Summer 2015 DC Restaurant Week recs

The end of summer is quickly approaching (WHAT? Did July not even occur?), which means it is almost time for DC Restaurant Week. This year, Restaurant Week falls between August 17-August 23. A list of the participating restaurants can be found here. While each year, more people complain about the downsides of Restaurant Week, I still believe if you pick well, you can eat some great meals at a much cheaper price ($35.15). Some of my picks for Restaurant Week this time around:

  • Birch and Barley: Always a solid restaurant choice, and this can be a good deal, since the entrees are upwards of $30. They have not uploaded their RW menus yet, but I assume that they will not be skimping out on the choices available. Also, let’s talk about THE BREAD BOARD there. This might be my favorite bread board in the city. As soon as I sit down for dinner there, I feel like I immediately start shaking in anticipation of that wonderful platter of carbs. There has never been a time where I went to Birch & Barley and did not overindulge on the pretzel bread, mini brioche and incredible butter. Which usually means I’m stuffed by the time my entree comes around, but I just do not have the willpower to say no to those fluffy bites of heaven.
  • Casa Luca: The more casual of Fabio Trabocchi’s spots, Casa Luca offers incredible Italian food in a beautiful setting (love the outdoor patio along 11th street!). The RW dinner menu has some great offerings, such as their filet, which normally goes for $32! The pastries here are delicious (a sampling below) that I never pass on, no matter how full I am towards the end of my meal.

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  • Centrolina: New to City Center, this restaurant comes Amy Brandwein, who previously worked at Alba Osteria. I have heard nothing but praise for this Italian restaurant and market, and have listed on my places to try, eventually. They have not posted their RW menu, but their meat dishes range from $28-$42, while their pastas go from $18-$28 so I assume that you are getting a pretty good deal when RW includes apps and zerts as well.

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  • Del Campo: The amazing “South American grill” from Victor Albisu has a great lunch and dinner menu offered for two weeks (RW extended until August 30th!). The grilled short rib & chorizo option sounds incredible, especially since these meals will be beginning with their famous bread and smoked olive oil.
  • Fig and Olive: I put this on here because this restaurant recently opened in City Center amidst a lot of hype, and is the first of a few NYC spots to come to DC (Come one Momofuku, I am dying of anticipation). I am not sure if it has since lived up to this hype, since I’ve heard complaints about spotty service and an extremely loud atmosphere, but if you are thinking about trying it, RW seems like a good time. Their menu offers some good options, such as the Paella Del Mar which usually is $29, and the tajine which is $27 a la carte.
  • Mintwood Place: This always has been great for Restaurant Week because their dinner menu includes most of their regular menu (makes my heart throb like good puppy YouTube video when I see restaurants that do this). Mintwood always makes me so happy because the food never fails to satisfy me, the service is always friendly and perfectly attentive, and the atmosphere of the restaurant just generally makes me feel warm. I would recommend going here with a group so you can order every since one of their insanely delicious desserts:

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  • Nonna’s Kitchen: The Italian restaurant above Alphonse on U street has gotten a thumbs up from my real roommate, who is perhaps the pickiest and second most pretentious man that I know (first place goes to my ex-bf who once told me the vegetable selection at the new O street market Giant was “atrocious” and he could only buy greens from Whole Foods). In my mind, this means I must eat here because Jason has expressed approval for approximately 4 things since I moved in with him three years ago. The menu looks like good, solid Italian food, and I look forward to eating here because it usually only offers a 4, 5 or 7 course tasting menu (for $75, $90, $110).
  • Pinea: Located on the first floor of the W hotel downtown, A and I tried this restaurant shortly after it opened during Winter RW a few months ago. We both thought it was a great meal, and appreciated that they offered their entire menu for RW (simply pick an app, main course and dessert). The RW menu this summer gives you the same options, although the menu has changed slightly since the winter. The rack of lamb and bouillabaisse entrees sound delicious.
  • Rural Society: The Argentinean steakhouse is on the pricier side, so this is a good chance to eat here for much less. I thought our meal here was absolutely delicious during RW this past winter, and the menu looks the exact same this time around. Note: drink lots of water because they are slightly heavy-handed with the salt, and I woke up the next day convinced I would never be able to take the ring off of my puffy finger again.
  • Sushi Taro: I am coming back here (first went last summer during RW) with the fake roomie because it is just that good. It is also just that expensive during dinner, and I love a good deal, so RW is the best time for me to have some fresh, silky sashami in my mouth.

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