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Kids’ Restaurant Week starts Saturday in D.C. For some, this will be a cue to avoid restaurants altogether (relax; the prix fixe menus are available only between 5 and 7 p.m.). For those of us with children, it’s an opportunity to see them not eat in new and varied settings. At least that’s what I expect will happen at restaurants like Dino, which proudly says in an e-mail that “Of course, the food won’t be a typical Kids’ Menu of fried chicken strips.”
Which to me suggests Dino has prepared a menu that will instantly repel young children. But I couldn’t be sure, so I called my 4-year-old son, Cameron, to ask him about sample Kids’ Restaurant Week menus from Dino, Firefly, Juniper (view menu), Taberna del Alabardero (view menu), Mie N Yu (view menu), and Zola (view menu). Belga Café is offering chicken and fries, so no need to check that.
Me: Would you eat pasta with wild-boar sauce?
Cameron: I don’t know what boar sauce is.
It’s like a pig.
No, I don’t like pig.
How about pasta with butter, tomato sauce, grated cheese or fonduta?
I don’t know about that. Listen, Dad, I’m getting kind of hungry.
Is this making you hungry?
No, I just want a snack.
OK, how about lamb meatball sliders?
I don’t know what lamb is.
A baby sheep.
Yeah, I like that. [Ed. note: No way in hell will he eat this.]
How about a house salad?
How about beef with cheesy potato tots, brussels sprout leaves, tomatoes, and roast garlic?
Yum. I love that.
A “cheeseburger bigger than your head”?
Would you eat the lettuce and tomato?
You can get those with veggie sticks.
Would you rather have french fries?
Is this making you hungry?
How about mac ‘n’ cheese with peas?
I don’t want that.
Because of the peas?
At this point his mother intervenes, reminding him that he sometimes eats this very dish at home.
No, I just don’t want it.
Mie N Yu
How about a lacquered duck “taco”?
I don’t know what that is.
A taco made with duck.
Yum! A shotten duck! A duck that got shot!
Shrimp and mushroom fried rice?
That’s even more good. I love shrimp.
Pork chop with plum sauce?
I don’t even know what that is. No.
A “Pop Tart” with Pennsylvania mushrooms, brie, and seasonal asparagus in a light pastry case.
Can we go to Taco Bell?
Taberna del Alabardero
Oh, I hope this is not from Spain. [Note: We went to Spain last month, and Cameron was appalled by how few menus offered chicken and fries]
Grilled chicken with mashed potatoes.
Bolonaise! Bolonaise! Ha ha. OK, I’ll have it.
El Helado Payaso, “The Clown Ice-Cream”
Yum. And I wish a clown would pop out of it. Yeah! I wanna have that for dinner! I’m gonna eat all around. And then it will pop out of it! Pop! Pop! Pop! [laser-gun noises]
Photo of the chicken and fries at FastGood, Ferran Adria‘s fast-food restaurant in Madrid