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Wine of the Week: Wine Deals For Restaurant Week

Friday - 8/10/2012, 8:45pm  ET

Scott Greenberg, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - Most of us can't wait to get out of Washington, 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 annual summer Restaurant Week dine-a-thon.

From August 13th through the 19th, over 200 of the area's finest restaurants will offer three-course meals for set prices during the 18th biannual Washington, D.C. Restaurant Week. Participating restaurants will offer a three-course lunch for $20.12 (get it? 2012) and a three-course price-fixed dinner for just $35.12.

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

Click here for a complete list of restaurants taking part in the promotion.

Art and Soul, at 415 New Jersey Ave, Northwest is the brainchild of restaurateur Art Smith. Art grew up in a small southern town where he says, "... My cuisine is certainly a reflection of my upbringing."

But Smith has come a long way since his youth, cooking for some of the world's most famous celebrities, including a ten year stint as the personal chef for Oprah Winfrey. Art and Soul celebrates Art's southern roots with a modern spin.

Continuing with the southern theme, Vidalia restaurant, at 1990 M Street, Northwest, is planning of offering some of chef and owner Jeff Buben's classic dishes, such as shrimp and grits, on the week-long menu.

Sommelier Ed Jenks has put together a list of red and white wines that represent great quality and value, including an Argentinian Torrontes from Don Manuel Villafaņe, as well as a selection of craft beers and artisanal cocktails made from small production American craft spirits.

All three of the local outposts of the Capital Grille steakhouse, in McLean, Chevy Chase and the District, are currently featuring their "Generous Pour" concept along with dry aged steaks and fresh seafood. The Generous Pour allows patrons to select any number of tastes from a pre-set list of nine premium wines for $25. During Restaurant Week, the steakhouse will also offer a three-wine tasting option for $9.

Owner Dean Gold of Dino's, at Connecticut Ave, Northwest, is extending Restaurant Week through September 6th. The free corkage policy featured Monday through Wednesday is suspended during Restaurant Week. But, Dean will be offering special wine pairings as well as 33 percent off of wines over $50 on Sunday and Monday.

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 and from state to state, 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.

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. Another tip, I always try to order at least one bottle of wine off of their wine list as a way of showing my appreciation.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)