Thirty of DC’s best restaurants banded together in a night of revelry and charity to benefit World Central Kitchen, the feed-the-world nonprofit founded by Chef José Andrés, with bottomless food and drink on Wednesday for what must ever be the best time in DC.
Our Dine-N-Dash journey began on 14th Street NW, where we checked in at El Centro DF (1819 14th St. NW, DC) and began the evening with their always excellent margaritas and discovered their sublime shrimp ceviche. (We’ll remember to look for that on their next terrific half-price margarita happy hour.)
The ever-effervescent Barcelona (1622 14th St. NW, DC) was a surefire showstopper, one of those places where you could have spent the entire evening and felt your Dine-N-Dash purchase was indeed well-spent.
The Spanish-themed wine bar simply smelled amazing as you walked into the air of Barcelona “Salvaje” Paella cooking on its patio. This outstanding dish, which usually requires a wait and a party of more than one, was sitting open for all to sample to their delight, providing an irresistible temptation to simply remain there and consume it all with a wash of red or white sangria.
Few places highlight the value of the night out on Dine-N-Dash like Barcelona, surely, which also served mini-spiced empanadas with red pepper sauce, jamon and manchego croquettes with garlic aioli, gazpacho shooters, grilled hanger steak pintxos with salsa verde, and mini-churros with chocolate sauce.
Nearby Estadio (1520 14th St. NW, DC) also proved to be an entertaining stop with a fabulous spread of tapas. Estadio put its best drinks forward as well in the form of beers (Mahou de Madrid and Clara con Limon), wine (Macabeo Blend, Borsao Campo de Borja, 2016; Monastrell, Castano, Yecla, 2017; Garnacha, Vina Borgia, Campo de Borja, 2016); and of course sangria (white wine, tequila, lemon, apple; red wine, cachaça, mint).
Stately Bresca (1906 14th St. NW, DC), the newcomer opened by Chef Ryan Ratino, stole the prize with its bar selection, however – tasty 1904 Old Fashioned, smoky Stan the Fish, refreshing Bresca French 75, and a fine rose wine.
Throughout the evening, sangria flowed and gypsy jazzed played on, all of which comes to a head at majestic Zaytinya, the Mediterranean mezze restaurant that put Chef José on the fine dining map.
So, yes, we made our way across town to close at Zaytinya, but mark my words: Dine-N-Dash is best enjoyed in a measured fashion. Generally, my advice would be if you start on 14th Street NW, stay on 14th Street NW. If you start in Penn Quarter (largely 7th-8th Streets bounding G-E Sts. NW), stay in Penn Quarter. You’ll get more out of your experience lingering for a few extra minutes at each of the establishments in your designated starting block, and you’ll likely pick up new favorites, even if you’ve been to those places previously. That’s indicative of the level of care that the participating restaurants put into this effort — it is must assuredly not half-hearted.
Once again this year at Zaytinya, the charismatic Kamel Zennia held court as handsome people danced until the very last minute, and then stole more minutes to dance their cares away under the moonlight of a wonderful night in the city of Washington.
Again, all proceeds from Dine-N-Dash went to benefit World Central Kitchen. José Andrés founded World Central Kitchen after the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti. We’ve seen them in action recently in Puerto Rico, Hawaii, and Venezuela. Learn more and support a good cause at https://www.worldcentralkitchen.org.
Don’t miss out on Dine-N-Dash 2019, folks. It’s truly the best $150 you can spend on a night out at DC restaurants. Keep your eyes, and your tummy, open for news at https://dinendash.info.