Another day, another hotel restaurant vying for your attention. Last week we were at the Moxy riding a coin operated horse (and eating our way through their flatbread options) and now we’re here to talk about The Delegate, D.C.’s newest hotel dining option. Located inside the Courtyard and Residence Inn across the street from the Convention Center, The Delegate is a sprawling but comfortably designed space. It’s a smart location, drawing in both hotel guests and whoever is at the Convention Center on that given day, but it’s clear that The Delegate doesn’t just want to be a hotel restaurant.
And who could blame them? D.C. has always had a strong hotel dining scene, but it’s changed significantly in the last five years. Hotel restaurants don’t look like Bourbon Steak anymore, they look like American Son, with its floor to ceiling windows and warm mid-century woods. The Delegate isn’t quite as whimsical as anything happening at The Line, but it doesn’t feel like Blue Duck Tavern or the Tabard Inn either. Instead, it seems as if it’s splitting the difference and trying to live somewhere in between. Its looks are on trend, but its menu is filled with classics.
For the most part, those classics hit the mark. Of the starters, the black sesame ahi tuna was by far our favorite. The fresh, dark red slices of tuna were paired with a sprinkle of sesame seeds, a drizzle of honey soy vinaigrette and some wonton chips on the side. It’s fresh and bright and easy, the very definition of a crowd pleaser. If you’re looking for a little more meat, the wings are also a solid option. They’re succulent and snackable, without being greasy or weighing you down.
Our favorite entree was the pan seared scallops. It sounds boring. What nice restaurant doesn’t have a scallop dish? But The Delegate adds enough jalapeño to throw some spice into the mix, which pairs nicely with the sweetness of the corn risotto. A dash of truffle butter adds some umami, but the scallops are mostly left to shine on their own. And they do. Pair it with the Granny Smith Goes to Washington (made with Cotton & Reed dry spiced rum) to bring out the sweetness or go with the Only Spy I See (with Ilegal mezcal) to bring out the spice.
Next time you’re stuck at the Convention Center, you know what to do.
The Delegate is located at 901 L Street NW.