Restaurants With Benefits

You don’t need a red carpet or a gaggle of paparazzi to feel like a VIP. Many restaurants offer special services even to nonfamous patrons. “We’ll bend over backwards for guests,” says Kristopher Diemar, general manager at Carmine’s in Penn Quarter, who has run out to buy toys for crying children and arranged to have flowers waiting for couples. “We like to help make special occasions even more special.” Here are our favorite perks and how to access them — no secret handshakes required.

Lending a Hand
When you sit down at this backroom speakeasy for an evening of craft cocktails, you’re given a complimentary hand towel. Delivered steaming hot during the cold months or refreshingly chilly amid the heat, the towels are scented with seasonal essences. Right now, they come with a heady, herbal blend of lemon, lavender and fennel.
Columbia Room
, 1021 7th St. NW; 202-393-0220. (Mt. Vernon Square)

Office Space
Business never stops. So, if you’re amid a meal and get a call that requires you to act quickly, just ask to use the restaurant’s business center (available from 7 a.m. until 5 p.m.). Equipped with Wi-Fi, a printer and mailing supplies, you can consider it your second office — one where you can order bacon lollipops and tater tots.
Founding Farmers Potomac
, 12505 Park Potomac Ave., Potomac, Md.; 301-340-8783.

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Photo courtesy of Firefly.


Go Eat An Egg: The Easter Bunny Has Landed in Washington


While the kids are foraging for plastic, candy-filled eggs on Easter, adults can enjoy the real deal. All over town, the elliptical edibles are breaking out of their shells to star in atypical dishes such as pizzas and burgers. “Eggs are versatile, and you can use them a million different ways,” says PS 7′s chef and owner, Peter Smith. “They are a perfect food.” So, forget run-of-the-mill frittatas from the brunch buffet on Easter. These creative dishes will have you clucking your approval.

Head over to this Italian eatery to score a hard-boiled egg without having to take out a kid or two. It’s customary in the old country to serve a sweet, brioche-like round bread at dinner known as pane di pasquai (Easter bread). This symbolic circle of dough has a hard-boiled egg baked into its center and a cross of dough laid over the egg to represent life and faith. “We want to help keep traditions alive,” says chef Terry Natas. “It’s all about teaching the next generation about what Italians have been eating for hundreds of years.” Speckled with colorful sprinkles, Natas’ loaf is complimentary for anyone dining at Carmine’s on Easter Sunday — but it’s available only that day, so reservations are recommended.

» 425 7th St. NW; 202-737-7770.

Read about my other…wait for it…egg-cellent picks over on the Express website now.