Not long ago, I visited my niece who recently moved to Washington D.C. We didn’t have much time but I thought we should check out some restaurants I’d heard about. Both are in featured in “Top 10” restaurant lists… Washington Post, Zagat, etc.
The Red Hen
1822 First Street NW DC, 20001 (202) 525-3021 (In the Bloomingdale neighborhood.)
The atmosphere is very nice, upscale – kind of trendy, but still some somewhat casual. Seating is cramped in the main dining area and it’s a mob scene at the bar. We didn’t have a reservation, it was a Saturday. So, we arrived early and were lucky enough to get a seat at the bar. Within 20 minutes, people were lined up 3 deep, like vultures, waiting to grab our seat the moment we left! And, it’s a lively (read: a bit loud) room. Other than those 2 issues, which honestly weren’t overwhelming, everything else was wonderful.
The bartender’s food service was attentive and informed and patient. The food is a modern take on rustic Italian (is that allowed?) We shared several appetizers and a main dish. The Burrata with Asparagus Salad and the Crostini were both lovely. The (becoming a ‘Signature’ dish) Mezze Rigatoni (rigatoni with fennel sausage) was outstanding. And, the prices are very good!
Check out their interesting menu on their website. And, you’ll find plenty of accolades on the Press page to read.
Reservations accepted! But, good luck getting one….
717 8th St. SE on Capitol Hill, in Washington D.C (202)580-8889
This is another restaurant on a lot of Top 10 lists… including (but, not limited to!) Number 1 on
Bon Appetit’s Hot 10 Restaurants of 2014.
This is a spectacular restaurant. The food is outstanding! Inventive, flavorful, eclectic, delicious!
Pricey, too…. Plus, friendly, intelligent service and a casual and personal/fun atmosphere. All factors add up to a wonderful dining experience. Once you’re seated, that is…
Rose’s has a no reservations policy. People start lining up in the afternoon to get a table. Once you get to the host(ess), they will seat you or take your name and give you a time when you can come back. They will text your phone, too. There are several nice bars in the area as well as some shopping… You could wait up to 2 hours in line. What we did was to go about an hour after they opened and by that time the line had been handled. We signed up for a late dinner then came back at the appointed time. We were seated in the small-ish bar area. Very cozy with plenty of atmosphere.
So. Once seated our well-informed waiter patiently explained the menu and assisted us in making selections. We shared several plates. Among them:
GRILLED AVOCADO W/ TOMATILLO, POBLANO, COTIJA CHEESE & CILANTRO STEMS 12
PORK SAUSAGE, HABANERO, PEANUTS & LYCHEE SALAD 13
BUCATINI W/ SUNGOLD TOMATO SAUCE & PARMESAN 13
Everything we ate was delicious.
RL has a nice vibe… And, for every meal eaten, they donate 25 cents to the WFP-USA charity to feed hungry children world-wide. At last check, they had donated $18, 964.25. Read the staff page on their Website – it’s really fun. Chef-owner Aaron Silverman ran a supper club out of his house before opening Rose’s (named after his grandmother.) Decorations around the restaurant are fun and odd. The bathrooms are stocked with personal items and lovely soaps… In various interviews with the chef, you get the distinct impression that his ultimate goal is to make people happy – both customers and staff. I think he succeeds.
Frankly, I find the no reservations policies painful and either I don’t go to those restaurants or I go once. But, Rose’s Luxury is worth the wait. I would go back in a heartbeat.
Oh, and BTW, the First Lady has been here at least twice – once with POTUS (for his birthday). They don’t wait in line!