Restaurant Week 2017
BYT at large | Jan 30, 2017 | 12:00PM |

Winter Restaurant Week begins today. For the first time, brunch is on the table. So we’re giving you 2 brunches, 7 lunches and 7 dinners worth your time and money for the next 7 days. There are 250 participating restaurants. 250. And not all of them are deals. These 16 picks are deals.

BRUNCH

China Chilcano

Leave it to José Andres to convert even me, the most ardent critic, into a brunch fan. I’ve never really gotten on board with spending $25 on a few eggs and potatoes I could arguably make better at home and a shitty mimosa made with well champagne and mostly orange juice. That’s why China Chilcano is serving up one of the best Restaurant Week brunch deals this year: three courses for just $22, with only one “traditional” brunch-ish item (the poached eggs, which, of course, also have a José twist with the addition of pork belly and ají panca, a Peruvian red pepper). Start with a classic ceviche containing red snapper, leche de tigre, sweet potato, red onion, and cilantro; then move on to the famous Peruvian Ají de Gallina, a chicken stew with crumbled cheese, pecans, and rice. That order on the normal menu: $30. Which means you’ve already saved $8 *and* still get to pick between the condensed milk custard or the Peruvian version of a banana split for dessert. Restaurant Week is about finding the best deals on the best food. Not a surprise at all that José Andres is the one to offer it. -Logan Hollers

China Chilcano

Dino’s Grotto

Dino’s restaurant never ceases to impress me, even after all these years – and relocation from Cleveland Park to Shaw – Dino’s offers high quality, fresh, and seasonally updated Italian food that won’t break the bank, and their Restaurant Week offerings are even more generous: you can choose from the entire brunch menu for your three course meal, with upcharges only applying to a few items – and bottomless for just $7 extra. With friendly waitstaff, unpretentious ambiance, and an emphasis on “Farmer to Table” food (“the farmer matters”, says Chef Dean Gold), Dino’s is a Restaurant Week bargain you should add to your year-round shortlist. Try the duck bolognese canelloni – it’ll change your life. -Jose Lopez-Sanchez

LUNCH

Aperto

Another restaurant week newbie. Aperto is making a bold statement by offering meatballs as a starter. If meatballs aren’t your thing (you maniac) you can have arugula salad or minestrone soup instead. For main course you’ll have to decide between lamb chops, ravioli, or chicken milanese. Good luck with that. Their dessert options are quintessentially Italian: Nutella semifredo, tartuffo, or tiramsu. -Norm Quarrinton

Central Michel Richard

Losing Michel Richard last year was a mega bummer; the incredibly influential chef fused French flavors and techniques with a sense of pure joy in the kitchen, and inspired countless chefs along the way. His eponymous restaurant, Central Michel Richard, pays tribute to its former leader in a great way with one of this year’s best Restaurant Week lunch deals: $22 for three courses. Dishes sound simple, but offer much more than the few ingredients listed on the menu; start with a Spinach Salad (normally $14.50) or a lusciously creamy Burrata (normally $15.50). Then the real fun starts. Central is a “nice” restaurant, for sure; imagine your surprise, then, when you end up with one of D.C.’s best burgers (normally $18 and worth every penny) or arguably the city’s best fried chicken, full stop (inspired, according to Richard himself, by KFC and normally $25). Feeling more classy? Pick the grilled branzino with okra and pineapple (normally $34), and you’re getting an even better deal. Finish with your choice of a chocolate lava cake, pistachio crème brûlée, carrot cake, or mango and coconut sorbet – you deserve it for making such a savvy RW pick. -Logan Hollers

Fiola Mare

The most glamorous Italian restaurant in the District is getting in on the Restaurant Week action with a glorious three course lunch (featuring two options per course). Hungry customers can choose between vegetable vellutata or a beet and citrus salad for an appetizer and ricotta cavatelli or a branzino fillet (with mussels) for the entreé. Dessert option include bombolini (basically doughnuts, and budino (pudding). -Norm Quarrinton

Grilled Oyster

Grilled Oyster Co in Cathedral Commons is quickly becoming a local treasure, and Chef Steve is serving up some mouthwatering lunch options for Restaurant Week. Diners can choose from three starters (crab hush puppies, ratatouille stew, or a pair of grilled oysters), three mains (mahi tacos, calamari salad, or shrimp risotto) and two desserts (raspberry olliejack, or a delicious key lime mousse). -Norm Quarrinton

Jaleo

The tapas-style menu at Jaleo lives up to the hype, and the Restaurant Week deal offers serious bang for your buck: Jaleo is the only place I’ve ever done Restaurant Week where I couldn’t finish my meal. -Trisha Brown

Ottoman

Foodies can get three courses at Mt. Vernon’s premier Turkish joint. Chef Ilhan Erkek turned to his hometown of Istanbul for inspiration when devising his Restaurant Week offerings. To start, guests can choose between lentil soup, shepherd salad, or garlic hummus, before moving on to either a delicious Turkish stew known as karnibahar or a chicken-based dish called tavuk sis. There’s also two different types of lamb kebab on offer (donner and iskandar). The sütlaç (cinnamon rice pudding) is their only dessert option, but fortunately it’s a good’n. -Norm Quarrinton

Rasika

Since Rasika is one of the best restaurants in the city and is packed every night, they don’t bother with a dinner menu for Restaurant Week. But don’t be deterred – if you can sneak out of work to get there, $22 will buy you a lunch you’ll longingly remember for weeks. A sandwich and chips at Brown Bag would cost you about half of that anyway, so why not treat yourself? -Trisha Brown

DINNER

conosci

Chef Michael Schlow’s “restaurant within a restaurant” has gotten raves for its pristine seafood, intimate setting, and impeccable plating. Sounds like the perfect $35 Restaurant Week dinner pick, especially given the fact that six small courses are normally $45. Conosci is offering a set five-course menu that shows off the kitchen’s care with fresh seafood: start raw with arctic char sashimi and a red snapper ceviche. The former, paired with chive oil, shaved celery, and fermented chile, has a distinctly Asian feel; the latter, combining purple sweet potatoes and a leche de tigre, leans more South American in its flavors. Delicately sauteed wild mushrooms with ginger and hazelnuts showcase the best of winter’s produce, while the main course, a risotto, balls out with the addition of sweet jumbo lump crab and uni. End sweet with a dark chocolate budino with salted caramel, chantilly, and a butter crumble. Read back through that paragraph and remember that you’re paying just $35. In fact, you might as well spring for the drink pairings, too; pairing each course with sake, wine, or an after-dinner Barolo is only an extra $35. -Logan Hollers

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Convivial

I love the modern, earthy flavors of Convivial, and this year for restaurant week Chef Cedric Maupillier is letting diners select three items from his entire menu, which means you won’t be limited in your choices. Try his famous leeks dijonnaise, the aromatic squash vadouvan, crunchy tartiflette fritters, and best of all, his epic desserts. I can never choose between the apple pie, s’mores, and hot sticky pudding. Go with a group and get one of each! Convivial is perfect for a fun restaurant week excursion with your friends. -Priya Konings

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Equinox

An upscale dining option that you want to take advantage of during restaurant week. Dine like the business elite of DC on dishes like house baked focaccia, butternut squash chowder, bucatini with truffled white bean bolognese, and cauliflower tempura served with a tahini sauce. For something sweet, get the bombolini or the pineapple upside down cake. Chef Todd Gray makes elegant, delicious food; you’re going to want to linger over this dinner for a while. Go with a date and splurge on the wine since you’ll be saving on the food. -Priya Konings

Mintwood Place

Mintwood Place does French food with plenty of élan – their love and respect for the cuisine translates into every dish. $35 buys you a veritable bounty by Restaurant Week terms, with plenty of hearty offerings that will stick to your ribs during these colder weeks. This is a place that will test your decision-making skills; best to go with a group of people so you can strategically try everything on the dinner menu. -Jose Lopez-Sanchez

NoPa

Finding a place during restaurant week that can accommodate a variety of dietary restrictions or preferences can be tough since most places have a pretty limited menu. Luckily for your gluten-free and vegetarian friends, NoPa’s whole “American fare” menu is included in the Restaurant Week deal. The special pricing also makes a restaurant that’s just a little overpriced on an ordinary day into an affordable, quality option. -Trisha Brown

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Osteria Morini

If you don’t live near Navy Yard, you may not know of Osteria Morini, since the Italian restaurant isn’t really the kind of place you grab a Miller Lite before a Nats game. But the food is great, Restaurant Week makes for a deep discount, and since the neighborhood is pretty quiet this time of the year, it might be easier to get reservations here than at some of the other high-quality places in the city. -Trisha Brown

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Oval Room

I am a fan of Chef John Melfi. During Restaurant Week, you can sample his delicious creations for a fraction of the price. This year, he is featuring restaurant week dishes like a stunning heirloom carrot salad with bright orange, sweet raisins, and hazelnuts, an escarole and fried bread salad, potato agnolotti with beech mushrooms, and, for dessert, flourless chocolate cake and a lemon meringue pie. The reservations fill up crazy fast so make one today. Oval Room is one of our local gems. -Priya Konings

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