Don't have the cash flow right now to try any of the cool new restaurants you read about? Or simply can't get into any of them on a busy night? Here are a few recommendations for inexpensive, accessible alternatives to three of the hottest new places in town.
1.) Azur/Granville Moore's: Chef Frederick de Pue's Azur is one of the newest additions to the DC dining scene, having just opened in April, and his restaurant features an impressive amount of seafood. The restaurant is located inside the former Café Atlántico space. Where Minibar once served gastronomical creations now stands a raw oyster bar. Azur is also home to one of DC's most expensive cocktails. For $40 the bar serves a cognac and brandy concoction, dubbed the Mangusta 165 -- a drink aptly named for a super yacht worth $40 million. For dinner, de Pue serves up a favorite from his home country, Belgian-style moules frites for $19.
When Azur is closed, each Monday, head to Granville Moore's on H Street for moules that veer from the traditional and come at a discounted rate. There are five styles of moules cooked up by Chef Teddy Folkman, including a pork belly and blue cheese broth and a red curry broth. Instead of a $40 cocktail, opt for beer at Granville's. The bar has a rotation of Belgian beers, some brewed by trappist monks. Crowds typically gather on "Mussel Mondays" when bowls cost $12 each. To avoid long waits for tables and barstools get there when the restaurant opens at 5 p.m, otherwise this steal might come with some eager anticipation.
2.) DGS Deli/Deli City: In November, DGS Deli helped reintroduce Washington to the simple beauty of the delicatessen, with a bit of a restaurant spin. DGS puts its own touch on the classic reuben. The corned beef is prepared in-house and cured over an eight day period. The sandwich sells for $13.50 and comes with the sparkling ambiance of the restaurant's two-tiered dining room.
Diners who care less about location and looks and more about value will want to hop in a car and head to Deli City on Bladensburg Road in Northeast, DC. Regulars here come from nearby business, including cab drivers, WMATA employees, and MPD officers. The reuben sandwich is a heaping mass of meat piled high and served on rye with two pickle wedges on the side. The dish comes served on a styrofoam plate for $7.95. But, before heading to Deli City, visit an ATM. The restaurant is cash only.
3.) The Rye Bar/Fiola: The Rye Bar opened earlier this spring in Georgetown's Capella Hotel. Whiskey lovers probably won't mind forking over the money to taste the bar's signature cocktails. The beverage program uses artisanal ices, including stainless steel whiskey stones for high-end sipping. The Manhattan is the most expensive drink at $22. It features Dad's Hat, a rye whiskey from Bristol, Pa., Dolin sweet vermouth, the sweet French aperitif Byrrh Quinquina and orange bitters. To build on the charred, oak finish, the cocktail is aged for six weeks in an old Dad's Hat barrel.
Across town at Fiola, the happy hour crowd can sip on multiple Manhattans for what it would cost to buy just one at The Rye Bar. Happy hour features a $6 version of the Manhattan. That's a hard bargain to beat in DC. The drink uses traditional Kentucky whiskey, Old Overholt rye, Cocchi Vermouth and Angostura bitters. But, the timeframe for enjoying this cocktail deal is limited: happy hour runs from 4-6 p.m, Monday-Friday.
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