Image: Lauren Bacall (1944)
D.C. may feel tumultuous right now, but it was a pretty calm week in the dining world. A week after Michelin released its guide, Tom Sietsema did a 20th anniversary Fall Dining Guide. Here is the week that was on our site and some news to flag from the world of D.C. dining.
Changes to the Recommended Restaurant List:
Anju – This could be a great neighborhood spot for (underrated) Dupont, but it has more going on than that. The old Mandu spot has been restored to a warm warren serving Korean with some edginess.
Revised – Brothers and Sisters rating changed to Worth Taking a Walk from Worth Paying for Cab. See below.
Brothers and Sisters – The restaurant with great drinks spread across the lobby of the Line Hotel is morphing into a great bar that serves very good food. If you were put off by the avant garde elements when it opened (which we frankly loved), it is toned down and settled down since then. While it may no longer risk being compelling, it is still very good and worth a trip out of the way. Especially to split a piece of cake.
Tom’s Fall Dining Guide is out. One thing is clear. If Tom likes a place, he will not back down. That is good news for Seven Reasons, the restaurant he listed as #1. It is also good for Rasika, a restaurant he continues to give 4 stars despite the fact Michelin gives it none. His other 4 star spots are: Charleston, Inn at Little Washington, Komi, Little Serow, Métier, minibar, Pineapple & Pearls. Very little to quibble with what is included. Nor with his top four: Seven Reasons, Rooster & Owl, P&P and Métier. Notable absences on his list compared to ours include Gravitas (new Michelin star), Mirabelle (should have a star) and Sushi Ogawa (which he has praised in the past, but perhaps Ogawa’s work at Zeppelin spooked him). Also missing is Honeysuckle, which closed early this year after an early poor review handicapped it out of the gate. Tom has advocated for D.C. to be considered a great dining city, but we have criticized him for his failure to spot, and tout, the specific places that create the overall effect. This version of his dining guide does some catching up. We might even consider it a top five dining guide for D.C. In the write-up, Tom says that “not only are amateur reviewers sharing with the world their thoughts about their dining experiences, they’re commenting on professional critics. Frankly, I’m fine with any competition.” We are 19 years behind you, but happy to keep you on your toes. Congratulations Tom on 20 years.
Speaking of Michelin and commenting on professional critics, our review of the 2020 Michelin Guide for D.C. also posted this week. Michelin’s relationship to D.C. is a little like dating an absurdly beautiful person, you appreciate the attention being in their glow, but only wish they actually cared about you as much as you care about them. Maybe one day Michelin will invest the resources and attention to D.C. so it can be a truly reliable and elite guide for the city. Then people may realize why pairing works.
Finally, a reminder that the third best dining guide for D.C. is available for free on this site! You can sort dining establishments by cuisine, neighborhood, and/or rating. In both MAP or LIST format.