Several people recommended this place to us when we first moved to the DC area, telling me the food and wine were wonderful and the atmosphere very special. One evening we arrived only to be told they require reservations and the seating will be at 6. We ate elsewhere. A second time, our party of four was not all there at 6, and again we had to eat elsewhere. Finally, three friends and I made sure to be available at 6 pm, made reservations in advance, and arrived on time. I am not sure if this seating policy is intended to make the restaurant feel a bit exclusive, or if the manager is just a control freak, but it takes the Wine House out of my rotation for spontaneous drink and nibbles. Anyway, various members of our party ordered the Malbec, a sauvignon blanc, and a pino noir. We also had the cheese and charcuterie board, which was delightful. We did have to ask the server to tell us which cheese was which (she set the board down and walked away), but did a fine job explaining the cheeses. The mussels were delicious, the watercress soup light and refreshing. The beet and fennel salad is a winner! Total bill was $125 before tip. Overall, the food was fine, the wine was fine, the service was okay... So what is all the fuss about? Because of its proximity to where I live and work, I suppose I will end up going back there one day, but it will not be my first call. I do not understand the need to be inaccessible, or to turn people away at the door because they do not arrive for "the seating." So much for stumbling in for a glass of wine and bite of bread at the end of a long work day.
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