Vidalia, 1990 M St. NW
Vidalia specializes in classy Southern fare, and the Restaurant Week service I received was impeccable. The shrimp n' grits are worth the price of admission on a regular night, but when you get an appetizer and dessert, too? Done and done.
Bastille, 1201 N. Royal St. Alexandria, VA
I have previously written about Bastille, suggesting it as a place your mother might like to try when she visits. But I first discovered the charming French restaurant with my then-boyfriend during Restaurant Week 2007. The coq au vin is delectable, and, since this isn't a highly trafficked retaurant, the service quality remains high.
PassionFish, 11960 Democracy Drive, Reston, VA
Holy moly, PassionFish! There are very few spots wherein I've had to turn to my dining compatriots and say, "This chocolate cake is actually physically turning me on," and PassionFish is one of them. (I suppose the name is apropos? Well, the "passion" part. Not sure about the "fish.") Again, it's not highly trafficked because, well, let's face it, driving to Reston kind of sucks, so you will be sure to get everything you want and more out of the dinner experience.
Now, a few to AVOID:
Kellari Taverna, 1700 K St. NW
Ugh. We had the shittiest waiter ever at Kellari Taverna during Restaurant Week a few years ago. And the food, which is Greek and therefore should be delicious, was bland and unappealing.
Capital Grille, 601 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
My Restaurant Week steak at Capital Grille was so completely overcooked that I almost couldn't eat it. At a place where cooking a steak should be second nature, this is unacceptable.
With that, go out, make Restaurant Week reservations, and don't come back until you look like this:
(I have been waiting for forever to use that GIF, you guys. Thank you for humoring me.)