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Restaurant Week

This is my twice yearly public service blog about Restaurant Week in DC (August 15 – 21). Do you take advantage of this? Restaurant Week takes place twice a year, once in the frigid cold of the post-holidays and then again in the dog days of August. Times when diners are likely to be few. For all the details, Google “restaurant week dc.” For those out of the area, many cities schedule these. A three course lunch (starter, main, and dessert) is only $20.11.

We’ve been doing this for a few years now. We have a group in our office that book lunch at some participating eatery every day of the bargain week. Not the same folks for every place. You know, some really like Italian, but aren’t so keen on Indian, whatever. I’m pretty adventurous when it comes to food; Ethiopian, Peruvian, bring it on. Pass the curried goat, would you? Some folks, eh. Meat and potatoes. If you like to explore new cuisines, like I do, it helps to know a lot of different folks. I usually book for six and we always manage to fill the table. The upshot for the customer is that you get to try one of those $50 and up places at a discount price. And the restaurant hopes that if you like the meal, you will be back.

We have our favorites, places we revisit anytime we can get a deal. Our group likes any place by chef Jeff Tunks; DC Coast, Ceiba, Acadiana, or the late lamented TenPenh. We either revisit favorites or check out places we have never been before. This year, we are going to The Palm, Potenza, and The Prime Rib. We have also booked Ceiba and Acadiana, perennial favorites.

Well, you get the idea. Events like this are a great benefit of working in Washington and make a welcome change from that styrofoam container of noodles from the grazing bar. It’s only a week, budget for it both diet-wise and monetarily and you should survive. The best part of it is that you get to eat with friends, always a plus. You can book online for most of these at www.opentable.com a free reservation service. The tables go quickly.

The next week (August 19 – 28) is Restaurant Week in Alexandria, Virginia.

Oh, yes, I started a group here on Gov Loop called Gov Gourmet which is dedicated to discussions on food and drink. If you are interested, please feel welcome!

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Jeff Ribeira

Great description, Ed. I also like the idea of booking a variety of places throughout the week for colleagues. I’ve only been in DC long enough to experience one restaurant week, and it was awesome. Granted, I have heard from many who have not had as good of experiences, but it just goes to show that you still need to do your research before you go. Some restaurants are not a very good deal at all (maybe even worse than normal dining options) while some are amazing! Be sure to compare both the normal and special “restaurant week” menus for prices and food offerings.

Ed Albetski

True, but even negative experiences are valuable. We use Restaurant Week to scout the better restaurants for patronage the rest of the year. Better to spend $20.11 for a bad experience at lunch than $50+ apiece for a bad experience at dinner. I kindly do not list the “dud” places we have tried; who knows? Some folks may like them.

Alicia Mazzara

Agreed, Jeff! There are some great deals, but also some stinkers if you’re not careful. You can always book your reservation on Open Table now and then when the restaurant releases their RW menu on their website, you can cancel if it doesn’t look so hot.