D.C. Restaurants

Washington restaurants come and go. While we have favorites, we always try to find new places. On our 2019 trip to Washington DC, we had a chance to explore some new places to eat.

St. Anselm

We made a meal of small plates at this American tavern. Tom enjoyed the grilled clams with chanteuse , but Joyce felt they were too salty. The grilled king crab leg with melted butter  was very good. The lamb tartare with flatbread was nicely spiced. But the hit of the meal was a veggie dish: grilled cauliflower coated in tahini and puffed amaranth. Wine was a pleasant 2017 Bow & Arrow Vitae Springs Vineyard pinot noir.


At this Japanese influenced restaurant, we sat at the restaurant bar, at which we enjoyed the cooking show as well as the meal. We began with two excellent starters: panko fried oysters topped with parmesan and shredded horseradish on a bed of onion soubise and amberjack crudo with coconut milk, red onion, almond crumble and lime air. The entrees were also quite good, although when we saw how heavily salted the dishes were, we asked them to go light on the salt. Our dishes were crispy-skin red drum with caulilini, red curry and cherry tomatoes and roasted duck breast with miso baba ganoush and wilted radicchio. Our only qualms were with the very limited wine list (especially for reds) which was way over-priced….3X markups over retail prices.


We sat at an outside table at Equinox, enjoying the nice spring weather. We both enjoyed the large, lightly fried softshell crab with julienned vegetables on a bed of Middle Eastern rice and saffron tomato sauce. Tom was quite happy with his East Coast Bouillabaisse with giant prawns, octopus, rockfish and saffron aioli crostini.  Joyce was quite disappointed with her starchy pappardelle with a bland wild mushroom Bolognese with sweet basil. The Mendocino county Grenache (2017 Elizabeth Special Cuvee) was lighter than the Spanish grenaches with which we are familiar, and lighter than we would have preferred with our dishes. Howeer, it was still quite nice. We were quite pleased with both the service and the atmosphere.

The Dabney

We were anxious to try this very popular restaurant. Unfortunately, we cannot recommend it.  While the somm and our server were fine, the food took forever to come out of the open, wood-fired kitchen. And when they did come out, we were disappointed in many of them. The shaved radishes & fried oysters contained a full plate of tasty, fresh radishes, but only three nickel-sized oysters. the grilled Chesapeake rockfish was okay, although was over salted four our tastes. The grilled quail was okay but the sweet/sour agrodolce sauce overwhelmed the taste of the bird. We were particularly disappointed with the skillet flamed cornbread which had a burnt taste and barely a note of corn taste. Ironically, our favorite dish was the complimentary chibatta with a delicious sorghum butter. We also appreciate the somm’s surprising recommendation of a Riesling (2017 Peter Lauer Riesling) with our dishes. We will not return.

China Chilcano

China Chilcano is a Jose Andres restaurant that specializes in contemporary Peruvian food, which translates into a blend of traditional Peruvian, Japanese and Chinese. Our lunch consisted of three dishes. The big-eye tuna ceviche with soy-cured egg yolk, ponzu, puffed quinoa, avocado and jicama was the best of the meal. The fried crispy shrimp and pork dumplings were tasty, although we erroneously expected them to be pan-fried, rather than deep-fried. Xioa Long Bao was disappointing in its total lack of soup in the dumpling. Not high on our return list.

Hank’s Oyster Bar

At Hank’s Oyster Bar, we enjoyed the lobster devilled eggs and the fried oysters (although we thought the serving to be a small for the price). Meanwhile, some of the fried clams (also a small portion for the price), had not been soaked long enough to wash out their bellies, which were full of disgusting black grit. Another less-than-stellar experience

Sweet Home Café

Sweet Home Cafe is a multi-station cafeteria-style spot in the National African-American Museum. We were very surprised at how good the meal was. they had many different types of food stations. You lined up at the station of choice and then chose your food. Tom had shrimp and grits. The bowl was piled to overflowing and included 10 large shrimp and a tasty sauce. Joyce had an equally generous and tasty barbequed pulled pork sandwich. We both had cornbread and a pecan tart, which were nice complements to the meal. While the cuisine may not be particularly innovative, our very limited experience was very positive. The food was well-prepared, tasty and the portions were generous.  The servers were friendly and the facilities spacious and clean. The bad news is that you have to have a museum ticket to get in. but if you are going to the museum, it is one of the better lunch options in the area.

Other Restaurants

See our 2015 blog for other past restaurant reviews.


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