I had hours to kill before meeting a friend of mine later in the evening. But it was 1:30 on a Friday and I was HUNGRY. For steak. Specifically. So I pulled out the trusty smartphone and did a restaurant search. A steakhouse near The White House came up so I headed that way.
And that's when I fell upon the Willard Intercontinental. And the Cafe du Parc. A note on the window asked me to go around to the other side. Unfortunately for them, I couldn't find the entrance. Fortunately for the Occidental Grill, I found theirs.
I had never heard of this place, but I had heard of the hotel. And the lunch menu seemed great -- good solid food at reasonable (albeit steakhouse-type) prices. So I wandered in and was immediately taken care of. Warm, inviting, helpful - immediately found me a cozy booth on the top tier. The view looked down on the rest of the restaurant and Pennsylvania Avenue.
As an added bonus, it was Restaurant Week. So a typical lunch that would run you $50+ with wine was only $30+. I had a grilled shrimp appetizer, followed by a filet and finished with a creme brûlée. All accompanied by a delicious Pinot Noir that was by far the most expensive item on the bill but so worth it.
The service was spotty but I did come during restaurant week and around 1:30, so I can probably chalk it up to that. I was left alone a lot, which is normally fine, but when your water runs dry and no one fills it and then your wine runs dry and no one asks if you want more, it's a problem. The table next to me was seated an hour after me and had very attentive service. I can only assume it was because they were a couple and they were the LAST lunch seating of the day (literally -- they were prepping for dinner at that point).
In the end, I was so happy to have stumbled upon the Occidental right at the exact moment I needed to. It met all of my needs and then some. Highly recommended.
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