Affordable Elegance: 1789

1226 36th St. N.W.
(at 36th and Prospect)
(202) 965-1789

A new semester has begun, and roommates, friends, boyfriends and girlfriends are finally reunited after a break for the holidays. Instead of the nights of talking online and on the phone or e-mailing, you can actually get together with the friends whom you have missed. Luckily for you, D.C.’s Restaurant Week starts Monday and lasts until Saturday. This citywide promotion lets you reunite with your friends at some of the city’s finest restaurants, where you can enjoy a three-course meal for only $30.04.

That’s right – only $30.04 for a great meal at more thanone D.C. locales, so make a reservation and get ready for fine dining. Which restaurant should you pick? The best, of course, and that is 1789.

Tucked away from the main strip of Georgetown, 1789 brings back the history its name promises. Originally a federal-style home dating back to the mid-1800s, the townhouse was completely renovated in the 1960s. In 1962 the restaurant was situated above the bar, the Tombs, but it is now a separate entity, one that has maintained the high-class decoration of earlier days.

By far the nicest of the restaurants now owned by the Clyde’s Restaurant Group, 1789 is still committed to keeping “Old Washington” alive. Like its many competitors, the quiet environment of 1789’s dining room surrounds diners with dim lights and dark wood. But this unique eatery is filled with antiques from different ages of American history, as well as custom-made chairs and prints decorating the main dining room, illustrating Old Washington.

1789 is devoted to bringing American history to its customers, an endeavor that begins with the building itself and is most evident in the decor. With the prints on the wall, antiques set around the dining rooms and pictures in the menu, history is everywhere. The restaurant’s name, 1789, commemorates the year the Constitution was adopted and our favorite president, George Washington, was inaugurated.

But while 1789 celebrates the past, its food is definitely that of the 21st century. Ris Lacoste, the award-winning executive chef, fuses the old and the new , as she serves her modern American cuisine on 1789’s antique china. And the plate is where 1789 really excels. Get ready to be delighted with your meal from start to finish.

During Restaurant Week, an appetizer, a main dish and a dessert collectively cost only $30.04, a great deal when that much food could easily cost $50 during the rest of the year. While many restaurants limit your choices, 1789 has no set menu for the promotion, allowing diners to choose any dishes they like – only the lamb requires a surcharge.

To start, the jumbo lump crab cake or the classic Caesar salad are both safe bets. But if you really want to take advantage of this deal, try the grilled quail finely tuned with wild rice and almonds. For a main course, the sky is the limit. The Muscovy duck, one of the finest breeds, is finished with a honey ginger glaze, with a hint of spice to contrast the tender meat. This entr?e is accompanied by potatoes, mushrooms and buttered pears, a delicious treat. Lacoste has a flare for acorn squash, which is offered as a side to the sea scallops and as the main dish in the vegetarian entr?e. If you don’t want to try anything too daring, the pan-roasted chicken and the grilled beef tenderloin are two choices guaranteed to please any picky pallet.

The dessert menu allows you to choose among the customary hot fudge sundae, ice cream and apple crisp, but don’t overlook the sweet culinary masterpieces it also offers. Among them is the honeyed pear and almond trifle, which takes two days to prepare. This combination of sweet cake, custard and cr?me with the light taste of the pear creates a perfect flavor combination. The cr?me brulee is also good but, surprisingly, it doesn’t have the twist to the normal recipe that you’d expect from Lacoste.

While Restaurant Week’s amazing deal does give you a gourmet three-course meal for 30 bucks, bear in mind that tax, tip and, most importantly, drinks are not included in that price. And drinking at 1789 can really add up on the bill because the restaurant has won many awards for its impressive wine list. But because the dinner is so cheap (compared to the much higher prices normally), the bill still won’t be too large.

With Restaurant Week starting on Monday, reservations at 1789 will undoubtedly go fast. Reservations for a group will be tough to get, so the earlier you call, the better. Keep in mind, though, that this is a place to quietly reunite with friends, not to bring a crowd for a rowdy dinner. So pick up your special someone or someones and take a trip to Old Washington.

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