Restaurant Week: Dining Out in DC

Woo hoo! It’s been a successful Restaurant Week in the city!

I’ve been drooling over countless Instagram posts from spots around DC that look absolutely fantastic. I’ve never really paid much attention to Restaurant Week in years past, and boy, now I know what I’ve been missing. Most places offer a three course lunch for $22 and dinner for $35. This might seem expensive, but when a restaurant usually has plates around $22 and up, this week is heaven.

 

Friday Night Dinner

I decided to book a reservation for Friday night at District Commons. Their Restaurant Week menu appealed to me the most for a couple of reasons. First, they had seven different options for an appetizer! Most of the menus I reviewed only provided three options for appetizers and entrees, and two or three options for dessert. Second, their entree selections included anything on their regular menu. Yes! Just pick an entree that’s on their normal dinner menu and add a dessert and appetizer all for $35! Thirdly, they are close to where we live and we wanted to walk to Georgetown afterward, so District Commons fit the bill the best.

This dinner was nothing but scrumptious. You know a place is good when you let your eyes roll back with pleasure during the first course. Also, when even a salad is memorable. I bounced back and forth between the Caesar Salad and the Arugula Salad; I eventually ended up choosing the Arugula because the inclusion of anchovies on the Caesar somewhat intimidated me. One day I’ll make myself try them because I’m sure they are a perfect salty addition, but last night was just not the night.

I was mainly interested in trying the pimento cheese fritters and they did not disappoint! Seriously, I’m now writing this Sunday evening and I am still craving that salad from Friday night. The dressing was light but detectable and despite not knowing exactly what the “Chicken Cracklings” were, they added a new dimension to the salad. Troy ordered the Mixed Green Salad which came with deviled eggs and bacon tossed in a mustard vinaigrette. I much preferred mine, but each salad dressing fit its dish beautifully.  

 

Despite the enormous size of the Chicken Fried Pork Chop, I ate every single bite. It’s placed on top of a carrot ginger waffle with chopped cabbage and mushrooms. The waffle was a tad soggy because the slaw was on top of it, but that hardly made a difference in the overall quality of the dish. Sometimes fried food can overpower anything else on the plate, but in this case the ginger stood out. I would definitely order this again!

 
The dessert was nothing to write home about (or should I say write a blog about, hardy har har). I ordered the chocolate cake which came with a dollop of chocolate ice cream atop some type of crumbled cookie thing, and cherries. One dessert option was a Burger Tap and Shake Root Beer float. District Commons and BTS share the same building, so I loved how they decided to include their neighbor on the menu. Overall, this was a great first Restaurant Week dinner!
 
Sunday Brunch
I couldn’t wait for last week to end because Sunday meant it was the day of Emily’s first wedding dress fitting! So naturally Restaurant Week, plus a sister date, plus Sunday meant BRUNCH! When I’m on the hunt for a new place to try, I mainly rely on Yelp and Instagram. I follow Toro Toro, a “Modern Pan-Latin” restaurant downtown, on my personal account and they share amazing pictures of their food. After watching their story and then seeing posts   I knew we had to try it out. Why? Because their deal was $35 for unlimited dishes! How crazy is that! My sister, Emily, and I waited all week to chow down, but unfortunately what they didn’t make clear was that the unlimited dishes were only for dinner. We walked in to a very loud, very packed restaurant which was only serving a brunch buffet.
 
Okay, buffets are similar to unlimited dishes so it’s all good, right? Nope. It’s not like this buffet was terrible, but it was incredibly underwhelming. I’ve seen delicious looking meals on their Instagram and on Yelp so I had high hopes for Toro Toro. A couple of highlights would be the Bloody Mary bar, their fresh guacamole, and the steak. Alcohol was unlimited, but only after adding an extra $10, which isn’t too unusual. The shrimp and oysters, of which were plentiful, were simply satisfactory.  To their credit, there were tons of options available in the buffet, but like I said nothing really stood out and wowed me. Also, they were terribly slow with refilling the guacamole! Perhaps they ran out, but if you’re a Pan-Latin restaurant serving a buffet you must ensure the guacamole is never ending.
 
It seems their brunch buffet doesn’t offer the same experience as dinner might. Hopefully I’ll have the chance to visit them again for dinner, even though it won’t be as good a deal as unlimited dishes for $35!


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