My friend Suzi and I have headed out for Restaurant Week in our neighboring Washington, D.C. the past two Augusts. In case you haven’t heard of Restaurant Week, it’s a weeklong event in which the priciest restaurants offer a special menu for just 40 bucks. This year, I chose Cafe Promenade in the historic Renaissance Mayflower Hotel on Connecticut Avenue.
I was excited to see the inside of the hotel, as it’s been around for over 80 years and looks decidely noble and beautiful on the outside. The inside is no different. Everything is decorated in mirrors, golden facades, red carpets, or gleaming crystal chandeliers. This includes the cafe, whose silverware appeared to be real silver and whose atmosphere was decidely comfortable and relaxing.
From the Restaurant Week special menu, I made the difficult selection of the roasted beets with goat cheese and watercress as an appetizer. It was difficult because pan-seared crab cakes were also present on the menu, and crabcake is my absolute favorite food. This decision was made easier when Suzi ordered the crab cakes and agreed that I could have a bite.
Our waiter was attentive and kind, and the appetizers did not take long to come out. My beets just tasted like regular old beets out of a can with crumbles of feta cheese on top, but it was a tasty and (for me) unusual combination. Suzi’s crab cakes were small, which seemed appropriate for an appetizer. (She still let me have a bite, and I thought they were yummy, although she noted that they weren’t the best she had ever tasted and I must agree.)
Our entrees took a while to appear. I ordered the Atlantic cod with chile and mango sauce and herb risotto. It was tasty, but did not quite have as much flavor as I was expecting. Suzi ordered a chicken entree with summer squash slices underneath and found it bland. I ate a big bite of her squash and thought that, at least, was tasty.
Lastly, we had our desserts. I had the fruit tart which was delicious and had a lemon filling. It seemed like something I could easily make at home, however. Suzi’s peach cobbler seemed odd to me, as it was not a typical peach cobbler but similar to a big square of bread pudding.
Our check took a very long time to arrive; in fact, we didn’t receive it until we placed our credit cards directly on the table in a none-too-subtle gesture.
All in all, I found the atmosphere very enjoyable and the food less so. It was very good, but I didn’t think it was all that special and definitely not worth the prices we would have typically paid. I would return if staying at the Mayflower or visiting a guest there, but would not go out of my way.