Friday, March 14, 2008

You can feel it

What a dichotomy.

Last night started off with dinner at Palena Cafe with Apples, Tweaks, and Meat. Everyone had the cheeseburger and walked away very happy. Palena is one of my favorite restaurants because for a top ten place, it's not pretentious - you never feel out of place there, even when you're wearing jeans and a polo (like I was).

Last night ended at a restaurant that I won't name near Farragut Square. Now I've been here before, a couple times, and honestly like the food, but I've always felt as if there was something off.

This was Apple's first time here, and her first question was, "What's up with the ropes?", referring to the two leather ropes outside the door in an attempt to make the place look fancier than it actually is.

We took a seat at a bar, and after some eavesdropping, found out that the bartender just put in his two weeks, and was actually talking to one of the other patrons, who was definitely industry, about getting hooked up with a new gig.

The restaurant itself was quiet. Maybe a quarter of the tables, if that, were filled. And while our drinks were both very good, the bar was half empty, which I thought was odd for a place in a central location at 8pm on a week night.

The difference between Palena and this unnamed restaurant couldn't be more clear. Palena was alive, filled with punks like us and people who you'd expect to be at a James Beard Award winning restaurant. The other restaurant was nearly silent, with only a few people sitting down to hastily decided upon meals.

Sitting at the bar of the second restaurant, whispering quietly so the bartender or wait staff could hear me, I made a prediction to Apples; "This place is going to close soon". It's sad, especially coming from a restaurant which will be open as long as it wants to be. You don't have to look at the books, or count the people at the tables, Farragut Square will soon be out one restaurant - you can feel it.

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