Love it or hate it, Metropolitan Washington Restaurant Week makes its first appearance of 2017 beginning next week. The promotion sponsored by the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington runs Jan. 30 through Feb. 5, and features three-course lunches and brunches for $22 and dinners for $35. Around 250 restaurants are participating.
What makes an appealing Restaurant Week menu? Value, for one — getting extra courses is always an attractive option. It's also nice when you can enjoy a three-course meal for the same, or not much more, than one course the rest of the time. Having plenty of options to choose from is key, too. With those things in mind, here are some of the best-looking menus for the week.
Michel Richard's fried chicken was one of the late chef's signature dishes, and it's still on the menu at the restaurant that bears his name. It's normally $24.50-$25 on its own, so if you order the crunchy bird as part of the Restaurant Week lunch special (also available at dinner), you're really getting a steal with two more courses thrown in. 1001 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. 202-626-0015.
The least expensive menu at Michael Schlow's gemlike seafood-centered restaurant is typically $45. So, with Restaurant Week, you're getting a $10 break at dinner. The menu features four savory dishes — arctic char sashimi, American red snapper ceviche, wild mushrooms and crab risotto — and a dark chocolate budino for dessert. 465 K St. NW. 202-629-4662.
This Shaw restaurant continues to offer one of the most appealing Restaurant Week menus, because it's virtually identical to its regular dinner menu. And there's plenty of flexibility, too, because you can choose one dish from three of five different categories (nibbles, hot, cold, cheese and dessert). Highlights include a zucchini roulade wrapped around goat cheese, fried chicken coq au vin and the s'mores dessert. 801 O St. NW. 202-525-2870.
If you like variety, this is the menu for you. The Restaurant Week menu at the upstairs izakaya (not the ramen bar) offers customers a dinner menu spread over six courses: little bites, "green things," skewers, fish/meat, "rice things" and dessert. (Note: Only the Restaurant Week menu will be available at the izakaya next week.) 705 Sixth St. NW. 202-589-1600.
This family improves on the standard Restaurant Week deal — twice. First, the dinner menu is four courses, instead of three. (For $55, you can have five courses.) Additionally, the restaurants have extended the deal by a couple of days, to Feb. 8. Offerings differ slightly among the siblings, but expect addictive spreads with flatbreads, roasted meats and baklava. Kapnos, 2201 14th St. NW, 202-234-5000. Kapnos Taverna, 4000 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, 703-243-4400. Kapnos Kouzina, 4900 Hampden Lane, Bethesda, 301-986-8500.
Erik Bruner-Yang's ode to Cambodian and Taiwanese fare participates in Restaurant Week for the first time. And it's upping the ante with four courses at dinner (including dessert), instead of the usual three. Dishes include bao (pork or leek-and-mushroom), winter roots salad, and wok-fried rice noodles, followed by egg custard tart. 1351 H St. NE. 202-838-9972.
Really, do you need an excuse to eat some of the best Indian food in Washington, and possibly the country? No, but it's hard to pass up a three-course lunch (neither location is doing Restaurant Week dinner) for the price of what just one or two courses would be at any other time. The menus are pretty similar at the Penn Quarter and West End outposts, with a few variations. Both, however, include the famous fried spinach palak chaat, in addition to tandoori salmon, a vegetable thali and gulab jamun. Rasika, 633 D St. NW, 202-637-1222. Rasika West End, 1190 New Hampshire Ave. NW, 202-466-2500.
A four-course tasting menu for dinner normally runs $65. For $35 during Restaurant Week, you still get four courses, though it's one dish per course instead of two. Still, it's a great way to sample what this Japanese spot has to offer without as big a financial, or caloric, commitment. 5455 Wisconsin Ave., Chevy Chase. 301-961-1644.