Taking little ones out to dinner can be a challenge. What if they hate the food? What if one sibling instigates a wasabi-eating contest? And let’s not forget: Parents want to eat well, too. We polled area chefs to find out where they take their brood for family meals.
Marcel’s, Brasserie Beck
Weidmeier’s adventurous sons—Marcel, nine, and Beck, four—love sushi at Tako Grill (7756 Wisconsin Ave., Bethesda; 301-652-7030), where Marcel gets the salmon roe and eel, and Beck is partial to the yellowtail. Houston’s, recently reconceived as the Woodmont Grill (7715 Woodmont Ave., Bethesda; 301-656-9755), is a favorite for burgers.
The Morales children are big on seafood. Sophia, seven, likes Hank’s Oyster Bar (1624 Q St., NW, 202-462-4265; 1026 King St., Alexandria, 703-739-7788) for lobster rolls and shrimp cocktail. Justin Cruz, four, tends to get antsy waiting for his meal, but the lobster and fish tanks at the Chinese restaurant Seven Seas (1776 E. Jefferson St., Rockville; 301-770-5020) keep him captivated.
Eighteen-month-old twins Ava and Bridgette already have a soft spot for the Southern-accented Vidalia (1990 M St., NW; 202-659-1990), where chefs habitually ask pint-size guests to describe their ideal dish. While it’s being prepared (and if they behave), they get milkshakes. For less fancy fare, the Coopers like the Original Pancake House (370 W. Broad St., Falls Church; 703-891-0148) and the dim sum at Mark’s Duck House (6184-A Arlington Blvd., Falls Church; 703-532-2125).
Addie’s, BlackSalt, Black’s Bar & Kitchen, Black Market
Native Texan Jeff Black herds his boys, Simon, nine, and Oliver, seven, to Tex-Mex joints such as Guapo’s (eight area locations) and Mi Rancho (8701 Ramsey Ave., Silver Spring; 301-588-4872). They’re fans of both the cheesy chicken enchiladas and the rowdy atmosphere.
Harrison Gray, eight, likes the sirloin hamburger at the swanky Westend Bistro by Eric Ripert (1190 22nd St., NW; 202-974-4900)—and loves to watch the fire trucks at the station across the street. But most often you’ll find him and his family at the pan-Asian Spices (3333-A Connecticut Ave. NW; 202-686-3833), where the second-grader orders chicken teriyaki and has started dabbling in sushi.
Acadiana, Ceiba, DC Coast, TenPenh
Tunks’s boys, Jordan, eight and Bradley, six, like action with their dinner. So they enjoy watching the flaming woks and the chefs’ fancy knife work at Tokyo One Japanese Steakhouse (9443 Lorton Market St., Lorton; 703-372-1599). They also frequent Pho Bowl (6406 Landsdowne Center, Alexandria; 703-339-9101) for Vietnamese soup loaded with rice noodles and thin slices of beef and Glory Days Grill (multiple Maryland and Virginia locations) for nachos and chicken wings.