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A Little Privacy, Please

Zola, Charlie Palmer Debut New Private Dining Areas

Just in time for the holiday party season, Charlie Palmer Steak and Zola have unveiled improved private dining spaces.

To better cater to its high-profile clientele, Charlie Palmer connected two pre-existing areas to create a space that can hold up to 200 people. Where a curtain once separated the main dining room from the private room, walls inset with frosted glass now provide soundproof separation for all those clandestine conversations and raucous fundraisers.

Chef Bryan Voltaggio has developed a special catering menu that can be complemented with wines chosen by the restaurant’s sommelier. [IMGCAP(1)]

Meanwhile, Zola acquired a 3,500-square-foot space from the International Spy Museum that was previously used for special exhibits. The space, dubbed “Eyes Only” in keeping with the espionage theme, is equipped with two bars and seating for 100. Film noir paintings and bold primary colors add drama to the room. Zola executive chef Frank Morales and his staff will cater all events held there.

Charlie Palmer Steak is located at 101 Constitution Ave. NW. Zola is at 800 F St. NW.

New Clyde’s Set to Open. Spreading its D.C. restaurant mini-empire to the Penn Quarter, Clyde’s of Gallery Place is slated to open Nov. 7 at 707 Seventh St. NW. The two-level space, tucked just beside the MCI Center and Regal Cinema, holds three bars, five dining areas and an oyster bar.

On the menu, diners will find Clyde’s classics such as trout parmesan and bacon cheeseburgers, along with seasonal offerings like wild Alaska Copper River salmon, soft-shell crabs and Maryland rockfish.

The original Clyde’s opened in 1963 in Georgetown. With the addition of the Penn Quarter restaurant, there are now six Clyde’s locations in the D.C. area. D.C. institutions Old Ebbitt Grill and 1789 are also part of the Clyde’s Restaurant Group.

Cheating on the Holiday Meal. Why not avoid the fuss of preparing a holiday meal this year and get a little help from your friends … or Galileo chef Roberto Donna? Instead of slaving away in the kitchen, order one of Donna’s to-go menus, created for Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year’s, that come nearly ready to serve. You get detailed instructions on how to finish each course, so you can dirty up a few pans and make it look like you cooked all day.

For Thanksgiving, forgo the dried out turkey and marshmallow sweet potato casserole for chestnut soup with turkey sausage and diced porcini mushrooms, potato dumplings in black truffle and wild mushroom sauce, and roasted loin of lamb with artichokes, black olives, confit tomato and carrots. The Thanksgiving menu offers two choices for each of four courses. Bread and cookies are also included.

Call Galileo at (202) 293-7191 to order a holiday dinner no later than one week in advance. Prices range from $60 to $70 per person depending on the number of people you’re feeding.

Hey, Punkin. Let your inner pumpkin artist shine at Helix Lounge’s pumpkin carving contest on Oct. 26. Pumpkins, with the goop already scooped out, and carving tools will be provided for up to 30 contestants. Carving begins at 6 p.m., and designs must be complete by 8 p.m. The winner of the spookiest design gets a $50 gift certificate to Helix’s sister lounge Topaz Bar, and the overall winner gets a weekend stay at the Hotel Helix.

The lounge’s popular half-price burgers and beer happy hour will be extended until 8 p.m. for the event, and the bar will pour $7 pumpkin pie martinis, made with pumpkin liqueur, vodka, a splash of sour and garnished with a cinnamon stick.

Helix is located at 1430 Rhode Island Ave. NW.