Row Me Down

You might think a row sounds like a strip mall or something boxy and boring like that. But I beg to differ after experiencing the unique, charming and fun Pentagon Row in Pentagon City. It is located on Joyce Street, one block past Pentagon City Fashion Centre. You can actually cut right through the lower level of the Fashion Centre to get there most directly.

While it does have some neat retail like World Market and Sur La Table, some amenities like a huge upper level fitness center and an enormous upper level spa, and some attractions like the wintertime outdoor skating rink in the center of the middle atrium, the restaurants and fun atmosphere are the biggest appeals. With nine mid-priced, nice, restaurants, the pickings are never slim and there is almost always a table to be had despite the lively, bustling feel of the open area. Every restaurant has cafe-like outdoor seating in the warm months, which also lends to the fun vibe.

The restaurants range across an eclectic scale of interesting choices. There's Lebanese Taverna, a place we have been to and enjoyed several times. Among tasty Middle Eastern classics and more modern small plates called mezze, it is difficult to have a bad time in this fun restaurant.

But maybe you're in the mood for a light, French meal. La Creperie is one of our favorite little restaurants, with lots of good sweet and savory crepes to go along with other French bistro classics. It's perfect for a quiet, early dinner or a romantic, late night treat.

For an Italian twist on the bustling of Lebanese Taverna and the romantic of La Creperie, there is Murali's. A nice place for a date, this Italian restaurant has a loaded menu with all sorts of takes on Italian dishes. We especially loved their homemade desserts (but you have to ask which ones are) and the terrific service.

For fun with friends the other night, we decided to come to Pentagon Row and just choose. We passed on Thai, Japanese, Asian Fusion, Sports Bar and Irish Pub (all of which look good and I've yet to try) and went for the Grill. PR Grill to be exact. While they were a little short on vegetarian choices for Julia, she did find a roasted tomato and Portobello appetizer that she quite liked. We ate outside and enjoyed the drinks and great, fresh bread. Our friend ordered a finger-licking-looking bacon, cheddar burger. Beware of a LOT of bacon! Not a bad thing in my eyes though. I ordered a really nice braised lamb shank. It was falling-off-the-bone tender and incredibly juicy and flavorful. It had a tomato-based sauce over it that added even more deep, savory flavor. It was definitely worth the $16, for a dish that many restaurants would charge $26 or more for.

That's what I like about this Pentagon Row. It's very reasonably priced for great and interesting food choices, an even better atmosphere and a lot of fun. Soon we'll be living just a stone's throw away, and when we don't go into DC itself, we'll be more than content dining and enjoying ourselves at Pentagon Row. Come to think of it, they should open up some more rows. I would be a definite fan.

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