Image: Edward S. Curtis (1868 – 1952). At the Old Well – Acoma (1904). Photogravure.
This week was a big week in news, and we added a couple casual places to the list of recommended restaurants for Washington, D.C. The temperature dropped, beets started showing up on menus with greater frequency and red wine looked a lot more attractive. Read on for more on the week that was on our site and in the world of D.C. dining.
Changes to the Recommended Restaurant List:
Bombay Street Food – There are two locations of this casual Indian restaurant that is doing some very serious work in the kitchen.
Piccolina da Centrolina – This is the all-day cafe/caffe spin-off of Amy Brandwein’s excellent Centrolina. They do pastries and eggs for breakfast, sandwiches and salads for later in the day. As you would expect, it is very good.
Esquire’s Best New Restaurants in America came out. (Warning – the page is so laden with graphics and ads that it nearly impossible to load). Seven Reasons snagged the top spot. But it didn’t stop there. Kith/Kin and Green Almond Pantry also made the list of 22. And Alewife in Richmond got a nod too. Chelsea Gregoire of Baltimore’s True Chesapeake Oyster Coin Baltimore was given a hat tip for her beverage program. I started this site to celebrate the dining renaissance in D.C. It is heartwarming that the creativity and skill continues to blossom and that it continues to be recognized at a national level. It should also be noted that there is a hidden hand of local critics in the selections. Seven Reasons was Tom’s #1 in the Fall Dining Guide. Tim Carman, also of the Post, heaped praise on Green Almond Pantry. And while Kith/Kin has not gotten quite that level of praise from local critics, Chef Kwame Onwuachi had one of the great years in P.R. for a chef. I don’t think it is a coincidence that Esquire matched the laurels bestowed on these three by local voices.
For those of us trying to keep up with the pace of new restaurant openings, there is a cresting wave. Jack Rose’s spin-off The Imperial wrapped up its soft opening and moved to open for reals status this week. Hakan Ilhan’s Brasserie Liberté opened yesterday in Georgetown (Ilhan’s first attempt at a shiny brasserie, Bistro L’Hommage, was sadly underrated and overlooked). Thirsty Crow, the more casual half of the Malaysian spot taking over the old Meridian Pint location opened and its more formal half, Makan, is due to open soon. Immigrant Food, the fast-casual spot from Seven Reasons’ chef Enrique Limardo opened downtown. Long-anticipated Oyster Oyster, from former Hazel chef Rob Rubba and the Estadio team, is getting previewed though actual opening is not due ’til 2020 now. Reveler’s Hour from the Tail Up Goat team is also expected to open in the next couple months.
Rick Eats DC did an admirable job to round up some first impressions of many of the recent openings. His post covers Emilie’s, Punjab Grill, Stellina Pizzeria, Anju, Modena, The Pembroke, and Republic Cantina. He gives the thumbs up with varying degrees of enthusiasm to all of them with a surprising deviation from the herd on one.
Tierney Plumb at Eater DC flagged the recent closing of Dyllan’s Raw Bar Grill in Georgetown, (unlisted by us) and threw some subtle shade noting that, “Georgetown is in the middle of a supposed dining renaissance.”
A few months back we checked in on Brothers & Sisters and thought that it was good, but had lost its early edge. Now there is news that gives us hope. Sam Adkins, recently of Sally’s Middle Name, has taken over the kitchen. We look forward to dropping in soon.
It is certainly a challenging and fun time for those of us who love the local food scene. Not everyone can stay on top of it, which is why we provide our service of a dining guide with only recommended restaurants.