Best wine deals for Restaurant Week

WASHINGTON — I know most people can’t wait to get out of D.C. in August. But if you’re considering sticking around next week, there are two things that will work in your favor: less traffic and the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington’s summer Restaurant Week.

From Aug. 13 – 19, more than 100 of the area’s finest restaurants will offer three-course meals for set prices during the biannual Restaurant Week program. Participating restaurants will offer a three-course lunch for $22 and a three-course price-fixed dinner for $35.

Further adding to the value-oriented experience, many of these restaurants will also offer wine tasting specials that you can pair with lunch or dinner.

For a complete list of restaurants taking part in the promotion, visit Restaurant Week’s website.

Here are just a few of the more notable wine-friendly deals worth mentioning:

Via Umbria is a great place to buy sought-after Italian provisions, take a cooking class, enjoy delicacies at the chef’s table, or just hang out and enjoy a casual meal in the cafe. During Restaurant Week, the Georgetown spot is increasing the fun-factor by offering an $18 “Build Your Own Wine Flight.” Customers will get to explore Via Umbria’s vast Italian wine collection by pairing different varieties at each course of their meal in the dinning room upstairs. Seating is limited, the meals are wonderful, and the stories are a blast, so reservations are definitely recommended.

All three of the local outposts of the Capital Grille steakhouse will be once again feature its “Generous Pour” concept along with the $35 preset menu of dry-aged steaks and fresh seafood dishes. The Generous Pour allows patrons to select any number of tastes from a preset list of seven premium wines from Duckhorn Vineyards for $28.

The innovative, rooftop-to-fork Bresca in Northwest, D.C. offers a menu of “unexpected flavors forged from nature and mingled with flourish.” It’s also offering a $25 wine pairing option to highlight the $35 three-course menu during Restaurant Week.

Owner Dean Gold of Dino’s Grotto is will offer free corkage and half-off on wines over $60 on Monday, Tuesday and Sunday during Restaurant Week. In addition, the restaurant will offer a “cellar treasure” wine by the glass during the promotion. Currently, it is the 2001 Judds Hill cabernet sauvignon, in magnum, for $29 for an 8 oz pour.

And speaking of corkage policies, if you are celebrating a special occasion and have been patiently waiting to open an extraordinary bottle of wine, Restaurant Week might be the time to consider taking it out to dinner. But there are a few things you need to know before you tote your wine along with you.

Patrons should remember that corkage is a privilege, not a right. Policies vary widely from restaurant to restaurant, so call ahead of time to let them know that you are planning on bringing in your own wine and confirm restaurant’s corkage policy. It’s better to be prepared than to be embarrassed!

By the way, I recommend that you always offer a taste of the wine to both the sommelier and your server. A little kindness goes a long way and a sip of a unique wine just might help the server forget the bottle of wine your table didn’t buy. (Tip: I always try to order at least one bottle of wine off their wine list as a way of showing my appreciation.)

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