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Red Hen
Red Hen
Photo: Jessie Bryson/Eater.com

Where to Avoid Restaurant Week Insanity

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Red Hen
| Photo: Jessie Bryson/Eater.com

The sun rises way too late and sets way too early; the weather is chilly and gray, and the holidays are a distant, hazy memory. These can only mean one thing: Restaurant Week has arrived. It's no secret that having a multi-course meal for $20.14 at lunch or $35.14 for dinner can be a great way to try new restaurants and exciting dishes. But Restaurant Week can also be a waiter's and diner's nightmare when crowds are slamming a place.

What's a Restaurant Week skeptic to do; stay home? Hardly. Some of the most raved about 2013 restaurants, such as Rose's Luxury and the Red Hen, aren't getting into the Restaurant Week game. Others, such as Toki Underground, are so popular and the food's so affordable, what's the point? Another bonus for trying out one of these places this week: crowds might be lighter due to all the folks heading out for the Restaurant Week promotion. So where can someone enjoy a meal in a "business as usual" environment? Check the map to find out some options.


· Metropolitan Washington Restaurant Week [Official Site]

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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8407 Kitchen & Bar

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Chef Justin Bittner serves up artisanal American cuisine in this Silver Spring oasis. It's close to the Metro, so exploring the restaurant's Scotch list or enjoying Wine Lover's Mondays shouldn't be an issue.

Agua 301

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The newest eatery in The Yards development focuses on Mexican cuisine with Chef Antonio Burrell at the helm. For those looking to stay warm during the winter months, the restaurant's many tequilas should help with that.

Baby Wale

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Keeping it fun, this Mt. Vernon eatery has New Jersey hot dogs, red bean pupusas, and mozzarella porcupines on its menu. For those looking for something a bit more classic, the roast chicken for two takes care of business.

Bangkok Golden

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The Seven Corners destination is a haven for those seeking authentic Laotian and Thai flavors. With extensive menus featuring classic Southeast Asian dishes, including Laotian style pho, different kinds of larb, and curries, no one should leave not feeling satisfied.

Casa Luca

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Chef Fabio's downtown eatery focuses on Italian dishes with its menu including sections titled "land", "sea", and "family style favorites" for those who like to share. And the in-house pasta is not to be missed.

Cashion's Eat Place

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In Adam's Morgan without being "Adams Morgan", Cashion's is "funky-elegant". The restaurant is all about American cuisine with Mediterranean twists using what's in season.

Corduroy

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This Shaw restaurant is all about New American cuisine with many of the ingredients coming from farms in the area. For those who want to the chef to decide what'll be on the table, the five-course tasting menu is $70.

District Kitchen

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Woodley Park's District Kitchen has a selection of small and medium plates so diners can make their own tasting menus, including comfort food classics like deviled eggs and housemade pickles.

Estadio

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Tapas is the original small plates. And Estadio does it right. The Spanish restaurant on 14th Street has more than a dozen quesos and a half dozen meats on its menu. So go ahead and create the ultimate charcuterie platter.

While Etto may have small plates, it also has pizza that is the size of a large plate. Its roasted cauliflower pizza is super popular, just like the restaurant. Reservations cannot be had, but it's certainly worth the wait.

Green Pig Bistro

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Clarendon's carnivores head to this bistro to wine and dine on pork shank, kung pao sweetbreads, steak tartare, and bone marrow on toast. For those looking for something less meaty, there are always salads and dessert.

Izakaya Seki

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It's a traditional Japanese izakaya in a rapidly changing neighborhood. Just north of U Street, the Izakaya Seki has a selection of raw dishes, hot and cold noodle soups, little bites to pair with the restaurant's many sakes, and some fried goodies. The space is in an unassuming rowhouse, so be mindful when seeking out the restaurant.

Jack Rose Dining Saloon

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On the southern end of the Adams Morgan strip, Jack Rose doesn't do frou frou foods. Expect the classics -- mushroom risotto ($20), grass-fed filet ($26), and wild boar ($26). OK, wild boar may not be classic, but it's pretty bad ass. And throw back a few fingers of whiskey (neat) as a digestif.

The Red Hen

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Chef Michael Friedman's Bloomingdale restaurant made its mark in 2013. And in 2014, expect American cuisine with Italian inspirations, including the dish many rave about -- the rigatoni with fennel sausage. And the sommelier Sebastian Zutant will make sure the perfect wine is at the table. Just ask.

Chef Marjorie Meek-Bradley continues to create dishes using local ingredients in her Cleveland Park restaurant. All this while planning for an expansion in Adams Morgan with Roofers Union.

Rose's Luxury

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One of the big culinary splashes from 2013, Rose's Luxury at Barracks Row keeps the menu minimal but the dishes creative. Order the popcorn soup because where else will one get popcorn soup in the city?

Thai X-ing

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LeDroit Park's Thai foodie destination is easy to miss. Located in a rowhouse on Florida Avenue, the family-style Thai dishes will keep coming out. And then continue to come out. And then more will come out. And it will feel like being in someone's home in Thailand.

Toki Underground

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It's Toki Underground. The ramen joint has no problem filling its seats on a random Tuesday in the dead of winter. Why bother with Restaurant Week? Expect to wait. And expect to leave happy.

8407 Kitchen & Bar

Chef Justin Bittner serves up artisanal American cuisine in this Silver Spring oasis. It's close to the Metro, so exploring the restaurant's Scotch list or enjoying Wine Lover's Mondays shouldn't be an issue.

Agua 301

The newest eatery in The Yards development focuses on Mexican cuisine with Chef Antonio Burrell at the helm. For those looking to stay warm during the winter months, the restaurant's many tequilas should help with that.

Baby Wale

Keeping it fun, this Mt. Vernon eatery has New Jersey hot dogs, red bean pupusas, and mozzarella porcupines on its menu. For those looking for something a bit more classic, the roast chicken for two takes care of business.

Bangkok Golden

The Seven Corners destination is a haven for those seeking authentic Laotian and Thai flavors. With extensive menus featuring classic Southeast Asian dishes, including Laotian style pho, different kinds of larb, and curries, no one should leave not feeling satisfied.

Casa Luca

Chef Fabio's downtown eatery focuses on Italian dishes with its menu including sections titled "land", "sea", and "family style favorites" for those who like to share. And the in-house pasta is not to be missed.

Cashion's Eat Place

In Adam's Morgan without being "Adams Morgan", Cashion's is "funky-elegant". The restaurant is all about American cuisine with Mediterranean twists using what's in season.

Corduroy

This Shaw restaurant is all about New American cuisine with many of the ingredients coming from farms in the area. For those who want to the chef to decide what'll be on the table, the five-course tasting menu is $70.

District Kitchen

Woodley Park's District Kitchen has a selection of small and medium plates so diners can make their own tasting menus, including comfort food classics like deviled eggs and housemade pickles.

Estadio

Tapas is the original small plates. And Estadio does it right. The Spanish restaurant on 14th Street has more than a dozen quesos and a half dozen meats on its menu. So go ahead and create the ultimate charcuterie platter.

Etto

While Etto may have small plates, it also has pizza that is the size of a large plate. Its roasted cauliflower pizza is super popular, just like the restaurant. Reservations cannot be had, but it's certainly worth the wait.

Green Pig Bistro

Clarendon's carnivores head to this bistro to wine and dine on pork shank, kung pao sweetbreads, steak tartare, and bone marrow on toast. For those looking for something less meaty, there are always salads and dessert.

Izakaya Seki

It's a traditional Japanese izakaya in a rapidly changing neighborhood. Just north of U Street, the Izakaya Seki has a selection of raw dishes, hot and cold noodle soups, little bites to pair with the restaurant's many sakes, and some fried goodies. The space is in an unassuming rowhouse, so be mindful when seeking out the restaurant.

Jack Rose Dining Saloon

On the southern end of the Adams Morgan strip, Jack Rose doesn't do frou frou foods. Expect the classics -- mushroom risotto ($20), grass-fed filet ($26), and wild boar ($26). OK, wild boar may not be classic, but it's pretty bad ass. And throw back a few fingers of whiskey (neat) as a digestif.

The Red Hen

Chef Michael Friedman's Bloomingdale restaurant made its mark in 2013. And in 2014, expect American cuisine with Italian inspirations, including the dish many rave about -- the rigatoni with fennel sausage. And the sommelier Sebastian Zutant will make sure the perfect wine is at the table. Just ask.