City Paper is not for tourists
Restaurant Week always sounds like a magical opportunity. Twice a year, many of the city’s best restaurants open their doors to the plebeians who can’t normally afford their financially-destabilizing fare. For $20, you get a three-course lunch. For $30, you get a three-course dinner. That’s three to four star dining on a half star budget. Unfortunately, the experience doesn’t always live up to the hype. Servers and hostesses can be downright disrespectful to the invading middle class masses. Some eateries only offer a few entree choices on their “special” menus and keep their best dishes at full price. You don’t need to be a professional eater to know that you’ve been gypped. This week, we’re breaking down our RW experiences for you.
Hook 3241 M Street NW (202) 625-4488
The usual menu: This sleek Georgetown seafood eatery thrives on its mantra of using “responsibly sourced seafood and local products.” The lunch menu posted online includes four appetizer salads, and a variety of crudo, including yellow-fin tuna and salmon tartar. There are eight lunch entrees, including a hamburger and two sandwiches. A dinner entree and a drink will cost you between $31 to $50, according to Opentable.com.
The RW menu: Eight appetizers, including a variety of seafood and salad options, and one soup—a “Roasted Sweet Potato and Pumpkin Soup.” Eight entrees, including bluefish, mahi-mahi, carbonara with crab, and a hamburger. Four desserts.
The sneaky little surcharges: none. Our bread basket was free. Every appetizer, entree, and dessert was part of the special RW three-course menu.
The total cost of the meal: $29.79 (including tax.) I ordered a glass of wine, which accounts for the extra nine dollars.
The condescension factor: none. One of my fellow diners had to be in and out of the restaurant within an hour. We alerted the staff about her schedule, and they were extremely attentive. Waiters swooped in to remove dishes and keep the courses coming at an expedited pace.
Would you go back? Tomorrow, if I could. I am rather disappointed to report that thus far I have nothing to complain about for this blog feature. To start, I ordered the yellow fin tuna, followed by the bluefish as my main course, and the vanilla pannacotta for dessert. All three dishes were delicious, as was everything I sampled from my dining mates’ plates.