Restaurant week is one of our favorite times of the year in D.C. Luckily, it occurs twice a year – once in the summer, and again during January. For our first experience, we decided to try Pinea at the W Hotel.
Because we are lucky enough to get off work at a reasonable time, we decided to enjoy an early dinner at 5:30. Funny enough, this also meant we were the only ones at the restaurant until about 6:30. When you walk in the W hotel it is clear they are trying to mix the classic architecture with a cool, new vibe.
The main dining room has about 30 tables of varying sizes, shapes, and seats. I really loved this because it seemed like it would be just as easy to make a reservation for 6 as it would be to make a reservation for 2. The seats we chose was a small two top with large, cushiony armchairs. I’m not sure about you, but we love to be comfortable when we eat (seriously who wants to sit on benches or backless chairs?).
Our waitress came over and she was nice and cheery and immediately handed us the restaurant week menus. As is typical for restaurant week ordering, we ordered all three courses (and treated ourselves to some wine) right up front. I quite like this style of ordering because it means you don’t have to be ready or “thinking” about food in-between courses and it all just magically arrives at your table as you move through the meal.
We began with bread, which was clearly fresh out of the oven (no surprise as, like we said, we were the first to arrive).
For the first course we ordered a caesar salad and the bruschetta. The caesar salad was crunchy and flavorful, and came with two thinly sliced anchovies on top. It was very large for an appetizer, but in a good way (of course).
E got bruschetta and thought it was pretty lovely. The portion size for an appetizer was also pretty fair.
After our first course was finished, we had some time to chat, digest, drink our wine, and have a 2nd bread-basket. Seriously, who can say no to another bread basket? I really liked that our waitress let us set the pace we’d like to eat at. One of our biggest pet peeves is when restaurants rush you through courses or constantly check-in and see if you’re ready for the next course, especially when a restaurant isn’t busy.
Four our mains, we both got the filet mignon. The filet was several large, hefty medallions laid over a bed of creamy mashed potatoes with a side of green beans and onions. We both thought it was a very nice portion of filet, especially for restaurant week and was incredibly filling.
One other thing about restaurant week to look out for? desserts. It’s usually the third and final course, but this is where a lot of restaurants drop the ball. Pinea didn’t do a bad job, but they didn’t knock it out of the park. We got the ricotta poundcake and caramelized pineapple. The ricotta poundcake was definitely dense and yummy, but it could have been a tad bit more moist. However, this was helped by the citrus sauce added to the plate, as well as the delicious blueberry icecream. E’s dessert was also fairly good – she got grilled pineapple sandwhiched in-between madelines with a scoop of coconut icecream.
Overall, we really liked the vibe of Pinea – it was fun without being pretentious and although the food was a bit standard, it was all very enjoyable. Our waitress also didn’t rush us through our courses – which is always a plus. As an aside, Pinea seems pretty empty until about 6:45/7pm. E and I pulled an old lady card and made our reservations for 5:30 and we pretty much had the place to ourselves, which was a lot of fun.