When I was in college, friends and I would go to restaurants to find their 'menu weakness': the one dish that is way underpriced and provided a great value to eat well for very little money.
Sometimes this would be an appetizer that ate like a main dish. They are getting harder and harder to find these days, especially in DC.
Lyon Hall in Arlington has my favorite at the moment. Listed as a side dish, their 'kraut garnie' is an Alsatian classic and is as good as food gets. Such a glorious mixture of flavors. There may be no such thing as the 'ideal version' of this dish - with saurkraut, potato, bacon, and sausage- but this might come under consideration. Add the warm pretzels (they serve enough for two people) and you have an entire, filling meal.
IF you are dining for two, all you'd have to do is add the ridiculously delicious pickled vegetables. This is a hearty, copious dish of crunchy vegetables at the perfect texture. Astonishing stuff.
Kraut Garnie, $8
Pickled Vegetables, $6 ($3 happy hour, until 7pm)
Soft Pretzels, $9 ($5 happy hour, until 7pm)
So dinner for 2, before 7pm, $16 to eat some really fantastic food.
Do you have any others 'menu weaknesses' that you'd like to share?