Let's face it. Washington, D.C., is an expense account kind of town. You can find a fancy, upscale restaurant around almost every corner. But where do you eat if you're seeing the sights and don't want to spend a bundle? Come with us, and we'll give you a taste of a few of the city's budget-conscious offerings.
Capital Q Texan B.B.Q.
If you're seeking a bona fide Texas roadside barbecue shack, look no further than D.C.'s Chinatown. That's right--Chinatown.
Port Arthur, Texas, native Nick Fontana blew into Washington long before our current President got here and quickly discovered the absence of true Texas-style pit barbecue. "We have people who eat lunch here every day," says co-owner Steven Heald. "We get suits from the Secret Service, construction workers, tons of expatriate Texans, and sometimes a panhandler with a pocket full of quarters."
Predictably, the best thing on the menu is the beef brisket. Tender and smoky, it's as good as anything you'll find in Texas. You can get it on a bun, but to experience the full flavor, order the sliced brisket plate. They'll ladle either hot or mild sauce on for you, but I prefer mine on the side. The spicy red sauce is perfect for dipping.
There are other meats on the menu, with the pork ribs being the best of the rest. Plates come with your choice of two side items, including collard greens and a cold black-eyed pea salad known as Texas Caviar. You can even get an icy Shiner Bock beer to wash it all down. 707 H Street NW.; (202) 347-8396 or www.capitalqbbq.com. Plate dinners with two sides: $5.25-$24.95.