Thanks fo Chowhound, I had two great meals during a weekend trip to DC, although I also had two mediocre meals. The first night, we went to Zaytinya which was excellent (and the great martini at the bar beforehand didn't hurt). To be fair, some dishes seemed just good (taramosalata and dolmodes spring to mind) while some were fantastic (I particularly liked the manti). My friend has our notes, so I can't remember everything we had, but there was nothing that wasn't interesting. I really liked the yogurt cream with apricots two ways for desert, although I could imagine that some people might find it bland and the apricots reminscent of canned fruit - not a ringing endorsement, I realize, and yet it seemed the perfect ending after the variety of flavors of the mezze.
My other good meal was lunch at Teaism - what a charming spot! I had the seafood udon. I thought the seafood in it was a little overcooked, but the broth was superb.
I was disappointed at Red Sage Border Cafe. My companions thought the nachos were good (I was indifferent) but all of our entrees were mediocre. I had the sweet potato and plaintain skewers, two people had the carne asada, and the last had goat cheese and mushroom quesedilla - the latter was so bad she barely touched it. It didn't help that our server was fairly absentminded (picking up half-full beer bottles, never taking our entree orders, bringing the wrong margarita, etc.). I was suprised by the bite I took of the desert my friend ordered - some sort of coconut cake. I was expecting it would be absurdly sweet, but it was actually very well-balanced. Best part of the meal.
I had wanted to try Dukem, but for a variety of reasons I ended up at Meskerem instead. We had a vegetarian sampler and one of the lamb dishes (the first one on the menu). The injera was fine and the lamb was yummy, though not spicy, but only one of the vegetarian dishes (red lentils of some sort with a real smokey flavor) did much for me. The rest of the dishes had very muddled flavors or no flavor at all. I was really disappointed, I must admit, since I had been looking forward to having decent Ethiopian in DC. Our waitress was lovely, though.
On a non-food note, I went to see the azaleas in bloom at the arboretum, which was absolutely stunning. I immediately sent all my friends in DC to there!