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Small Plates: Recession-Friendly Deals Are Served Up

Money might be tight all around, but that’s no reason to give up dining out completely. Jose Andres and his partners at THINKfoodGROUP have unveiled recession-friendly specials at Jaleo, Oyamel and Zaytinya, all located in Penn Quarter. “Cause $4 Celebration— will run indefinitely and will feature $4 cocktails, wines, beers and menu items Sundays through Fridays.

Customers at Jaleo (480 Seventh St. NW) will get the biggest bang for their buck. The hot spot, which also serves the specials at its locations in Crystal City, Va., and Bethesda, Md., offers $4 items from 4:30 to 7 p.m., while Zaytinya (701 Ninth St. NW) and Oyamel (401 Seventh St. NW) end the offer at 6:30 p.m. Several of Jaleo’s famed tapas will be marked down, including gambas al ajillo — shrimp sauteed with garlic and guindilla pepper — and patatas bravas 2009 — fried fingerling potatoes topped with a spicy tomato sauce and alioli.

At Zaytinya, customers can sip on a discounted Pom-Fili. This sweet cocktail, made with white wine, triple sec, vodka and pomegranate juice, is a bargain at $4. Selected wines are also available, as are a selection of mezze specials.

Oyamel’s customers can nosh on handmade tacos priced at two for $4. The restaurant’s classic margarita — which Mug Shots proclaimed best in the city last year — will be available as a part of the special, as will half-priced wine by the glass.

At Art and Soul on Capitol Hill, diners can order a three-course “Filibuster Buster— lunch for $24. The goal, the restaurant says, is to provide diners with the bill and dessert within 45 minutes of being seated — because you know how important and busy we all are.

First-course choices include Brunswick stew, the pantry hoecake (a cornmeal pancake topped with blue cheese, grapes, arugula and onion) or Capitol Hill salad. For entrees, there is butternut squash ravioli, fried chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy, or grilled trout with roasted beets, fennel and horseradish cream.

Dessert is an assortment of the restaurant’s “baby cakes.— The portions are generous, especially for lunch, and the wait staff offers to pack up the dessert to go if lunch runs a little long.

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