Top Five Restaurants to Take Your Parents
1. Blue Duck Tavern
1201 24th St. NW
This new American hotspot in the lobby of the Park Hyatt off M Street boasts a pristine open kitchen and a market-priced menu that ranges from a hearty brunch — be sure to try the short rib hash, the roasted bone marrow and the classic chicken and waffles — to a rustic farm-to-table dinner menu featuring highlights such as the roasted duck breast, the pan-roasted rockfish and the crispy brussels sprouts with pimento cheese. Regardless of when you go, however, the first sight that will greet you will be the two-person apple pies in the restaurant’s bakery, an enticing offer for anyone with room to spare by the end of the meal. Go there for heavy sauces, charred vegetables and an impressive Instagram post.
2. Rasika West End
1190 New Hampshire Ave. NW
As Indian restaurants are rather hard to come by around campus, the new Eat n’Joy replacement Curry & Pie, has attracted a respectable following. For some high-end Indian fusion, however, turn to Rasika, one of which occupies the lobby of the Ritz-Carlton on 22nd Street. The menu has an equal number of traditional dishes like the smoky vegetable korma and chicken tikka masala and some more adventurous hybrids like the grouper curry, the black cod with fresh dill and bhindi chili garlic. Also a safe but tasty choice is the onion and sage naan paired with any of the restaurant’s grand selection of curries and sauces. Go there for curried fish and flavors of mango.
3. Rose’s Luxury
717 Eighth St. SE
Like any quaint, cozy eatery with astonishingly good food, Rose’s Luxury, a bit of a trip from campus, requires some stamina. The restaurant, which does not take reservations, often has a line down the block around 5:30 p.m. when it opens. But its food, and its rather blase approach to serving it — a limited menu of small, family-style dishes like the crispy pig’s ear salad, the spaghetti with cartelized cauliflower and the chicken fried oyster with Yemeni hot sauce — has a minimalist, no-frills charm. Don’t expect a fancy night out with Rose’s Luxury. It’s crowded and noisy the entire night, but its honest attitude toward its food and its service is worth it.
4. Smith & Wollensky
1112 19th St. NW
Yes. Smith & Wollensky is a chain. The company owns locations all over the country. But this particular American steakhouse sets itself apart from its butter-drenched, high-calorie competitors with its no-frills approach to meat. Minimal seasonings, strong, simple sides like creamed spinach and roasted brussels sprouts and not a Cheddar Cheese Crab and Seared Ahi Tuna Explosion in sight. Also refreshingly unadorned and flavor-centric are the restaurant’s ribeye carpaccio, smoked burrata and scallops. Go there for beef, beef and more beef.
701 Ninth St. NW
“What are mezze?” the homepage of the Zaytinya on Ninth Street asks. In a few, simple words: Mediterranean tapas. The plus side is that the restaurant’s bite-size dishes offer endless possibilities for a lunch or a dinner out. The disadvantage comes when perusing Zaytinya’s six-page menu to find the diamonds in the rough. A few picks: the tzatziki with lavash chips, the crispy eggplant and yogurt sauce, the seared halloumi cheese, the fried squid, sea scallops, and smoked sweetbreads. Not to be missed as well is the spit-roasted lamb wrapped in phyllo and goat cheese. Go there for the flavors of olive oil, lamb and creative uses of dairy.