Newsletters

Get Dining Out delivered to your inbox every Wednesday Morning.

Where Would Todd Go for Restaurant Week?
Our dining critic's picks for the best deals during Summer Restaurant Week. By Todd Kliman
Comments () | Published August 20, 2009

Related: Summer Restaurant Week Menus 

I’ve gone on record already as saying that I don’t consider paying $35.09 for dinner to be a deal. At that price, what we’re talking about is Free Dessert Week.

Add that to the fact I’ve seen a lot of portion shrinkage around the area in the last few months as well as the fact that a lot of the menus I spent a couple of hours reading this past weekend are guilty of stinting (soups and salads as first courses, salmon and chicken as entrées), and the Restaurant Week picture doesn’t look particularly enticing.

But that’s not to say no restaurants are deserving of a try. It is to say, however, that being picky in choosing your places is more important than ever.

The good news: Restaurant Week at lunch remains a terrific deal at $20.09, particularly if the space is right and the cooking is on.

Before we get to my picks, a few words on why and how they’re chosen:

• Restaurant Week ought to be a time to indulge—a time to dine luxuriously at a fraction of the usual cost. So for that reason, I don’t include any small-plates/tapas/mezze places, which generally offer good deals year-round.

• I don’t look on too kindly on places with upcharges—with rare exceptions: Bistro Bis is a big offender, but it rescues itself by making so much of the menu available. And it’s one of the more consistent—and consistently satisfying—restaurants in the area.

• If a place has performed strongly in the past, then it earns the benefit of the doubt this time around. I’m thinking, here, of Poste and Tosca, especially—two of the most consistent RW places in the history of this promotion.

• Restaurants that play in the spirit of the week earn my affection and admiration (and a spot on this list), even if I don’t consider them to be places worthy of grand indulgence. Dino, for instance, is offering a terrific deal next week: any three courses from the regular menu plus a glass of house-infused grappa or moscato

• Some newcomers, such as New Heights, earn their way onto the list largely on the strength of a creative and relatively generous menu. New chef Logan Cox is untested as a Restaurant Week performer—the week creates special demands on places—but it’s worth gambling on a young, ambitious talent.

As I did last time, I’m employing a tier system to rank the restaurants I’ve chosen, with tier 1 being a place I’d fight to get into and tier 3 being the equivalent of a very good safety school.


TIER 1

Vidalia at lunch and dinner
Bistro Bis at lunch and dinner
Rasika at lunch UPDATE: and dinner!
Siroc at lunch and dinner
Tosca at dinner
Poste at lunch and dinner


TIER 2

Dino at dinner
Café du Parc at lunch and dinner
Tallula at dinner only
Johnny’s Half Shell at lunch and dinner
Kinkead’s at lunch only
Vermilion at lunch and dinner
2941 at lunch only
Willow at lunch and dinner


TIER 3

Acadiana at lunch and dinner
New Heights at dinner only
Nage at lunch and dinner
CommonWealth at lunch only
Café Atlántico at lunch and dinner

Follow the Best Bites Bloggers on Twitter at twitter.com/bestbitesblog

More>> Best Bites Blog | Food & Dining | Restaurant Finder

Categories:

Events Food & Restaurant News
Subscribe to Washingtonian

Discuss this story

Feel free to leave a comment or ask a question. The Washingtonian reserves the right to remove or edit content once posted.
blog comments powered by Disqus

Posted at 08:22 AM/ET, 08/20/2009 RSS | Print | Permalink | Comments () | Washingtonian.com Blogs