President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden made headlines by dining out yesterday at Ray's Hell-Burger, a popular burger joint on Arlington, Virginia's Wilson Boulevard. Though Ray's was already a local favorite, there's no doubt that Obama's trip will garner even more traffic to the unmarked eatery.
Though Ray's isn't in the private events scene, that's no reason for your event attendees to miss out on dining like the Obamas do. Why not host a dinner or reception at one of the other president-approved restaurants in Washington, DC?
Already a staple on The Washingtonian's Best Restaurant lists—not to mention its inclusion as one of only eight of Conde Nast Traveler's most exciting restaurants in the world—Michel Richard's Citronelle restaurant in Georgetown was also the First Couple's restaurant of choice for a date night in May. Specializing in playful French fare, the establishment's ever-changing menu has included selections such as rack of lamb with white bean jalapeno sauce; duck with apple risotto and apricot sauce; and Michel's signature short ribs, braised 72 hours and served with raisin-peppercorn sauce. On the Obama's menu: a lobster burger for Michelle, and for Barack, 72-hour aged beef and one French fry—"to stay skinny," Michel Richard told "Extra."
Small groups can enjoy similar delightful fare from the comfort of one of four private meeting rooms at Citronelle. The Christel Room seats up to 16 guests; the Christophe Room seats up to 30 guests; the Chloe Room seats up to 40 guests; and the Presidential Ballroom, located in the Latham Hotel, is suited for larger receptions and weddings in DC.
Citronelle even offers private dining menu options. Guests can indulge in a course of filet mignon with porcini-flavored Yukon Gold potatoes or passed hors d'oeuvres such as petit croques monsieur, petit soft fish tacos, and oyster shooters with horseradish foam.
Todd Gray's Equinox was the restaurant of choice for Michelle Obama's birthday celebration in January. True to its name, Equinox is committed to seasonal cooking; Chef Gray uses community-farmed, organic ingredients grown within 100 miles of the restaurant when possible, prepared in a New American style. Menu items include spiced striploin of Roseda Farms beef and housemade black fettuccine with shrimp bolognese.
Equinox offers DC private event space rentals, with the whole establishment seating up to 110 people. Also available are its wine room for up to 12 guests and its atrium for up to 55 guests.
Art and Soul
Before attending the Celebration of Women in the Arts event at the Kennedy Center, First Lady Michelle Obama and nine friends enjoyed a meal at the Hill's Art and Soul restaurant. Looking to offer Southern-style hospitality in the heart of DC, Art and Soul is run by Chef/Owner Art Smith and Executive Chef Ryan Morgan. Modern regional cuisine with Southern accents comprise menu selections, which include pork ribs with vinegar slaw and barbecue sauce; pecan-crusted chicken with creamed spinach; and an assortment of hoe cakes.
Art and Soul offers a private dining room for functions. In fact, it was in its private area that the First Lady and her friends dined!