DC Restaurant Week takes place twice a year and since new restaurants open up every single month in the area, it is a great time to check out a place that you’ve been hearing about. According to my list, these spots are first timers to DC Restaurant Week. This post is the first installment of a variety of feature articles to come — all about DC Restaurant Week. It seems only fitting that the first timers listing be the premiere post. Please let me know if I have missed one on the list.
The new Fairfax Hotel restaurant, 2100 Prime (2100 Massachusetts Ave., NW) located just steps from Dupont Circle is participating in DC Restaurant Week for the first time (Dinner only) since its massive renovation and re-opening. This past August the legendary Jockey Club closed its doors, ending an era, after serving the likes of John and Jacqueline Kennedy, Frank Sinatra, Eva Gabor, Joe Dimaggio, and more, but making way for a new chapter in the history books of The Fairfax at Embassy Row. 2100 Prime opened in its place with a fresh, new look and menu, featuring all-natural contemporary American cuisine in a casual, relaxed environment, under Executive Chef, Mark Timms, direction.
Opened November 1st, Degrees Restaurant (3100 South St., NW) the newly renovated bistro located inside the historic Ritz-Carlton Georgetown hotel, complements the current industrial chic style with classic bistro tables and banquette seating for 46 guests along with the bar and lounge seating for up to 20 guests. Participating in DC Restaurant for the first time offering lunch and dinner, Degrees features a contemporary American menu with a French influence, and features an innovative cocktail and wine list created by the seasoned bar team. Executive Chef Quang Doung menu includes locally inspired items such as a Chesapeake Crab Cake Sandwich and Pan Seared Atlantic Salmon, along with Bistro classics like French Onion Soup with Gruyere Cheese and Steak Frites with Béarnaise Sauce. Located on the Lobby Level of the hotel, the restaurant design complements the current industrial chic style with classic bistro tables and banquette seating.
The new District Commons (2200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW) from the folks of PassionFood group (DC Coast, Ceiba, Acadiana, PassionFish) that opened late September 2011 in Foggy Bottom’s Washington Circle will participate in DC Restaurant Week for the first time offering both lunch and dinner to eager diners. District Commons boasts as being a “21st-century American tavern” which houses 80 different bottles of beer. The tavern menu offers ham tastings, raw-bar fare and other moderately priced items, such as flatbreads. If District Commons is anything like its sister restaurants, I am sure that it will become one of my favorites. A few longtime readers know that some of the PassionFood restaurants were some of my very first ever reviews back in 2007.
Ford’s Fish Shack (44260 Ice Rink Plaza) located in Ashburn, VA is on the participating restaurant list for the first since opening in September 2010, according to my records. Coowner/Chef Tony Stafford had been a managing partner in Bonefish Grill in Centreville and, before that, the executive chef at Artie’s in Fairfax, part of the respected, family-friendly Great American Restaurant collection. I haven’t eaten there; however, Tom Sietsema at the Washington Post said, “If you’ve eaten at Artie’s, you’ll experience deja vu at Ford’s.”
Graffiato (707 6th St., NW) just opened in June 2011 and I have only eaten there just once; however, I can confidently say that Mike Isabella’s Penn Quarter eatery is well worth the visit. Graffiato will be participating in DC Restaurant Week for the first time this year for lunch only. If you’re anywhere nearby, you shouldn’t miss the chance to get three courses for just $20.12. If you read my July 2011 post then you’ll know that Graffiato (in my opinion) has lived up to the hype.
While Citronelle Michel Richard is not a new opening, the Lounge at Citronelle Michel Richard is participating in restaurant week for the first time. Michel Richard’s abbreviated dinner menu in the Lounge, while not the full menu, is still notable and excellent quality with options such as his world-famous 60 hour braised Short Ribs (served for 2), Tuna Salad Nicoise, and of course, the Lobster Burger (listed as one of my Top 10 all-time most memorable bites).
Also new to restaurant week is Market Tavern, (2800 Clarendon Blvd.) the new incarnation of Clarendon’s Harry’s Tap Room. The Market Tavern will offer a special 3-course restaurant week dinner menu for $35.12. Enjoy mid-priced American food and drink on two levels: a stylish ground-floor bar/lounge with a modern fireplace offering 26 drafts, plus 76 wines by the glass and handcrafted cocktails to wash down burgers, salads and more. Upstairs, enjoy more upscale dining with a menu of chophouse entrees and warming casseroles.
If you have never been to SAX then now is as a good time as ever. Self-indulgence is expected with the opulent red velvet, gilded leaf and crystal décor (see photo above) paired with a modern French-inspired menu guaranteed to titillate the senses. DC Restaurant Week is a prime opportunity to enjoy Chef Jonathan Seningen’s sensual and satisfying dishes. I was blown away by my dinner at SAX, and have already recommended it to friends. Chef Seningen is strutting his stuff at SAX and will not disappoint. The wine list prepared by Andrew Stover, also at Oya and Sei has the perfect pairing to every dish. Along with incredible food, SAX offers cabaret performances nightly, an experience that is lavishly unique in the nation’s capital. Inside of the expansive 9,700-square-foot lounge sits the 20-foot enclosed infinity stage which is visible from all corners of the two-story space and host grandly costumed cabaret performers throughout the evening. Guests can expect to see artists ranging from illusionists and mimes to other alluring performances that border on burlesque. Skip going to Vegas, and enjoy a SAXual dining experience right here at home.
For menus, list of extensions, and other DC Restaurant Week features, see here. Stay Tuned for the NEXT of my DC Restaurant Week feature articles.