyond the all-to-common "the tip is guaranteed so I won't pay much attention to this group" attitude you sometimes encounter.
Our marketing director who made the arrangements is appalled. The two of us will be sending management a letter.
Most of my larger group fine-dining experiences have been outside the DC area. Is the limited menu thing common around here for a modestly sized group like this? I can't help but compare this to the treatment a group of 14 of us got at the Flagstaff House in Boulder--full menu, full Michelin formula, 1 server per 2/diners so the entrees were all served simulaneously, flawless execution. (And yes, we added onto the included tip).
Net-net: I will never suggest the place for a group outing again.