So last night we decided to go for the old fashioned luxury experience and went to the Hay Adams Hotel for drinks & dinner. The Off the Record bar is every bit as old fashioned and refined as everyone on here has said The red walls and frescoed ceiling are things you don't see much these days. The drinks were really tasty and the bartender, John, fascinated us with his tales of traveling around the world. After watching the AU basketball team get into the playoffs, we strolled upstairs to the Lafayette restaurant. The whole lobby area is very elegant, very open and the restaurant is kind of open to the bigger room. Our res was at 7 at which time there were very few other diners. But the piano player was doing his thing which was nice. They seated us at a very large 2 top by the window with a view of St John's church. Very nice & scenic.
The waiter had a heavy accent so it was kind of hard to understand him but he was quite good. The sommelier came over and helped us pick a nice cab for our dinner. Then we ordered a cheese plate for an app (actually on the dessert menu). We ordered 3 varieties but they gave us 4. Cheeses really excellent with some fruit & things on the plate.
Wine was decanted without asking -- very nice -- and it was the perfect cellar temp. They were happy to let us leisurely enjoy our cheese and talk. But the service was very old world; someone was always watching our table and made sure we had full water glasses, etc at all times (they serve fiji water, gratis BTW). They brought about 8 different kinds of bread too...everything from dark pumpernickle to flat bread. If you love bread this is your place! Then we ordered; hubby had the soup special (MD crab and clam i think) and they were kind enough to let me order an app for my entree. I had the artichoke ravioli in a lovely mushroom sauce. he had the venison special. He really enjoyed his and i really enjoyed mine. The app size was what an entree SHOULD be which was perfect for me. We ordered a grand marnier souffle for dessert (you have to order it at least 30 min early). The service was wonderful but not rushed at all. While we were waiting for our souffle, the waiter brought a plate of handmade chocolates for us which were really yummy. Then the souffle came; one was plenty for 2 people. The sauce that came with it was a sabayon type of sauce; really creamy & wonderful and the souffle was light and delicious.
One other great thing: the valet parking is free at dinner; you must get the ticket stamped in the restaurant however. So we finished up and went outisde and while the valet got the car, we had a great view of the white house (the park trees are still bare so the view is straight in) which was cool. An invite over there for coffee would have been a perfect top off but the evening was quite lovely and different nonetheless. Although we do like most of the new 'hot' dining spots with alot of cool factor, now and then it's nice to just go to an old fashioned elegant hotel restaurant. I'm happy to also report that as the evening wore on more people came...AND the crowd was a mix of young, medium, and older folk. i had expected that other than us it would be only older big $ people but was pleasantly surprised to see that wasn't the case. This would be a great spot for a business dinner or a romantic evening for 2. The piano music was a nice background and the acoustics in the room were such that it was never noisy even when full around 9 pm. Prices were commensurate with other nice restaurants like 1789 or Palena. We'll definitely be going back!