Restaurant Week Tips
In yesterday's Got Plans? chat, a reader hungering for some food deals wrote in with this question:
Arlington, Va.: Some friends and I are hoping to take advantage of Restaurant Week, but one member of the group is a vegetarian. Any suggestions for a place in DC or Arlington that would have a few options for her? (something other than a grilled portobello!)
I've compiled my list of top options for vegetarians along with tips on how to nab a table.
There's no reason that you should compromise your dining experience for your veggie friend. Most restaurants will have something for vegetarians, though you're right in worrying about limited options. As I called around, I heard about lots of risottos and pastas. Fortunately, the summer Restaurant Week benefits from the bounty of summer produce, so even a steamed vegetable platter will sing with flavor.
With an enviable vegetarian selection and a generous RW deal, Rasika is my top choice. The restaurant's vegetarian repertoire is diverse, seasonal and enough to cause even the most hardcore carnivore to rethink the meat selections. Of course, the meats are fabulous as well, so it's an all-around RW pleaser.
Equinox would be among my top choices. They have not solidified the menu -- menus are made with the freshest available produce -- but are willing to accommodate vegetarians by altering most of the dishes. Soups are generally made with vegetable stock and pastas and risottos can be adjusted to suit vegetarians.
At New Heights, where John Wabeck recently resumed chef duties, vegetarian selections from the Restaurant Week menu include an oven-dried tomato tart with gorgonzola, a carnaroli and chanterelle risotto and a salad with herbs and Dijon vinaigrette.
Butterfield 9 plans a carnaroli risotto for vegetarians and a white corn soup, along with a few suitable salads.
701 offers a potato gnocchi with arugula, basil and tomatoes as its vegetarian entree. There are several starters, including an heirloom tomato salad, chilled melon soup, warm asparagus salad and a mango and romaine salad.
Zola typically offers its entire menu (with a few supplemental fees here and there). Vegetarians will find plenty of starter options and at least one good entree choice.
If you're nervous about where to find a reservation, here are a few tips. First, try reserving at places that don't list on Open Table. Most restaurants that offer online reservations book up quickly. It seems that fewer people make phone reservations these days. Bistro D'Oc, Bistro Lepic, Juniper, Mark and Orlando's and Tabard Inn are all places that will be participating in the week-long promotion and do not offer reservations through Open Table.
Along the same lines, if there's a spot you're anxious to try, give the restaurant a call. Most restaurants hold a few tables from online reservations to offer over the phone. As a bonus, reservationists can check for tables at other times or add you to a wait list if possible.
Be flexible. Try for tables at 6 or 10 when there's less demand. If you're willing and able, go for lunch. Most places offer specials at both lunch and dinner, but dinner books up first. Treat yourself to a mid-day deal that's less than you'll spend at dinner. As a bonus, you can spend the $10 you'll save at dinner on wine or a side dish.
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