JULIA ANASTOS/THE HOYA The Metropolitan Washington Restaurant Week has returned for the 2017 winter season, offering set meals for less than $40 at some of the District’s most high-end restaurants, including the neighborhood favorite 1789 Restaurant.
The Metropolitan Washington Restaurant Week has returned for the 2017 winter season, offering set meals for less than $40 at some of the District’s most high-end restaurants, including the neighborhood favorite 1789 Restaurant.

It is that dull, bitter time at the end of January when most people have already given up on unattainable New Year’s resolutions to eat more healthily or save money. The home line at O’Donovan Hall has already started repeats, and not even the promise of “Taco Tuesday” or “Chicken Finger Thursday” can get students out of the dumps.

The glimmer of hope for all broke and hungry college students across Washington, D.C., is finally arriving: the Winter Metropolitan Washington Restaurant Week. The Winter Restaurant Week is hosted by the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington. From Jan. 30th to Feb. 5th, patrons can indulge in a three-course prix-fixe meal at over 100 of D.C.’s most prestigious restaurants. Brunch and lunch are set at $22 and dinner at $35 per person. There is little excuse for anyone not to take advantage of this opportunity, given the incredibly low prices, the quality and volume of food and the wide range of participating restaurants.

The list of restaurants participating in this winter’s Restaurant Week is overwhelming, so here are a few highlights and unique restaurants to check out.

Jaleo, owned by D.C.’s renowned chef and restaurant titan José Andrés, is a must-try stop during this Restaurant Week. The original restaurant, located in Penn Quarter, now has four franchise locations across North America. Jaleo prides itself on a diverse assortment of tapas, which are traditional Spanish small plates. The restaurant also offers a range of savory paellas, trendy desserts and fresh sangrias. For $35, restaurant-goers can choose one plate from each of the four sections that make up the menu. Traditional tapas classics, such as patatas bravas  —  fried potatoes with spicy tomato sauce and aioli — make an appearance. The dessert “Flan al estilo tradicional de mamá Marisa con espuma de crema catalana,” a Spanish custard with cream and oranges, also figures on the menu. The restaurant’s modern and festive decor creates a casual and lively atmosphere. José Andrés’ distinct flavors will give diners the taste of Spain without having to splurge on the typically expensive dishes.

Rasika, D.C.’s most popular Indian restaurant, is also getting in on the Restaurant Week action. For lunch only, the always swarming and always flavorful restaurant opens its doors to hungry Indian food fanatics. All a foodie needs is $22 to order one of each of Rasika’s most popular appetizers, entrees and desserts. Crowd favorites like the palak chaat, a surprisingly delicious crispy spinach with cool yogurt sauce, feature on the diverse menu. Rasika also offers its take on an Indian classic: chicken tikka masala. Both Rasika locations, in Penn Quarter and West End, are featured in this Restaurant Week. Typically, one entree at Rasika hovers around $22, so make your reservations soon to take advantage of this affordable opportunity. Tables at Rasika are coveted, and you will not want to miss the chance to finally try this D.C. classic.

The Equinox
This mid-Atlantic-inspired, locally sourced restaurant should be at the top of any Restaurant Week dining list. The “elegant and sophisticated, yet comfortable and unpretentious” restaurant is the perfect location for college students looking for a more upscale dining experience. Executive Chef Todd Gray is a frontrunner of the sustainable and seasonal food movement, which ensures that each dish is crafted with the freshest possible ingredients. Typically, The Equinox offers three courses for $60, five courses for $75 and seven courses for $85, but the RAMW Winter Restaurant Week guarantees three courses for $35. The Restaurant Week menu offers something for every customer. The six-hour braised beef short rib with fontina cheese grits will definitely please meat lovers, while the plant-based cauliflower tempura with fresh pomegranate vinaigrette or the homemade buccatini with truffled white bean bolognese seem like perfect selections for a vegetarian crowd. To end the meal, The Equinox offers four sweet course options including a pineapple upside-down cake and a novel PB&J cake. The unique and fresh options available at The Equinox should send Georgetown students running for its doors as Restaurant Week approaches.

1789 Restaurant
The final mandatory stop for this year’s Restaurant Week is the 1789 Restaurant in Georgetown. While the restaurant is a mere two blocks from Georgetown University’s main gates, few students can claim to have eaten at the fancy establishment. The typical prix-fixe dinner is $85 for four courses, $97 for five courses, and $109 for six courses: jaw-dropping prices typically reserved for special outings with parents. But for $35, a humble Georgetown student can finally afford the luxury of the restaurant that borders our grounds. The Restaurant Week menu includes three courses, with many of the restaurant’s signature dishes available. To begin the meal, 1789 offers a truffle celeriac soup, beet salad and a small pasta dish, garnished with pancetta and tomatoes. Patrons have the choice of short ribs, pork tenderloin or salmon for a second course. To end the extravagant feast, diners can choose between a spiced buttermilk panna cotta or a flourless chocolate tarte.

A full list of restaurants participating in the Winter Metropolitan Washington Restaurant Week can be found on its website.

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