Eat Your Heart Out: Don Rockwell Plans Your Valentine’s Day Meal


Don Rockwell is the rainmaker of reservations. He can secure the most coveted tables at the best restaurants — even when everything is supposedly booked solid.

“I don’t want to sound arrogant, but when I call, people pick up,” says Rockwell.
His concierge service, DC Dining, which debuted at the end of last year, designs culinary experiences. Whether you’re trying to score a private room at a top-tier steakhouse, a last-minute reservation at a James Beard-winning restaurant or a prime seat at the trendiest hotspot, just make your reservation at
Since the launching of his first site,, in 2005 — an online forum where area gastronomes and industry professionals gather to chat (and sometimes bicker) about the region’s epicurean happenings — Rockwell has become one of the most well-regarded experts on D.C.’s dining scene. He posts lengthy reviews, moderates arguments and serves as an impresario for the foodie community.

When he isn’t online, he’s dining out, which helps him maintain his encyclopedic knowledge of the best eateries and introduces him to top chefs and restaurateurs.
“I really know more about this stuff and what’s available than just about anybody,” he says. “It’s my passion.”

We put Rockwell’s knowledge to the test and asked him to play culinary Cupid this Valentine’s Day — especially for you, dear Express reader. Whether choosen for its fine foods or fancy decor, here are his most intimate and upscale restaurant picks for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Find out Don’s picks over on the Express website now.


Sleight of Mouth: Local Restaurants Engage in Culinary Trickery


Harry Houdini, David Copperfield and David Blaine have all confounded audiences with their audacious tricks and unbelievable feats. The greatest chefs can pull off equally dazzling stunts, because on the cutting edge of the cutting edge of gastronomical experimentation, nothing is what it seems: A cracked-open hard-boiled egg may turn out to be a sweet lemon meringue pie; what looks like a miniature ice cream cone might actually be salty trout roe coyly masquerading as dessert. These deceiving dishes may mislead the eyes, but they please the taste buds in unanticipated ways.

Find out how the Oval Room, Citronelle, Komi and Minibar like to play with their guests’ minds.