February 8th, 2002


Best of DC

There’s a stupid Entemann’s commercial in which Whoopi Goldberg refuses to reveal her favorite Entemann’s treat for fear of everyone eating them. With this perspective in mind, I sometimes wonder if I would be capable of writing a “Best of” list for the DC area, as I would not want my treasures revealed to the public. Nevertheless, after a fantastic evening last night, I feel like I am cheating the world if I do not share this.

Best Nine-Dollar Drunk in DC

Chinatown Garden restaurant, Chinatown. 7th and H Streets, NW.

For at least five years, the “Weekly Special” at the Chinatown Garden has been a $2.95 Mai Tai. I have alluded to these before, but never fully explained the alcoholic joy they bring. This drink is Mai Tai in name only, as it is basically a red-etched glass full of rum with a shake of sour mix, a sword loaded with garnish, and a festive straw. Have three and you’re good to go. The bartender has been seen turning his head and barking orders to the bussing staff while pouring the rum. There is no better drink in the entire city.

The catch of it is, this is a restaurant and not a bar. Your presence will not be appreciated unless at least 60-70% of your party orders food. This, however, is no drawback. Their food is, as one critic has said, “freaking delicious”. Northerners, fear not; Southerners, this is what Chinese is supposed to taste like. I did not think Chinese food like this existed south of the Mason-Dixon. It’s that good. And, for you purists, at least half of their menu consists of non-Americanized authentic Chinese food. There’s even a photo in the menu of a dish that features a fish complete with head and tail.

It’s mere blocks from the MCI center: a perfect pre-game dinner and great place to strap on a buzz before a Caps game. They even have a hand-lettered sign out front on game nights that says “Welcome Caps Fans”. It’s at the top of the Chinatown exit at the Gallery Place/Chinatown Metro stop. There is no reason NOT to go there.

Consider yourself in the know.
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