Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Restaurant Week Pass

So it is restaurant week here in DC, and this foodie has no reservations, mostly by design. I have soured on restaurant week over the years for a few reasons. At most of the restaurants that participate, $35 for an appetizer, entrée, and dessert is either: 1) not a deal or 2) the portions are so big that no single person would ever order both an appetizer and dessert, so we end up spending more than we would have had we gone there on an ordinary night.

And the vast majority of restaurants (though there are exceptions) try to either rush patrons in and out or waitstaffs are indifferent. And this might be for good reason; according to restaurant staff I know, many of the people who never eat out except for this week are not used to tipping, and leave a pittance so skimpy as to be insulting.

We discovered a couple of years ago that some of the best restaurants participating have pre-theatre deals throughout the year, that yield better service in a lot less chaotic circumstances.

So after that Andy Rooney style rant, I will note that B went to Westend Bistro for lunch on Monday and swears by their tender, melt-in-your-mouth short ribs. Some of the better and more expensive restaurants like Westend and 2941 also only offer restaurant week specials at lunch; I do think that in this case, it is quite the deal. Unfortunately, my hectic 9-5 precludes my participation.

Having said that, I still like at least the concept behind restaurant week. During the slow seasons, people are lured to trying places they otherwise wouldn't try. Unfortunately, the experience very rarely lives up to the promise at most places.

This year, there are some gems. The newly opened and much-hyped Ris (headed by the former 1789 chef) and J&G Steakhouse in the W hotel are both offering lunch and dinner. But both have long been booked; despite claiming to be a great Foodie, I missed the reservation window!

Should you decide you just have to run out and get in on the supposed action, DC Foodies has a great write-up, including menus.


  1. I agree about Restaurant Week -- always a disappointment, and a mob scene at that.

  2. Vermilion in Old Town does a great Restaurant Week. The choices are good, the service good, and unhurried. We had a party of 6 at the most recent one, and they did not push us at all, we were there two hours ish.