Kids restaurant week
You've probably heard of the "Restaurant Week" promos that happen once a year in a lot of cities — a bunch of restaurants all agree to offer a limited fixed price menu at the same bargain price for one week a year. It's a nice way to get to try restaurants that are usually out of your price range, and gets the restaurants more customers during a generally slow time of year and lots of publicity and goodwill.
Well, this year Cookie magazine helped organize "Kids Restaurant Week" in three cities, including DC. Adults pay $29, kids pay their age, special early seatings. We generally have given up on going out with the boys to any restaurant fancier than Applebees, because it's just not worth the money to buy food that they won't eat, and it takes too much of our energy to keep them sitting nicely. (Although we've discovered that a pair of bubble teas will buy us a good 45 minutes sitting at the local dim sum joint.) But we decided to give Wasabi a try, since N likes the takeout sushi from Trader Joe's, and I hoped the food on a conveyor belt would distract D even if there was nothing he was willing to eat. And it's right near my office.
We got there a little late, due to some parking issues. (We discovered that our minivan no longer fits in the parking structures downtown since we installed a bike rack. And most metered spots are off limits between 4 and 6.30.) But they were very welcoming when we got there.
It turned out to be far more of a success than I had anticipated. They had a kids meal planned out, with chicken karage, avocado rolls, sweet potato tempura and strawberries with ginger. Somewhat to my surprise, D adored the chicken. And adults could just eat of the conveyor belt or the menu. The boys were thrilled by how the staff turned the standard wooden disposible chopsticks into kids chopsticks with the clever use of a rubberband and the rolled up paper wrapper.
At the end of the meal, the manager (or owner?) stopped by and was very welcoming. He asked where we lived, and when we said Virginia, he told us they were opening a new branch in Tyson's in the fall. He said that would be a more kid-friendly set-up, with more room, and the chefs working on display in the middle.
I wouldn't have imagined taking the boys to Wasabi without the incentive of kids restaurant week, but at the end, they asked if they could go back. And we probably will.