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Weirdly Expensive Dishes in Washington

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It's easy drop a lot of money on a meal in Washington, D.C. From uber-exclusive dining at six-seat Minibar to a 24-course tasting menu at Rogue 24, it's not uncommon for District tabs to run well into the triple digits.

And that's to be expected for fancy wining and dining. But sometimes, oddly expensive menu items are just head-scratchers. It turns out many restaurants also charge a pretty penny for regular dishes that can usually be found for much cheaper just about anywhere else. From sides and appetizers to beverages and desserts, here's a look at some of D.C.'s most curiously expensive dishes. And as for awkwardly-expensive items at D.C. diners? That's a whole different story.
—Jody Fellows

Spotted any other strangely expensive dishes around town? Let us know in the comments.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Curry Mantra

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9984 Main St
Fairfax, VA 22031
(703) 218-8128
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The $3 Piece of Bread
If diners want to pair their curry or tandoori chicken with a piece of naan at any of Curry Mantra’s three (and soon to be four) locations, they need to shell out $3 for each piece of bread. And if they want to add some flavor with the garlic or onion varieties, it’ll be $1 more.

2. Urban Butcher

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8226 Georgia Ave
Silver Spring, MD 20910

The $8 Broccoli Rabe
The new butchery and restaurant in Silver Spring is a meat lover’s dream. For those seeking less carnivorous options, there’s a selection of meat-free sides, but with the broccoli rabe checking in at $8, it doesn’t seem like they’re trying too hard to win over the vegetarians.

3. The Source by Wolfgang Puck

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575 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20001
(202) 637-6100
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The $12 Cookies
Twelve dollar chocolate chip cookies? Twelve dollar chocolate chip cookies. While The Source’s take on the fresh-baked classic are widely regarded as delicious, dropping double digits on some cookies seems a bit much. For a better deal, their “On the Hour” lunch special hooks up a smaller order of cookies along with a starter and sushi or burger for just $22.

4. Shake Shack

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1216 18th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20036
(202) 683-9922
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The $7 Chocolate Bar
In 2012, Shake Shack teamed up with Mast Brothers, the super-trendy Brooklyn chocolate makers, to sell a special dark chocolate bar available exclusively at the burger joint’s locations. At $7 a bar, however, it’s just 40 cents less than a double ShackBurger and one pricey slab of sweetness.

5. Bourbon Steak Washington DC

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2800 Pennsylvania Ave
Washington, D.C. 20007
(202) 944-2026
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The $18 Soup
Steakhouses are expensive and diners are well prepared to shell out big bucks for a hunk of meat and family-sized sides. But at the Four Season’s Bourbon Steak, that extends to the soup as well. At $18 a bowl, the potato leek with duck fat powder and salmon caviar is just shy of one Andrew Jackson.

6. DGS Delicatessen

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1317 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20036
(202) 293-4400
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The $6 Pickles
If it’s made in-house, it’ll most likely cost a premium. While a pickle spear comes with every sandwich order at DGS Delicatessen, if diners want to sample a plate of housemade dills, half-sours and other assorted pickled vegetables, it’ll cost six bucks.

7. Rosa Mexicano

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575 7th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20004
(202) 783-5522
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The $14 Guacamole
For better or worse, this was a tough one to nail down. Oyamel's goes for $13.50; add crab to Bandolero's and theirs is $17 (and yet only $5 for plain guac at happy hour there). For plain guacamole, this chain seems to have the edge, in a manner of speaking.

8. Rogue 24

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922 N St NW, REAR
Washington, D.C. 20001
(202) 408-9724
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The $8 Soda
When shelling out $125 for a 24-course meal, diners might not think twice about ordering an $8 cola. But when a properly-made highball at Rogue 24, using their same smoked cola, is just two bucks more, it gets harder to justify spending all that money for a non-alcoholic soda.

9. Le Diplomate

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1601 14th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20009
(202) 332-3333
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The $8 Order of Fries
High-priced fries are becoming the norm in D.C., depressingly, so it's almost not worth noting the $8 fry. But paying that much for a dish that can also be found as a fast-food item still hurts a little. Hot 14th Street brasserie, Le Diplomate, has an order of fries that rings up at a pricey $8. But because they’re listed on the menu as “pomme frites,” it all makes sense, right? Add truffle or Bordelaise to Poste's fries and they're $10-12, but Poste's fries also get discounted during happy hour, so they get a pass.
Update

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1. Curry Mantra

9984 Main St, Fairfax, VA 22031

The $3 Piece of Bread
If diners want to pair their curry or tandoori chicken with a piece of naan at any of Curry Mantra’s three (and soon to be four) locations, they need to shell out $3 for each piece of bread. And if they want to add some flavor with the garlic or onion varieties, it’ll be $1 more.

9984 Main St
Fairfax, VA 22031

2. Urban Butcher

8226 Georgia Ave, Silver Spring, MD 20910

The $8 Broccoli Rabe
The new butchery and restaurant in Silver Spring is a meat lover’s dream. For those seeking less carnivorous options, there’s a selection of meat-free sides, but with the broccoli rabe checking in at $8, it doesn’t seem like they’re trying too hard to win over the vegetarians.

8226 Georgia Ave
Silver Spring, MD 20910

3. The Source by Wolfgang Puck

575 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20001

The $12 Cookies
Twelve dollar chocolate chip cookies? Twelve dollar chocolate chip cookies. While The Source’s take on the fresh-baked classic are widely regarded as delicious, dropping double digits on some cookies seems a bit much. For a better deal, their “On the Hour” lunch special hooks up a smaller order of cookies along with a starter and sushi or burger for just $22.

575 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20001

4. Shake Shack

1216 18th St NW, Washington, D.C. 20036

The $7 Chocolate Bar
In 2012, Shake Shack teamed up with Mast Brothers, the super-trendy Brooklyn chocolate makers, to sell a special dark chocolate bar available exclusively at the burger joint’s locations. At $7 a bar, however, it’s just 40 cents less than a double ShackBurger and one pricey slab of sweetness.

1216 18th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20036

5. Bourbon Steak Washington DC

2800 Pennsylvania Ave, Washington, D.C. 20007

The $18 Soup
Steakhouses are expensive and diners are well prepared to shell out big bucks for a hunk of meat and family-sized sides. But at the Four Season’s Bourbon Steak, that extends to the soup as well. At $18 a bowl, the potato leek with duck fat powder and salmon caviar is just shy of one Andrew Jackson.

2800 Pennsylvania Ave
Washington, D.C. 20007

6. DGS Delicatessen

1317 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20036

The $6 Pickles
If it’s made in-house, it’ll most likely cost a premium. While a pickle spear comes with every sandwich order at DGS Delicatessen, if diners want to sample a plate of housemade dills, half-sours and other assorted pickled vegetables, it’ll cost six bucks.

1317 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20036

7. Rosa Mexicano

575 7th St NW, Washington, D.C. 20004

The $14 Guacamole
For better or worse, this was a tough one to nail down. Oyamel's goes for $13.50; add crab to Bandolero's and theirs is $17 (and yet only $5 for plain guac at happy hour there). For plain guacamole, this chain seems to have the edge, in a manner of speaking.

575 7th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20004

8. Rogue 24

922 N St NW, REAR, Washington, D.C. 20001

The $8 Soda
When shelling out $125 for a 24-course meal, diners might not think twice about ordering an $8 cola. But when a properly-made highball at Rogue 24, using their same smoked cola, is just two bucks more, it gets harder to justify spending all that money for a non-alcoholic soda.

922 N St NW, REAR
Washington, D.C. 20001

9. Le Diplomate

1601 14th St NW, Washington, D.C. 20009

The $8 Order of Fries
High-priced fries are becoming the norm in D.C., depressingly, so it's almost not worth noting the $8 fry. But paying that much for a dish that can also be found as a fast-food item still hurts a little. Hot 14th Street brasserie, Le Diplomate, has an order of fries that rings up at a pricey $8. But because they’re listed on the menu as “pomme frites,” it all makes sense, right? Add truffle or Bordelaise to Poste's fries and they're $10-12, but Poste's fries also get discounted during happy hour, so they get a pass.
Update

1601 14th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20009

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