Marvin's menu is described as a combination of food inspired by or coming from Belgium and the American South. Signature dishes include, for example, moules frites and chicken and waffle. It's located at the very happening intersection of 14th and U, and close to a Metro station. There is a downstairs dining room/bar area with wood floors and pressed tin ceilings. Upstairs is a rooftop bar, additional seating area. The restaurant's namesake, Marvin Gaye, peers down on diners in the ground floor dining room from an enormous painting featuring him in 1970s-era go-go boots.
I picked Marvin from the Zagat because it said it was a good place for romantic meals; I was looking for a restaurant that would allow for conversation, not yelling over music and noise. On this point, Marvin sort of missed the boat during our visit, but it's an easy fix. Just turn the soundtrack a little. But, on all other points, it hit the ball out of the park. I was on a second date so that's always fraught with opportunities for a restaurant's shortcomings to be exacerbated. Marvin did not disappoint here. We were seated downstairs for a reservation immediately although we were at least 45 minutes early (it wasn't crowded at all when we arrived). Water and bread arrived quickly. Our waiter came and explained the specials. We both quickly decided what to order. I had the grilled watermelon salad as a starter, which was a delicious, interesting choice. I also ordered one of Marvin's signature dishes, chicken and waffle, while my companion chose the salmon with green salad to start. The food came quickly and it was most excellent. The chicken was ample in size, and perfectly crispy and crunchy with only a small bone. My date's fish was also excellently prepared. We opted out of dessert for gelato down the street, but the toffee cake with caramel ice cream would definitely tempt me on a future visit. The French press coffee, however, was really excellent.
All in all, a very friendly, relaxed dining experience with a young, hip crowd having a good time on a warm summer evening. But, I still don't get the connection between Marvin Gaye and Belgium. Then again, it probably doesn't matter.