All of the Smithsonian museums in Washington DC are free. They’re easy to find, well laid-out, and definitely worth going to.
However, the food they serve, for what it is, is the opposite of free. Sometimes it’s themed to match the museum. The American Indian Museum has ethnic food that looks a whole lot different than what you’d find in, say, Bertucci’s. (Wouldn’t it be awesome if the same thing were true of the American History museum?)
At the American Indiam museum, you can get miniature venison pies, cheap wine, all kinds of salad with obscure seeds in it, etc. I ordered a slice of blue cornbread, purple potatoes with quinoa and onion, and roasted yellow beets and wild mushrooms in caramelized sauce. You can see the seasonal menus here.
The blue cornbread was the best thing about it. It was crumbly but I think it still had a sufficient amount of sour cream. The rest of the food was interesting, but it’s often kinda stale. I guess it depends when you get there. I wouldn’t call it top-notch ethnic food, but it’s not the worst either.
I should mention here that the moat around the museum is quite an architectural accomplishment. I sat there for a long time at the window next to one of the mini-waterfalls, looking out at the bare trees and the wooden sculptures stretching up into the sky.
My Rating: 6
Chef: Richard Hetzler
Recommended Dish: Blue Cornbread
Atmosphere: Casual, Airy
Price Range: $10-$22
4th St. & Independence Ave SW