It's a "green" restaurant, and from what they said, gets much of its stock from the local farmers' markets, etc. That's part of the idea.
1924 Pennsylvania Avenue, equidistant between Farragut West and Foggy Bottom metro stops. There isn't a big sign outside, so we actually walked by it and then went, "Waitaminute!" and turned around and found it (the name is on the windows).
Looks like it shouldn't work, but it does. I.e. it's a mix of modern, industrial, homey, rustic, and even slightly Hawaiian patterns, but somehow, it all looks like it belongs. Even the giant jars of preserved fruits and veggies at the entrance. The seating area is comfortable (we were at a window table with a booth and chair) and Dave liked the glasses and silverware because it's "substantial" (i.e. not flimsy). The bar runs through the middle in a square island, and is well-stocked with a variety of liquors (we didn't drink any, but it looked exciting).
Very friendly and polite, very helpful. Obviously still working out a few kinks, but that was the whole purpose of this training exercise, so that's nothing to worry about - I'm sure by the time they open on the 18th they'll be well-practiced. Our waitress was nice - still getting the hang of smooth descriptions of the food, and may need to learn shorthand for the menu items, but otherwise great. Watchful and attentive.
We could order any of the non-alcoholic drinks for free. They had some interesting choices. Dave and I both opted for the Mint Limeade and liked it.
We had a limited menu for food, but we got to choose one starter, 2 entrees, and one dessert between us. We chose a cheese board appetizer. It came with about 6-7 different cheeses, 2 slices of bread (made in-house), a fig (on one of the cheeses), and a piece of real honeycomb with honey. The cheeses were very good (one I didn't like, but all the others I did) and the honeycomb was THE BEST THING EVER. So good. The only critique I had was that there should have been 4 pieces of bread, what with how much cheese we had - but when asked, they brought more, so that worked.
For entrees, Dave chose the halibut (made with cracked pepper and lemon) and I chose the crab cakes. Dave really enjoyed his (I had a bite and quite liked it) and the crab cakes were very good. The servings were satisfactory - greens, mashed potatoes, and 2 crab cakes. I ended up taking home about half because of the appetizer and all. Of course Dave finished his. My favorite part of this was the kind of lemon-mustard cream sauce that came with the crab cakes. I would have liked a bit more of it, actually!
Our dessert was a chocolate caramel pecan pie with crumbled chocolate cookie crust. It was really yummy - the pecans tasted like they'd been crisped with cinnamon beforehand, and it came with some vanilla ice cream so the chocolate didn't overwhelm.
The timing of the courses was very good - one was ready a little bit after the last was finished. Always appreciated.
The would-have-been bill was $88. So not cheap, but decent for fancy food. Of course, OURS WAS FREE, which is always good.
I would go again, although the price is slightly prohibitive if you aren't flush with cash. The food is very, very good, and I'm assuming by opening-time they will have their service down pat (although even now, really, it was pretty good).
The Last Chance for Free Food!
It says these times are still available for the free food thing:
Monday, Sept 15 - lunch only
Tuesday, Sept 16 - breakfast or lunch
So if you want to try it, go make a reservation using the link above. I called before going to confirm that I had correctly signed up for the "free" thing, just in case.