City Paper is not for tourists
This week’s question comes from Meredith Wade of Alexandria, who wants to know:
“So where can folks with hip sensibilities, but of a certain age, find a ‘nice’ stylish dinner and not have to yell at the person across the table? We have discovered that it helps a lot if we eat at 6 or 6:30, but we’d rather that not be the norm. Any place in Alexandria, Arlington, or the VA side of DC would suit us.”
You know, I think diners of every age find restaurants too noisy these days. My wife, Carrie, and I were in Oyamel recently, sitting at a tiny two-top near the entrance, and I watched stupidly as my spouse’s lips moved but nothing penetrated my eardrums. I was not having some male moment, either, okay. I love Carrie’s voice. It was just too damn loud in Oyamel.
The problem, I find, with recommending restaurants based on their noise level is that everyone has a different tolerance for racket. I mention this because, Meredith, in a separate e-mail to me, mentioned that she found the Majestic in Old Town too noisy for her tastes. Which pretty much ruined my first recommendation. It also told me that Meredith wants a place far quieter than what I’d consider acceptable.
With that in mind, my first suggestion is Indigo Landing on Daingerfield Island. It’s a cool place, designed to look sort of like Martha Stewart’s boat house, and it turns out good, often terrific, modern Low Country cuisine. Even better, as the weather turns cooler, you can sit on the patio at Indigo and enjoy the view of the monuments in the distance. It’s quiet there—-well, except for the occasional plane taking off and landing at Reagan, but really, you don’t notice it much. Or maybe I don’t notice it much.
From there, some other affordable (meaning you don’t need to open a payday loan shop to go there) options include the underappreciated Tandoori Nights in Clarendon (with its wide berth between tables), Daniel O’Connell’s in Old Town (with its upper-level tables, far away from the maddening crowd), Monroe’s in Del Ray (if present, kids may cause an issue at this American trattoria), and Del Merei Grille (though you have to act as your own chef here).
If you feel like breaking the bank—-or splurging, never a bad idea—-you can always duck into the pillow soft environs of Restaurant Eve in Old Town, 2941 in Falls Church (with its own wooded, watery oasis right out the windows), and Willow in Arlington. On the D.C. side of the Potomac, I’d recommend either Kaz Sushi Bistro on I Street NW, if you’re into some good sushi, or Restaurant Nora, if you’re into healthy, organic foods that don’t clog your arteries or your ears.
You’ll have to give me an earful, Meredith, if you find any of these restaurants too loud. I may need to re-calibrate my own noise-meter. Got an itch only a food critic can scratch? Describe it in detail to firstname.lastname@example.org.