Thursday, March 26, 2009

DC Restaurants: The Variety is Amazing!

There are many fine restaurants in Washington DC. There are others where the view is better than the food, and some whose reputation exceeds what they actually deliver.

In this entry, I'll tell you about all of the above as I find them.

One in the first category is Sequoia. Located at 3000 K Street in Georgetown, it is perched on the east shore of the Potomac near Foggy Bottom and offers sweeping views of the water, the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Bridge, the Kennedy Center, and the Watergate Hotel.

I found the menu schizophrenic, as if it couldn't decide what it wanted to be. In addition to the usual array of appetizers and salads, Sequoia had some raw bar offerings including blue point oysters, "regional oysters" (my server had no idea what that meant), and mussels.

The main dish offerings included several sandwiches (yes, at dinner), four pasta items, and main dishes including chicken, lamb, ahi tuna and crab cakes.

Not that they didn't do some things well. While the regional oysters were forgettable - lacking that wonderful, salty bite when you slurp the liquor - the hangar steak was fine. It was properly cooked, well seasoned, and tender. And there was no problem substituting mashed potatoes for the standard garlic frittes.

Overall, the food was OK and not terribly pricey by DC standards, but the service was not very attentive despite a light guest load. The best feature by far was the view.

Ristorante Le Perla , at 2600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, has no view, but it does have great Italian food. The chef/owner, Commandatorre Vittorio Testa, both directs the kitchen and works the room which is a real treat. The dishes - all Italian favorites ranging from simple "noodles and gravy" to delicate veal dishes - are uniformly well-done. The atmosphere is distinctly Tuscan (no red checked table cloths here!), which makes the after-dinner Sambuca, Amaretto, or Limoncello all the more tasty. Lunch is served Monday-Friday; dinner is served seven nights a week.


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