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It was the $2 fries that drew me to Quill. The bar and lounge at the Jefferson Hotel offers the “fry-day” special on Fridays from 2 p.m. until close. The two-buck pricetag is a nod to the fact that Jefferson’s face is on the $2 bill, and who doesn’t love cheap bar grub in a swanky locale?

Sadly, I was served oversalted and overfried slices of potato with barely-worth-mentioning red pepper aioli. I had to order the ravioli du jour to make up for it—and, oh man, it did.

The ravioli on this particular day were stuffed with squash and goat cheese, served on butter-soaked spinach with pine nuts and a hint of truffle. Goodbye, unfortunate memories of uninspiring fries: The firm pocket of pasta with a soft warm filled center held itself together perfectly when I cut into it. After the first one, I went all in and ate them whole.

Of course, it’s not a quite the same bargain: The appetizer portion, containing four ravioli, is $12 and the entree option is $23. If the piano player doesn’t give away that you are in a hotel bar, the prices on the rest of the menu surely do.

Quill is what you expect from a grandiose hotel, but with a modern touch. The walls are adorned with historical maps of the city, and and the contoured glass bar is dimly lit with an orange hue, making it feel less like your typical stuffy upper-crust bar. Bonus points: Pianist Peter Roberts performs Tuesdays through Saturdays starting at 9 p.m.

Perhaps the high-brow dish is better suited for the high-brow surroundings than fries are, anyway.

The Quill at The Jefferson Hotel, 1200 16th St. NW; (202) 448-2300; jeffersondc.com/dining-lounge/quill

Photo by Russell Warnick