In terms of density alone, there are several stretches in the District that cater to the eating out crowd. 14th and U Streets, Connecticut near Dupont Circle, Columbia Road and 18th Street in Adams Morgan, 7th Street in Chinatown all come to mind. But I’m here to make the case for the little stretch of 17th Street between P and Corcoran Streets. On the high end there’s the obvious: Komi, so-said top spot in D.C., Little Serow, a James Beard nominated best new restaurant, and Sushi Taro, specializing in Kaiseki menus. And nice range by the way: Greek, Thai, and Japanese.
But the casual spots–places I probably wouldn’t go if I didn’t live right by them are all solid: Pizza No. 17, Agora, and Hank’s Oyster Bar. The nice range builds: charming pizza place, casual Greek with a killer lamb sandwich, and regional seafood. Each restaurant comes with the added benefit of outdoor seating and on a nice evening or these early spring afternoons, every seat is full.
Finally, there are a couple of places that don’t get the credit they deserve for the quality of their fare. Trio, which to my mind is the closest thing this town has to a diner, and Annie’s Paramount Steakhouse, which serves a nice piece of meat and a spicy bloody Mary.
I’d argue that this little strip has another thing that strengthens the case for restaurant row status: The Vibe is distinctly communal. When the weather is nice and the seats are full, the doors and windows are open and the hosts invite sidewalk traffic and make room for all. Essentially, this stretch starts to feel like a neighborhood block party, something that is hard to find in a city of transients.