93 Comment

  • Well now we know how what oversaturation looks like in Shaw.

    • I don’t know if it’s oversaturation in general, or just of a particular kind of place to eat. The neighborhood could really stand some more casual places where everything isn’t too precious, in my opinion. There’s too much disparity between Table / Dabney / Convivial and, like, Sbarro and Subway.

      • I agree, Shaw has likely reached the saturation point for the sort of restaurant you describe. The thing that all these places seem to have in common is that it looks like they’re all trying to be the best restaurant in the world at that particular price point, which almost never works out. Nobody ever accused DC of a lack of ambition; it’s the ability to execute that’s in short supply.

      • Agreed. The apparent success of SUNdeVICH and Smoked and Stacked proves there is demand here for better fast casual.

      • Ding ding ding. There’s WAY too many ‘specialty’ type of restaurants and not enough just normal places to go eat dinner. There’s actually hardly any.

        • Exactly. Plus, you’ve got longer-term places like Corduroy and Acadiana which likely have lower overhead since they moved in when the neighborhood was not nearly so trendy, and are thus less likely to be either the beneficiaries of or victims of the “restaurant of the moment” craze. Thally is a good example of the kind of place that can and should succeed in this area; we need more neighborhood stuff that isn’t just for a special night out, but also for a “hey, don’t feel like cooking, let’s go out” night out.

          • Seriously….name me one place to get a burger. The north part of Shaw isn’t bad with Shaw’s Tavern/Right Proper and then some take out places, but still not great. South of S? I couldn’t tell you a place I could get a burger and such other than Thally (which a relatively standard burger for $16 is a bit absurd…).

          • Isn’t Thally just as expensive as the rest of the spots in this hood that are closing? Or am I confusing with something else?

      • Agreed — I walk by more casual places like Ted’s or Matchbox, and they are always bustling. There’s definitely demand for the “in between” restaurants.

      • Most millennials seem pretty happy with cheap beer gardens & burgers. I assume that’s what will fill that spot.

      • My husband and I really like Thally. Not cheap, but not nearly as expensive as some of the new restaurants opening in that neighborhood. We’ve eaten there several times and have always enjoyed it.

  • And with it, we put to rest the pronunciation debate of “table” or “tablé.”

    • Not “tablé” — supposedly it was pronounced the French way. (Basically one syllable, rhymes with “mob.”)
      .
      They should’ve just used the English pronunciation of “table” and been done with it. Too much pretension.

      • justinbc

        Is that really how staff pronounced it? Jeez…

        • In French, It wouldn’t be one syllable, its pronounced tah-bluh, where the bluh is pronounced much faster. Tah-bluh vs tay-bull.

          • I thought about saying “one syllable with a hint of a second syllable”… but I think that for people who don’t speak French, “table” sounds more like one syllable than two.

          • Kind of like Tahb, while drawing out the “hb”

          • I worked there with the original (Belgium) owner/chef and that is what he called it.. we (workers) called it tay-bull…

      • I don’t totally get the hate on businesses with French names that prefer to use the correct French pronunciation, especially this one. Do you call Le Diplomate the diplomat, rhyming with laundromat?
        As a French restaurant with a French chef/owner, that would be how he and his staff would pronounce it correctly and it hardly seems pretentious for people to pronounce something themselves according to their native tongue. We don’t make the same complaints about Pho 14, Lupa Verde, El Rinconcito, etc etc.

          • I think pho is properly pronounced fuh. But I say foe because I don’t speak Vietnamese and I have no interest in pretending I do.
            And although I speak French with near-native fluency, I would also say tay-bull instead of tahbl when speaking English, just like I say Paris, not pair-ee.

          • Maybe not the clearest example. Meaning that my non-Vietnamese friends in DC eating Pho pronounce it Fuh as in “Fuh 14” rather than Pho (rhyming with Yo) 14 as one would in English. [Not a linguist, but a non-native French speaker working in Francophone world and just wondering why the French language seems to be linked with snobbery in people’s minds ]

          • Prince Of Petworth

            I hear ya – I’ve just never ever heard anyone call Pho 14 “Fuh 14”.

          • To user “oui?”: I am a non-native speaker of French too. I think the reason the name “Table” annoys me so much is that 1) it’s not an obviously “foreign” word, since it’s spelled the same in English and 2) the French pronunciation is not intuitive to people who don’t speak French.
            .
            And +1 to what wdc said.

          • I ordered the Pho Terrine at the Red Apron butcher counter a few years ago, asking for the “Foe Terrine” and the staff corrected my pronunciation. So one can’t win. I do refer to it as “fuh” (with my super-nasal mid-Atlantic accent).

          • Prince Of Petworth

            I call a Gyro a Gi-Ro not a Yee-ro but that’s just the way I was raised.

          • I’m confused, so are you saying people pronounce those names correctly or they don’t? And I for one always called if “Fuh” cuz people who knew more than I did told me that’s how it’s pronounced 🙂

          • I ordered a yee-ro and then a gee-ro from a food truck, and the guy had no idea what I was talking about. Then he said “Oh, a ji-ro?” I should have cancelled my order right there! 😉

          • @haileunlikely: you’ve never been there? BUT YOU MUST COMMENT. child

          • I’m surprised PoP, I hear many, many people call it “fuh 14,” “fuh viet,” etc. Might be a good Friday question of the day on a slow news day…

        • Do you call Le Diplomate the diplomat, rhyming with laundromat?
          .
          Yes. I don’t know how else to pronounce it.

        • I think it would be a different story if they called themselves “la table”, which begs for the French pronunciation. But simply calling it “table” doesn’t adequately pass across the French/Belgian pretensions for folks to assume it shouldn’t be pronounced in English.

          • HaileUnlikely

            Good point. I’ve never been there. I did not know its name was even intended to be French. If it was called “la Table,” somebody who speaks French would recognize that it was French, and somebody who doesn’t speak French would at least recognize that it’s not simply the English word.

          • +1 to that last sentence from the eminently sensible HaileUnlikely.

        • so @HaileUnlikely you’re a liar, yes? you removed your ‘comment’ or renamed your profile because you couldn’t support your statement. no worries, it was obvious from the start.

          • The real answer is – how can we be kind? If someone mis-pronounces something or makes any other faux pas – think first about how to smooth it over without embarrassment. A story, probably apocryphal, but still good, about some visiting dignitary at a British royal dinner drinking from the finger bowl. The Queen responded by drinking out of her own finger bowl so as to save him face. It is easy to be kind!

          • @victoria: yep, a liar is a liar is a liar. drink the tea, lick the finger. a liar is a liar.

          • @victoria: no poetic/real/or factual reply? obvious, yawn.

          • HaileUnlikely

            What? I have absolutely no idea what you are talking about.

        • So how do you say 14 in Vietnamese?

  • I assume the newer restaurants in the 1200 block are carrying the murder weapon?

  • You forgot Shaw Bijou.

    • Plus, the ethiopean place closed a couple weeks ago. Hard to tell what to make of this. Was there a bubble or is this just a slight setback and in 2 years Shaw will be stronger than ever.

      The big strike against Shaw is that it dosn’t really have the density/foot traffic that places like Logan and Columbia Heights have. Plus, we have so many other up and coming “destination” places that have business models built on attracting customers from across the city: City Center, Warf, H Street, Union Market, Navy Yard, NoMa. At the end of the day, for all the development hype, we are still basically a mid-sized city of row houses. More Boston than Brooklyn or Berlin.

      • Tsar of Truxton

        I think Shaw needs more nightlife to be honest. There are a lot of restaurants going in but not enough bars to draw crowds to the neighborhood. 14th/U corr. is a healthy mix of both, so people can grab dinner and then go out all night. Also, two of the four mentioned were expensive and didn’t seem to live up to the price (that could just be the market speaking).

        • Shaw is also not that densely populated. Of course it depends on what you consider the confines of Shaw (it’s a mashup of outskirts of U Street, Mt Vernon, Logan Circle, etc.). 14th Street is lined with condos/apartments now (in addition to 16th Street having several large buildings 2 blocks away). . And going further south – the convention center takes up several city blocks of no residential.

          • Tsar of Truxton

            I don’t dispute that there is more population density on 14th, but I don’t think that is the only issue. Many of those restaurants opened before the giant buildings went up. The Convention Center attracts hordes of people with per diems, i.e., exactly the people who will go out to restaurants, so that solves some of the density issue. There are plenty of places in Shaw that are packed to the gills, and I assure you it is not only Shaw residents who are there. People will travel if something is worth it or if it is convenient to other plans. Most of the places on 14th are like a half mile from the places on 9th, i.e., walkable or a ~$3 Uber away). There are also big residential buildings at O Street Market and around Shaw metro. The point is, if you live on 14th but are planning to meet friends at a bar in Shaw, you are more likely to consider eating in Shaw. Similarly, if you are just looking to eat before going out to some spot on 14th or U or going to a show at 9:30, you are more likely to just eat near those places. I live in Truxton, but I eat/go out on 14th probably as much as I do in Bloomingdale or Shaw, despite the latter two being closer/more convenient to me and most of my friends.

          • Yeah, I guess ultimately how many more 14th street “destination” type environments can DC support? At some point we will reach the saturation point, where neighborhoods will just be stealing business from other neighborhoods. We might not be there yet. But, the restaurant scene is growing far faster than the population forever.

          • It’s not just the question of density but also the makeup of said density. In Shaw there is still a pretty real divide between the larger residential buildings to the west of 9th Street, filled with people who CAN regularly afford dinner for two where a shared app, 2 drinks, 2 entrees and a shared dessert are north of a hundo, vs. the many apartments east of 9th street where that is less likely to be the case.

            You’ve got a lot of crapola places like Heritage @ Shaw, Foster House, 1330 7th Street, Washington Apts, Gibson Apts., McCullough Gardens, etc. on the eastern quadrant of Shaw. The completion of the O Street Market and the other buildings planned for buildup near O and N street will help soon enough but for now that onward march of gentrification hasn’t completely caught up with the number of new businesses.

            Once those buildings as well as places like 1011 on M and the two Marriotts to the south @ L and 9 get finished you’ll finally have the foot traffic to support all these places with just neighborhood patrons. We just need 2-3 years before that all is completed, and unfortunately Chao Ku, Piassa, Table and Bijou couldn’t last that long. Still there are plenty of new places; The Bird, PhoNation, Smoked and Stacked, 1230 9th Street, Union Grocery and Unconventional Diner to give a lot of options to the neighborhood.

      • Which Ethiopian place?

      • The proliferation of ridesharing services bringing traffic to a near standstill most of the time, combined with the uselessness of Metro at night or on the weekends, it’s become a huge pain in the ass just to get across town. I don’t know about everybody else, but that can be a deterrent to me.

  • Meh. Went to Table a couple of times and it was good, but the prices were just high enough and service just bad enough to keep us from going back. For the money I’d rather sit at the bar at Convivial.

  • Never went but everyone who went there that I know didn’t speak too highly of it. Basically the same response from every single person “Eh- it was alright. Probably won’t go back”. Curious if others had the same experience?

    • For me it was the price. Food was decent but very overpriced.

      • Got it. I heard that as well. Prices weren’t justified and the service overall just kinda… wasn’t great to put it mildly. I almost went once and then looked at the menu online and just wasn’t feelin it especially after seeing the pricetag.

      • Same for me. Food was good and simple but too simple it didnt justify the price. The meal plus ambience just didn’t feel extra enough/special to go back. I’m willing to throw down for a great dinner experience, but I left feeling I could’ve recreated the meal on my own (seared scallops and chilled corn soup).

      • This, in a nutshell, is the bulk of the DC dining scene. Trendy concept, mediocre food, bad service, premium prices.

    • The first time I went, which was sometime in 2010 I think, I left thinking it was fantastic and worth the price. The two times I went back, I thought, huh, that was not THAT great.

      • Same exact experience – and it corresponds to when the original chef left. He got greedy and tried to run two restaurants at once. Now he has zero.

      • You seem to describe my experience. I really liked it the first to times – the roof deck was delightful, the food was good, and it was nice to go to a place without many other restaurants (at the time). Then went for brunch one day, and without a doubt one of the worst servers I have had in DC. Restaurant owners: bad service will destroy your business. We never went back.

  • Dang, this place was always packed when I used to walk by and reservations were tough to come by I thought? Any idea what happened?

  • “Neighborhood crisis”? Really?

  • perhaps it’s an unpopular opinion, but I thought this place was fairly bad. Food was just OK, the restaurant way too loud and some of the most uncomfortable seating I’ve ever been to.

    • I don’t think you’re alone there.

    • Completely agree. Used to live around the corner and went once–expensive meal and my food was bad. Not really mourning this loss.

    • I do recall the terrible seating. I don’t recall almost anything else about the meal or service there, which probably speaks for itself. I am going to Convivial finally on Friday so can’t really compare too much in this neighborhood, but I loved Corduroy the twice I’ve been.

  • Ate their once. The food was quite good, but also very expensive.

  • Perhaps it was the name. Personally, I would have gone with pLace. (see if anyone gets the reference)

  • Besides the added competition from Convivial and The Dabney (and All Purpose etc.), I ‘m not sure what the fallout from this was: http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/food/blog/20678087/chef-frederik-de-pue-sued-for-allegedly-misusing-funds-and-taking-alcohol-from-restaurant

  • I had one brunch at Table – the food and mimosas were pretty good. RIP.

    • How hard is it, really, to make a mimosa?

      • Tsar of Truxton

        I agree that it is not difficult to mix orange juice with champagne, but many brunch places around town go waaaaay heavy on the OJ (probably because they are being cheap).

        • I’ve also had ones that seemed to have been diluted with water — that is, instead of being a mix of full-strength OJ and champagne, they were a mix of OJ, water, and champagne.

        • My guess is the OJ is more expensive than the sparkling.

          • I can verify that’s the case at Ardeo (or used to be, anyhow).

          • Tsar of Truxton

            Interesting. I never really thought about it, but I could see that being true. I guess, maybe they do it for liability reasons, i.e., they don’t want people getting too drunk. Either way, most mimosas I have had during brunch (even when not bottomless) in this city are not great.

          • Welcome to living in a climate where the nearest native orange tree is 1,000 miles away…

  • I need their Social Hour in my life.

  • I don’t buy that the neighborhood is oversaturated or in crisis. Restaurants come and go, but this sure looks to me like a neighborhood that has a lot more restaurants than it did a year ago, right? With even more in the pipeline?

  • The only way some “cheaper” place opens here is if it’s a chain of some sort. High residential costs = high commercial costs. Let’s check back when an announcement is made and see whether the new place is a $20 for a beer and a burger joint.

  • So its very odd that several places have closed on that block in the last few weeks – the ethiopian place, the chinese place, Table, rumors of A&D closing as well. Anything thinking that maybe someone went in and is buying up the buildings (and kicking out the tenants) to knock it all down and put up a new, (ugly) modern building? Just a thought, a very very sad thought.

  • I moved on from being confused about people commenting on “diplomat” and “laundromat” rhyming and made the latest reservation I could for tomorrow.

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