The answer is....drumroll.....NO WHERE. Now that I don't work/learn downtown, lunch is out of the question. That was my favorite part of RW! Does anyone remember Zola from last winter RW? It sparked my interest in the fabulosity known as Zola's lamb meatball sliders. This Capital Spice map is from Summer '09 RW, but see the void northeast of the city? That's where I am during work hours. Bummer city.
Not that $35 isn't still a good deal (at some establishments), but working off-Metro and having a partner-in-crime working past prime time does not equal RW success.
As for where you should go, in my total non-expert but still pushy opinion, please make sure wherever you go has a real "deal" for you. Check out the regular menu--if all the things you would want (app, entree, dessert) barely add up to $35, then don't bother going during this crowded week. Go at your convenience, most likely with better service and fewer crowds.
For example, what I would want from Ceiba likely adds up to about $38. Should I rush to get an RW reservation? Or should I take advantage of SATURDAY happy hour (with half-priced bar food), or the $29 pre-theater. Yes, you heard me--the pre-theater menu is less than RW, and this isn't uncommon at all! But for the thrill of RW (and admittedly, maybe a more convenient dining time), you can pay $35.10 for that fun.
I don't want to sound grumpy. You know I love to spend money on lavish and ridiculous tasting menus. But use your noggin, and don't let anyone trick you into thinking you got a "deal." If you love the sandwiches (hovering around $9) at Restaurant 3, then don't go for RW. I'm looking out for you in these tough economic times.
I just recommended Willow to an Arlingtonian--they are extending, so maybe I can get over there while it lasts! You can see menus and who is extending over at DCFoodies.
Where are you going this RW? Where have you been? What did you like? What wasn't worth it? Any surprisingly good or bad service??? HELP US CHOOSE!!!!