Winter Restaurant Week 2012

Photo courtesy of Daquella manera
Cena courtesy of Daquella manera

So you are one week into your New Years resolutions of getting fit, eating healthy and exercising more… Good for you! Now get over it, because starting January 9th restaurants across the District will be offering killer deals for Winter Restaurant Week. From January 9-15, select restaurants across the city will offer a three-course lunch for $20.12  and three-course dinners for $35.12. Best part is, no mass daily-deal purchase necessary, all you need is a reservation. Now, who doesn’t love a delicious bargain?

Restaurant Week is a week to go big rather than stay home, as some of the pricier dining options in DC become immediately accessible. It is a chance for you to cross out some of those places you’ve had on your list for a while, instead of waiting for the next birthday/anniversary/you-name-it special occasion, you’re excused to dine with the big boys and save a pretty penny too. While some haters (I was indeed one of them) worry that the lower price point comes at the expense of quality, the restaurants below are quality-driven and promise a memorable dining experience regardless of the end bill. And let’s remember, it is their reputation on the line after all and consistency is key. So stop drinking the hate-orade and embrace the feast week.

Here are some suggestions:

Art and Soul- Art Smith will offer an extensive menu that includes some of his signature dishes, as well as a specially priced wine list for the week. Now that’s being a Southern Gentleman.  Menu highlights include shrimp and grits, charcuterie of the day, Yorkshire pig and cabbage, pan fried flounder, and sweet offerings like chocolate bread pudding and apple tart. Update: Art and Soul will be extending their restaurant week menu through January 22nd.

701 - Chef Ed Witt has developed an extensive and exciting menu, mouth-watering options include lemongrass lobster bisque, bourbon caramel apple salad with mustard greens, veal sweetbreads, red wine beef short-ribs, cider braised rabbit leg and desserts including an upscale s’more- chocolate bar with vanilla bean gelato, marshmallow and graham crackers. Need I say more?

Rasika- Reservations at Chef Vikram Sunderam’s Indian mecca are near impossible to snag, so book now if you want to dine here during Restaurant Week. The Penn Quarter powerhouse is consistently delicious and will undoubtedly be offering some of its best dishes.

Photo courtesy of angela n.
Art & Soul courtesy of angela n.

Fiola- Everything here from the classic antipastis to the homemade pastas and innovative fish and meat offerings is spot on delicious. As Fiola’s first Winter Restaurant Week, chef Fabio Trabocchi is sure to deliver. I also recommend you spend the money you would have on the meal and try many a drinks by Fiola’s resident mixologist, Jeff Faile. These men know what they are doing.

Other best bets include, the quintessential Georgetown fine dining restaurant, 1789. Italian stallion Tosca, and I would pay serious money for the macaroons at Adour, so I recommend you get your fixings.

Carnivores rejoice! Usually a steak at any of these establishments goes for about the same price as the Restaurant Week three-course dinner. Try J&G Steakhouse, the swanky W Hotel steakhouse is offering a parsnip soup starter or caesar salad, seared cod or its famous peppercorn crusted steak with special sauce. If you want to really step it up and steak out, The Prime Rib is another great option, offering a London broil, imperial crab, roast prime rib, as well as key lime pie, in a setting that alone feels like you should be paying to enter. For more beautiful settings, try Charlie Palmer Steak. Also, Morton’s Georgetown, Arlington and Downtown locations will be participating in Restaurant Week.

Photo courtesy of Jing a Ling
courtesy of Jing a Ling

DO: Step away from that desktop and get out for lunch. As hard as leaving that big screen and plastic fork can be, go on and indulge in a three-course bargain. If only there were siesta laws implemented during Restaurant Week too…

Great options I’ll be exploring include:

Zaytinya (which has an extended Restaurant Week menu through January 22) will be offering Greek/Turkish/Lebanese mezzes including butternut squash dolmades, sea scallops with yogurt-dill sauce, caramelized okra with chickpeas and cardamom tomato stew, Turkish delight and walnut ice cream. Yup, my mouth is watering as I type.

For more Jose Andres fixings- Oyamel and Jaleo will also have extended menus through January 22.

Elisir - This recently opened Italian child of Enzo Fargione will only offer a Restaurnt Week lunch option with an extensive menu that includes a traditional country style chickpea soup, saffron fettuccine with Bolognese, Cannelllone pasta stuffed with three cheeses in a mixed mushroom ragu, marinated spice rubbed pork ribs, and grilled housemade sausage. Sweets include a warm espresso-hazelnut Zuccottino cake with Gianduja chocolate sauce and mascarpone gelato.

Photo courtesy of Plantains & Kimchi
Elisir, Washington DC courtesy of Plantains & Kimchi

Graffiato -Mike Isabella will be dishing out his famous Jersey Shore pizza as well as other Italian tapas offerings like crispy brussel sprouts with pancetta, buffalo mozzarella with honey glazed onions, pumpkin risotto with smoked provolone and a chocolate tart with sea salt gelato to finish it off.  A discounted Restaurant Week menu is only available for lunch. If you need visual mouth-watering motivation check out our recent post here)

Other great lunch options include recently opened District Commons, PS7′s,  Poste and Bibiana.

Now, get on booking… Those diet killers/pocket healers go fast.

While it was Georgetown that brought me here, it was the city that kept me here. I was born in Colombia but spent my teenage years in London, yet have never felt more at home than in the District. I believe the best way to get to know a place is through its cuisine, and plan my life around sharing good food with good people. Lover of lattes, bacon and bourbon. This is Why I Love DC .Follow me on Twitter or Email natalia(at)welovedc.com

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