I reviewed a few of the recent "solo diner" threads and made a preliminary attempt at sorting the recommendations into "Yes", "Maybe", and "No" categories (see list below). My "Yes" category includes places that seemed to meet most or all of my criteria, the "Maybe"s are places that looked like they might be a little too far, a little to pricey, or a little too stuffy. The "No"s are places that sound great, but aren't really what I'm looking for on this trip.
I'm going to be coming in after a long day of traveling from my home in Phoenix, so I would like to go some place where I can eat at the counter at a relaxed pace and maybe even chat with a friendly bartender or fellow patrons. A see-and-be-seen type of place is not really what I'm looking for, but I can cope with that sort of scene if the food and service provide sufficient distraction. :-)
Now I need help with further winnowing, ranking, and/or re-categorizing (e.g., turning a Maybe to a Yes; turning a Yes into a No) based on the following criteria:
-reasonably close to Metro Center station (no more than 15 minutes away by Metro or taxi or foot)
-informal/laid back "West Coast" vibe--I appreciate polished service, but not to the point of stiffness
-menu featuring local/regional ingredients--seafood would be a major plus
-something other than Mexican or Cal-Med food (plenty of that at home)
-decent wine list--bonus for good dessert wine selection
-tab for app + entree(or pasta) + dessert + wine pairings (for each course) comes in at around $100 or less
Now for my list so far...
Hank's Oyster Bar
Blue Duck Tavern-maybe too far, too much $$
Equinox-too much $$
Palena-too far? wine list not online
Vidalia--could be too much $$
Kinkead's (bar cafe)-bang for the buck looks low
Obelisk-could be too much $$ (no info on website)
Taberna del Alabardero (tapas)-bang for the buck?
Teaism-menu doesn't thrill me
Cashion's Eat Place-menu didn't grab me right away
Hook-possibly too much $$
Circle Bistro (bar)-menu doesn't thrill me
Butterfield 9-potentially too formal
Bistro Bis-enjoyed a group dinner there, but want to try something new
Jaleo-same as Bis
Sonoma-looks very good, but very Californian
Citronelle-way too $$$$
CityZen-too $$$, too formal looking
Oyamel-too similar to what I can get at home
I look forward to getting the lowdown from the DC hounds. Thanks!