Image: Jamie Lee Curtis c. 1978.
Lots of recent news and food for thought in the D.C. and larger dining scene. This week we added a spot and revisited a favorite. There was also news of favorites coming back and one not returning. So buckle up and read on!
Updates to Recommended Restaurant List
Porchetta District – The supplemental menu in a Georgetown sandwich/salad spot focuses on the Italian street food of seasoned chunks of pork between ciabatta slices.
Del Mar – The glamorous and hopping spot is back in old form with the strong influence of Maria Trabocchi still evident.
Closed for Good:
Cedar – Once upon a time, this was a hidden gem of D.C. dining. It went through ups and a long stretch of down. We were not hopeful for its post-pandemic return, but now it has been replaced by a new restaurant, DC Noble.
DBGB – Local Twitterer Cait Debaun flagged that Daniel Boulud’s D.C. outpost is claiming a return, possibly with some changes. Strangely the only evidence is a note on the door, but no mention otherwise. This place also has gone through ups and downs over the years. We hope Boulud will take it seriously again. D.C. is not forgiving to out-of-town celebrity chefs who mail it in.
D.C. Dining News
Washington City Paper had two stories this week on issues that we keep trying to highlight and understand. Ray Delucci writes about Work/Life balance for industry folks, but it is really about the balance between work and living itself. Laura Hayes looks at the impact of supply chain problems for the industry and reminds diners to be patient: “Restaurant owners and workers are also pleading for patience. Some feel that people are more forgiving when retailers like grocery shops and liquor stores are out of an item than when they sit down to dine.”
Perhaps the biggest news in D.C. dining was about the news. Gabe Hiatt, editor of Eater DC is returning to the Post to work in the Travel section. Wonder if this sets off a domino of moves?
Speaking of which, Barred in DC keeps finding interesting etiquette questions. A couple weeks ago it was who is responsible for a cold pizza delivery, the restaurant or UberEats. More recently, it is food allergies, and the complaining diner also hit up Tom’s chat. In the end, it seems to us, restaurants should be – and in many cases are – diligent about allergy issues, but if it is serious then it seems you need to be proactive about protecting yourself.
We revisit Tom’s writings this week again for a couple other reasons. First, at the top of his chat he notes that some readers didn’t like his criticism of the Maiz 64 staff for being intrusive. To be fair, we were one of those readers, because we think he was made by the staff, prompting them to be overly obsequious with him, which he then dinged them for.
Second, he writes up L’Ardente this week and barely mentions the service. Considering some, including us, have had service problems at the new restaurant this seemed curious because it implies he was made again and treated differently. We don’t mean to call out L’Ardente, which we also think is doing great work in all other aspects, and we have no doubt that they will sort things out But, the difference in other’s experience and Tom’s means that he missed advising diners of something key – namely that your meal may take more than 2 hours for three courses on a busy night. We tend to be patient with service glitches, especially at new places, but Tom is more scrutinizing, so his silence on the matter is notable and the rush to judgment likely impacting the result, though he did wait a full 24 days before posting the review after the restaurant opens, a week more than he waited in the case of Maiz 64. We should also note the old rule of wait one-month before reviewing new restaurants has been eroding for many years. To his editors we would suggest clearly identifying these under the old “First Bites” category rather than calling them a “review.”
In a long story, somehow not listed under the Food section or Climate and Environment, Washington Post’s Kasha Patel, Deputy Editor, Capital Weather Gang looks at the impact of climate change – especially irregular weather patterns – on local farmers: “At Potomac Vegetable Farms in Vienna, Va., lead farmer Hana Newcomb said a rain event in September — a concentrated four inches — washed away her newly planted spinach. In retrospect, she wouldn’t have planted the vegetable yet had she known the intensity of the rain to come.” It was an important and interesting story that got buried. If the Washington Post editors want some help, we are happy to provide it for a small fee. Or they can just keep reading us each week for free. Maybe we will start a category called Post Riposte?
Because of the intense tweeting habits of Eating Beagles, we discovered a story about a London food writer who almost managed to get a review done of a restaurant before they rolled over to be a bakery. It makes us fell a little better about missing things from time to time.
Is the beer bar dying in the face of brewery taprooms?
Finally, we provide a service to any who have been tempted by the Salt Bae phenomenon. This should solve that problem forever.
That is a lot of stuff this week! It is like life is returning to normal, but the problems linger. One problem we can help with: finding a great place to eat in D.C. Our dining guide has 300 plus recommended restaurants that you can sort by cuisine, neighborhood, and current operating status (dine-in and/or take-out, etc.) in either LIST or MAP format.
Stay safe. Be kind. Get the jab, bring proof and a mask. Tip big.