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Posted at 3:26 PM ET, 01/18/2011

#RestaurantWeak?

By Elizabeth Flock
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(By Bill O'Leary - The Washington Post)

Restaurant Week is here, and reservations are disappearing rapidly as we scramble for the chance to eat swanky three-course meals at discounted prices around the District.

But is it worth it?

Restaurant Weeks are notorious for not being all they're cracked up to be. In several cities, I've noticed fine establishments using the gimmick to lure the hoi polloi who would almost never eat there, and then having the audacity to serve them near-scraps! A three-course meal I (clearly in the hoi polloi category) had during Chicago Restaurant Week a few years ago appeared to be based on ingredients the restaurant needed to get rid of, in the form of overripe fruit served picturesquely on stale Italian bread.

Several friends have shared experiences with me of rude or bizarre service during past RWs in the District. But who can blame the waiters? They're overwhelmed by packed tables, and know they're not going to get tipped as well as on a normal day.

Another note to self while attending RW: The set prices don't include beverage, tax or gratuity. That means the check may still be a rude awakening when taking a date who likes to drink. Because what's the fun in grilled Atlantic salmon without a great white wine to accompany it?

But hey, several Washington Post foodies have told me they adore Restaurant Week, so much so that their experience at one ritzy restaurant made one of them a loyal follower for life. Maybe I haven't hit up with the stellar District RW joints yet, but I'm not convinced.

What’s your experience been like at Restaurant Week? All you dreamed of or weaker than expected? Write your thoughts in the comments below or send us a tweet using the hashtag #restaurantweak.

Looking for resources for Restaurant Week?

By Elizabeth Flock  | January 18, 2011; 3:26 PM ET
Categories:  Elizabeth Flock, Your Take  
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