Contrast: Two New Restaurants in Penn Quarter

Excellent food, good wine, nice service, some tourists wearing tevas and shorts, talking loudly.  That’s where the similarities ended.

Where Cedar was the nice evening out with friends or maybe a quiet getaway with your SO, SEI was the place to see and be seen.  Even early on a Saturday evening, it already had that feel.  Cedar on the other hand, was just quiet late on a weeknight.  Maybe a tad too quiet.

Which is a shame.  The food at Cedar was quite good.  Like Redwood in Bethesda, Cedar’s seafood did not disappoint.  The appetizers in particular were wonderful.  The stewed oysters were to die for and the fluke carpaccio was not only beautifully presented (in the shape of a butterfly complete with avocado center and grapefruit accents), it was delicious.

Of course, I have to remind myself this is Penn Quarter.  It’s hard to imagine that there was a time when this part of town was a cultural — and culinary — wasteland.  Other than Cafe Atlantico, of course, which was the only good place to eat in that part of town. 

Now we have a surfeit of good restaurants in Penn Quarter — and some only okay places that seem to thrive despite their mediocre food and poor service.  Why go to Rio Grande when you can enjoy Cedar?  Indeed.

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