Thursday, August 17, 2006

Restaurant Week: It happened again

My Restaurant Week date and I have developed a theory about this special time of year for diners, while the appetizer and dessert are fantastic--9 times outta 10--the main course will be "meh" to "gross." This has happened to us at some of the best restaurants in the city during RW. To be honest, I had almost given up on the whole thing after a terrible main course at 1789 (great apps and dessert though).

So we went to the new Agraria Restaurant on Washington Harbor / G-town last night. The restaurant prides itself on fresh, locally grown meat and produce a la "from our fields to your table." A friend of mine had her birthday there, and she said it was one of the best steaks she had ever had so we planned accordingly.

The restaurant itself is very nice to look at, and we sat outside in front of the fountains. It’s great for people watching as we see G-town sluts and tourist groups stumbling out of Tony and Joe’s and the other waterfront bars.

Food. So the steak wasn’t on the RW menu so I decided to abandoned ship and get it anyway. I had been thinking about red wine and steak all day, I was pretty sure the pasta dish would not be slaking such a craving. My date’s RW menu order was the shrimp, pork chop and chocolate cake for dessert. Pretty safe, you’d think, as all of those items are simple enough. And, you’ll never guess what—the shrimp and chocolate dish were quite tasty, but that had to be the driest pork chop ever served. And my steak was very good—but it wasn’t on the RW menu.

Ah, Restaurant Week strikes again.

15 Comments:

Blogger KassyK said...

Oh that stinks...Good bet--Tenpehn. I went with the girls on Monday night and the food was all up to par...delicious. :-)

12:09 PM  
Blogger Protagoras said...

I've also been quite disappointed in my restaurant week choices. Last night a girlfriend and I tried Cafe MoZU at the Oriental. Awesome sushi app, but the main entre can only be described as haibut-jerky. The chocolate marshmellow souffle was a tad dry too.

12:14 PM  
Blogger JoJo said...

Gotta agree with Protagaras since I was there with her. But my experience was kind of the opposite...pork and shrimp dumplings and said chocolate marshmellow souffle = meh. Beef loin, overcooked (asked for medium got pretty much well done) but tasty.

12:18 PM  
Blogger V said...

Kassy: Maybe I'll try that one next

Pro: That sounds no good, and that's one of the highest rated restaurants in DC, right?

Jojo: Glad the over cooked worked out, the pork chop last night was nasty--

12:20 PM  
Blogger JoJo said...

I've eaten at Cafe MoZU a few times over the past year and at all other times (non-Restaurant Week), it's been amazing. Great ambience, food, service, view, etc. So, I think you're theory is correct, V.

12:26 PM  
Blogger Kathryn Is So Over said...

It's COMPLETELY correct. My observation was that they know it's restaurant week, and the purposely shrink the portions so they aren't totally raped on the pricing.

For example, last night's meal at Ristorante Tosca was delicious, truly. I didn't want more food than I got, and I let BP eat some of mine. But his halibut main course was REALLY small. If he'd bought that at the regular price, the dish was $33. I can't imagine they'd dare to serve such a small portion at such a high price... ergo, Restaurant Week stuff is smaller scale.

12:30 PM  
Blogger Sweet said...

I went to Zola, and there whole menu is up for grabs for restaurant week. Amazing. Needless to say, I barely could walk outta the place.

12:32 PM  
Blogger V said...

Jojo: Yes, I've heard great things about it otherwise...I'll wait to try it some other week though.

K: Exactly. I guess either they skimp on portions or it's a poor quality. Glad tosca was good though--that one is on my list to try as well.

Sweet: Cool, thanks. Everything on the menu is def something I could enjoy. I'll be sure to check it out as well.

12:35 PM  
Blogger Ashburnite said...

RW or not, appetizers are always my favorite part of the meal anyways. So I would probably end up just dining on apps everywhere. Glad you got your steak though....now I'm craving one.

1:05 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Definitely a good way to discover new places, which are inevitably better in non-restaurant week!

1:25 PM  
Blogger Miss Scarlet said...

I have yet to participate in this. I really need to. Although I'll have to check out the places that are getting better reviews.

1:41 PM  
Anonymous Media Concepts said...

I was at a restaurant earlier this week, and didn't even remember it was restaurant week until I saw the extra menus. But we ran into the same problem you mentioned: the appetizers and desserts looked good, but the choice of entrees was very limited. I don't usually order dessert anyway, so a la carte we went.

7:17 PM  
Blogger Nicole said...

I'd have to agree with Kathryn about the small portions; I too went to Tosca, and dinner date's sea bass was scrumptious but shrimpy-sized. Luckily, we fared pretty well at Kinkead's and Notti Bianche - a nice sized flounder but average short ribs, good roasted branzino - though it was $4 add'l to the RW price, and fresh, though a tad salty shrimp with the tagliatelle.

8:40 PM  
Blogger Raincouver said...

RW should stand for Rip-off week. Look, I understand that you, the restarateur, take a hit that week from the usual profits. But if you can't afford it, DON'T participate! The whole idea behind RW is to promote your restaurant, not to provide charity.

You want your customers feeling like they got a great meal, otherwise, it will be counterproductive. It's not rocket science here, come on!

RW in Vancouver is the same. Few restaurants have the entire menu available, some have a set course, and many have reduced portions.

Counterproductive, I tell you. The locals, who are your frequent customers, become upset, and stop frequenting your restaurant. That was my reaction to this place:
http://www.caponesrestaurant.net/map.htm

HMPH!

4:53 PM  
Blogger Living in Dupont said...

However unfortunately (or fortunately, maybe?) I had to cancel my very first RW date due to a horrible fever that took over my soul from Tuesday until just yesterday. It was rather sad to me, as I'd even gone to the lengths of getting reservations and triple checking that my best friend would certainly be there (he has a habit of falling off the face of the earth). Alas, I will need to wait until next year for my terrible main course.

10:30 AM  

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