Where the Obamas Should Celebrate Their Anniversary: 6 First Couple-Worthy DC Restaurants #datenight

Since moving into the White House, the Obamas have done an impressive job of dining out at some of the finest restaurants in Washington, D.C. Almost every month, POTUS and FLOTUS are spotted supping somewhere, doing their part to boost the capitol’s booming dining scene. From Bourbon Steak and Oyamel to Blue Duck Tavern and BLT Steak, they’ve eaten everywhere. Well, almost everywhere. With their 23rd wedding anniversary coming up on Saturday, October 3, we thought we would suggest six First Couple-worthy D.C. restaurants where the Obamas should celebrate their anniversary.

The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm, Lovettsville, Virginia
Nestled in the verdant hills overlooking the sinuous Potomac River, this backcountry gem is worth the hour-long drive from D.C. The RAMMY Award-winning restaurant is inside a restyled greenhouse at the heart of a 40-acre property featuring a working farm and plenty of woodlands. Chef Tarver King roams the region foraging exotic elements, such as wild mushrooms, pawpaw fruit, and dandelion greens, which are all incorporated into his forward-thinking New American cuisine. Diners choose from one of three tasting menus – Raised, Grown, and Found – each of which is guaranteed to delight and amaze with its unexpected flavors and Instagram-worthy presentations. Given the Obamas’ well-documented love of steak, we suggest they opt for the Raised option, which often features locally sourced beef.

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The Riggsby, Washington, D.C.
Chef Michael Schlow has already wowed D.C. diners with the Latin-loving Tico on 14th Street. Now he’s doing it again at this charming throwback located inside the Carlyle Hotel in Dupont Circle. The menu focuses on continental classics with chef-y accents. We recommend the First Couple start off with jalapeno-boosted tater tots and housemade potato chips with cut-above green onion dip. For a main, the Obamas may want to keep it simple and order the roasted chicken with broccoli rabe, roasted potatoes, and mustard (pictured). Or they can step it up on a notch with the béarnaise-shrouded, barrel-cut NY strip filet accompanied by a passel of fries. For a lighter option, the striped bass on a bed of corn, bacon, and pickled onions is the way to go. No matter what, they should definitely save room for a giant wedge of chocolate cake.


The Partisan, Washington, D.C.
If POTUS and FLOTUS are in the mood for meat – and don’t mind the inevitable jokes the press will make if they eat at a restaurant called the Partisan – this Penn Quarter standout is where they should go. Co-chefs Ed Witt and Nate Anda oversee a masterfully inventive menu that takes a tip-to-tail approach and leaves no cut untouched. The celebrating couple should begin with charcuterie, making sure not to miss the pickled half smoke, pastrami terrine, or curried pork pâté. The beef tartare with fried egg yolk, marrow crostini, and grated horseradish (pictured) also offers meaty satisfaction. The bo ssam-style slow-cooked pork shoulder would be an epic entrée. The pair would surely have leftovers to take home, but the tender roast would make a memorable sandwich the next day as a tasty reminder of their date night.

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Osteria Morini, Washington, D.C.
In our book, carb-loading is the perfect way to celebrate a lifelong commitment. Plus, it reminds us of that sweet spaghetti-slurping scene from Lady and the Tramp that makes us tear up every time we watch it. We know we’re saps, but we can’t help ourselves! Anyway, Barack and Michelle would undoubtedly enjoy digging into executive chef Matt Adler’s flawlessly executed pastas at this waterfront eatery in the Yards. Top of the list are the sunny ravioli pocketed with truffled ricotta glistening with brown butter sauce and pappardelle dressed up with lamb-neck sughetto. When agnolotti make an appearance (pictured), they, too, are not to be missed. Further carb-loading can be easily accomplished by sampling a sweet selection from executive pastry chef Alex Levin. Peanut butter and chocolate budino, riso (rice pudding) enlivened with vanilla bean and plums, and the Italian-inflected lemon meringue tart are all worthy closers.

Osreria Morini, Washington, DCContinue Reading

Tweet of the Week: A Special Request for a Special Second Anniversary Celebration

Diner Michael Pellet recently celebrated his second anniversary with his wife at Washington, D.C.’s 701 Restaurant. When booking through OpenTable, he indicated exactly that in the Special Request for the Maitre D. The wonderful hospitality pros at 701 took note and presented the couple with some Champagne. (Insert a collective “AWWW!” here.) Happy anniversary to the Pellets. And, kudos to the staff at 701 for making their celebration all the more special with this generous gesture.


Rave Review: Back to the Black Bass Hotel

There are thousands of reviews on OpenTable, but sometimes one really stands out — as is the case with this charming review. This diner visited the Black Bass Hotel in Lumberville, Pennsylvania, 50 years (!) after his very first visit, during which he proposed to his companion. A half a century later, the pair are still going strong — as is the Black Bass Hotel. Congratulations to both on many years of excellence.


Cheers to 85 Years at The Russian Tea Room: Make Every Meal Extraordinary!

The Russian Tea Room’s main dining room looks like something out of a movie — and it is. Many movies, in fact.

The Russian Tea Room, one of New York City’s most storied restaurants, turned 85 this year. In a city that never sleeps and boasts an ever-changing landscape, this is no small feat, especially if you consider that during a brief period in the early 2000s, the restaurant was sold to the United States Golf Association (see Heck?, What the), destined to become a museum of sorts for the iron-swinging set. If you’ve ever been to the Russian Tea Room (and, really, if you have not, you must go. Now. That’s a direct order.), you can understand the monumental loss this would have been to foodies and vodka connoisseurs everywhere, not to mention the city itself.

I think we can all agree that Gossip Girl’s Blair Waldorf really looks like she needs one of the Russian Tea Room’s signature shots of chilled vodka from Igor.

A cultural and culinary salon for an array of artists since opening its doors in 1927, the Russian Tea Room, or RTR, is also a touchstone for New Yorkers and guests from around the globe alike. From its early heyday as a stomping ground for Russian ex-pats and the likes of George Balanchine and Ayn Rand to its place as a dining destination for high society and Hollywood royalty, it remains one of the most recognizable restaurants in the world. It’s been featured in films including ManhattanSweet Smell of Success, TootsieThe Turning PointBigSmurfs, and New York Stories, among others. It’s also influenced films: When Harry Met Sally was conceived at one of the restaurant’s posh booths. A favorite with television programs as well, you can see RTR’s signature dining room in episodes of Louie, Gossip Girl, Real Housewives of New York, and Real Housewives of New Jersey. The Russian Tea Room continues to attract celebrities and influencers, including Mariah Carey, Bill and Hilary Clinton, Anderson Cooper, Keira Knightly, Paul McCartney, Chris Noth, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Carlos Slim, to name a few. Some celebs got their start here; Madonna was a coat check girl just before she got her big break.

And yet, The Russian Tea Room isn’t resting on these lofty laurels. Beyond generously providing diners and tourists with a bottomless supply of the most coveted matchbooks in Manhattan, they offer a level of service and warmth that isn’t always typical of an establishment with such a notable reputation. Have you ever walked into a restaurant where it felt as though you were sort of inconveniencing the host with your mere presence? You can be certain you weren’t in the Russian Tea Room when that happened. The doting service provided at this fabled restaurant reminds you that the very best restaurants aren’t just about food — they’re about hospitality, too.

To wit, while hosting my in-laws for 11 (!) days, my nerves were wearing particularly thin after a long, cold day on the town. Fortunately, before they could fully fray, it was nearing cocktail hour — and we were nearing the Russian Tea Room. I dashed in a half a block ahead of my guests, flustered and breathing hard, hoping they could accommodate us, even though they were quite busy. “Of course!” I stood at the bar as the staff readied a grand table, catching my breath. Then, Igor the bartender asked me the most wonderful question: “Would you like a shot of vodka?” If I weren’t already married, I might have proposed to Igor then and there. Instead, I enthusiastically replied, “Yes, yes, I would!” One “Zа, Igor!” and a perfectly chilled shot of Jewel of Russia vodka laterI was, in the words of George Costanza, back, baby!

So, what’s new? A great deal, in fact. The Russian Tea Room revamps its menus seasonally. And, most recently, they have introduced several new services to delight diners of every age and appetite — at almost any time of day. Complete offerings include:

Breakfast: The new New York power breakfast is here! Served Monday-Friday, from 7AM to 10AM, breakfast at the Russian Tea Room has everything you need to start your business day, from the classic to the contemporary. And, if you’ve got a group of six or more, for just $20 per person, you can have your own breakfast buffet. Now, isn’t that much better than Breakfast at Tiffany’s?

Business Express Lunch: A favorite of midtown’s movers and shakers, the business express lunch is perfect for your next business lunch. Three courses for $40 include choices of RTR’s signature dishes as well as super-fresh salads.Continue Reading