Snag an online reservation for Hush ($75, BYOB), a twice-a-month supper club held in a private U Street-area townhouse, where traditional Jain-style Indian cuisine—rich vegetarian fare like fried puffed rice topped with tamarind, chutney, and vegetables—is served with an evening of Indian storytelling. Reservations should be made several weeks in advance, but you can check the Twitter feed for news of last-minute cancellations.
Sit at the bar at Proof, where selections from the National Portrait Gallery’s collection (e.e. cummings’s self-portrait, Noli Novak’s images of Oprah Winfrey) display on video screens above a system that serves 32 wine varietals with the push of a button. You can pair your wine choices with eclectic small plates of kabocha pumpkin gnocchi ($14) and a pho-inspired terrine ($8), or move into the dining room for a full dinner menu.
Taste refined takes on southern cuisine at Eatonville, where hush puppies ($8) are filled with a fondue of rock shrimp and leeks. Inspired by writer Zora Neale Hurston and named after her Florida hometown, the restaurant is swathed in colorful murals based on her books, and the monthly Food and Folklore series keeps her legacy alive with talks from journalists and authors.