Hunger! It must be satisfied. And occasionally, when we need food, we make a decision to spend a greater portion of our income than we normally might to get a meal. This is called “going out,” “eating out,” what have you. The expectation, for the most part, is that you, the diner, will be getting a better meal, a bigger meal, and a more filling meal.
Well, it may be time to curb our expectations. According to a recent article in the Washington Post, restaurants are “getting crafty” and looking for ways to manipulate recipes and use tricky plating techniques to cut costs. And damned if they didn’t get me twice recently, I believe. Saturday at brunch, at Domku in Petworth, the Nordic eggs benedict left me quite peckish (it was good, and would have been perfectly satisfying if I was ten). Other diners had similar complaints. And a recent salad at Cosi had about one emaciated buffalo wing’s worth of chicken in it. The entire salad, about 90 percent greens, didn’t even fill the bowl.
So, what am I getting at here? Why a brief roundup of decent, not terribly expensive buffets in the Washington D.C. area, of course. Suggestions come from Washington City Paper food critic Tim Carman and, you know, some friends that like to eat. The entire task of compiling these selections was easier said than done. Just check out this frustrated response to my buffet inquiry from City Paper food writing contributor Erin Zimmer: “Yeah, sometimes I wish I was in Vegas and could just cruise the cheap buffet scene. I used to hit up one on M Street at the late Mediterranean eatery, Little Cafe, where it was 9-bucks for Turkish pizzas, salads, some hot stuff, fruit. Decent, but gone, so that doesn’t help huh. Fogo de chao [is good] even though it’s a wallet-sucker.” Feel free to add suggestions in the comments section.
–Indique Heights, right by the Friendship Heights Metro stop, has a weekend buffet from noon to 3 pm on Saturdays and Sundays. The cost is $15 per person for adults and $9 per person for kids. Look for the mini dosa man, serving up made-to-order crepes with lentils and mildly spiced potatoes.
–Levi’s Port Cafe, near the Washington Navy Yard, has baked chicken, fried chicken, smothered pork chop, yams, potato salad, macaroni and cheese and cabbage, and none of the vegetables are cooked in meat, so there are vegetarian options. The price is $12.95.
–At Epicurean and Company, on Connecticut Ave just north of the Van Ness-UDC Metro stop, breakfast is $5.49 a pound, and lunch and dinner are $6.99 a pound. There’s a veggies and salad bar and continental cuisine: Chinese-American, European, sushi, deli section, plenty of variety. (This one might fall into the “cafeteria” category rather than the buffet class.)