Young and Hungry

The City Paper Poll: The $25 Dining Question

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Y&H is not a political animal. I don't hang on every breath coming from a politician's mouth to understand how one new word may indicate a change in policy. It's the truth, and perhaps I should be embarrassed by this fact. I know what you're thinking: I live in the wrong town.

I'll table that discussion like a chickenshit politician and get to the point here: Washington City Paper, as a whole, cares a lot about local politics, its food writer notwithstanding. CP and the Kojo Nnamdi Show have just commissioned a cool new poll in which we've asked 802 registered Democrats a number of traditional and non-traditional questions about the upcoming mayoral election and other matters. One has to do with food:

In the past month, have you eaten at a restaurant where your bill came to at least $25?

I'm not sure exactly what relevant information we were trying to unearth with the question, but I suspect it has to do with class divides and whether, in this economy, we still indulge in pricey meals. I just have one issue with the question: its vague wording.

The "bill" in question could be for one person, two people, or a whole table. If there's more than one person involved in the meal, $25 is chicken feed these days. Two people can't walk out of one of the area's new pizzerias without spending $25, unless they split a single pizza or something.

Y&H has already waded briefly, and superficially, into these waters with this year's Dining Guide. High-end dining is hanging on in this town, but its share of the market has shrunk. More casual, neighborhood places are the trend, but even here, you can drop some serious cash before the evening is out.

So here's the poll question that Y&H would like to offer: In the past month, have you and another (spouse, friend, family member) spend $100 on a meal? Bonus points for telling me where it was.

I have a feeling that many of these meals were spent in casual, neighborhood restaurants.

  • Gimmepork

    Yes, at Cashion's in Adams Morgan.

  • Sean

    Yep -- last night at Central. It was well worth it.

  • needle

    Do you mean with or without drinks?
    Let's see, without wine, my husband & I have in the past month spent over $100 at Kushi & Adour.

  • needle

    Sean - $100 at Central on food alone??

  • Tim Carman

    Drinks are part of the cost of dining out. I don't believe you should exclude them. It all comes out of the same bank account. Besides, the question is less about the cost of food at restaurants than the overall pricetag of dining out.


  • Ari

    Volt, but it was worth it.

  • S.B.

    At Oyamel

  • Sean

    @needle - Even without the drinks, we were just over the $100 mark.

  • needle

    @Sean, that's a lot of Gougeres! (Yum!)

    Tim, if drinks are included then within the last month our tab for 2 people came to over $100 at:
    Grillfish, Kushi, Kushi (love that place), Brasserie Beck, 3Bar & Grill, Againn, Adour, Ping Pong dim sum, J&G Steakhouse -- even during restaurant week. The only place we went recently for under $100 was Bar Louie - and frankly, the food there isn't worth the savings.

  • yup yup

    For 2 people? My SO and I haven't spent more than $100 since 2008 (minibar - now THAT was worth it).

  • tuabaxl

    Oyamel. Saved $$ eating the Restaurant Week menu but spent it on drinks. Sea salt foam margaritas. I couldn't resist.

  • Keith B

    Not in a while, but prob. because I rarely get drinks with the meal. Maybe a a glass or two of a nice draft, but that goes nowhere near where wine prices can take you.

  • Dan G

    Yep, at Montmarte in Eastern Market. For an anniversary dinner though--and well worth it. Lovely country pate.

    My girlfriend and I ain't throwing our money around--I just left a job as a social worker for a full time PhD-student-and-research gig, she's a fundraiser for a mental health nonprofit--but a great meal is always the one extravagance we can agree on. Food has always been a celebration, a mini-vacation. I think the $100/2 people mark is when you start expecting a solid all-round experience: great food and drinks, ambiance, setting, the whole deal. I can spend $5 at the pupuseria down the street and have a good night, but it's not an 'experience'.

  • Capital Spice

    We just got back from a trip to Berkeley Springs, WV. While there we ate at Panorama at the Peak. Bill came to just over $100 once you add in tip. They're big proponents of fresh, local and seasonal and the flavors made the food (and drinks) well worth the cost.

  • Gastronaut

    Yup. Most recently at Eola. Well worth it for the excellent, imaginative cooking. (And some very well-priced wines.)