Image: Marcello Mastroianni in La Dolce Vita. Federico Fellini (1960) via We Had Faces Then.
This week in review actually covers two weeks because we were traveling last weekend. As noted below, this is also the week we passed the one-year mark. In that time, we have posted 200+ times on the site, amounting to 90,000 words. We’ve had 3500 visitors, 8000+ views, from more than 50 different countries (thank you to whoever is the consistent reader in Germany, Ireland and Spain!). We checked out 80 places for the first time, added about 60 of them to the recommended restaurant list and reviewed another 50 (and, sadly, a couple dozen places closed that we had to take off the list). Thank you to all who have supported us – or even given us a look. Now on to the updates and news:
Updates to Recommended Restaurant List:
Maxwell Park – We have been fans of Maxwell Park for awhile, but waited for the food options to settle down before putting it in the dining guide. Then we realized that we forgot to actually add it. Last week we finally added it.
Dolan Uyghur – The food is hearty and warming, with a cuisine that draws influences from Beirut to Beijing. Perfect for this time of year. Keep in mind it is a scrappy neighborhood spot, so you may need to cut them some slack on service glitches.
On Friday, this site reached the one-year mark. Thank you to all who have supported it. We were inching past 300 followers on Instagram, then Maxwell Park highlighted us on its Insta for our review post. Thanks to that we are now over 350. Coincidentally, we got a Insta like for one of our posts from The Mayor!
Washingtonian named Anju the #1 restaurant on its annual list. This is a break from tradition by naming a more casual spot. Recent #1’s have been places like Komi, minibar, Inn at Little Washington, and Pineapple & Pearls. One of the few times they broke from tasting menu places was for Fiola Mare. Once the full list is online, we will do a deeper dive, though probably not as extensive as last year. In the meantime, congratulations to Anju.
Sietsema, in the Post, reviewed Fiola. There were two notable things about it. First, Fiola is going to be overhauled in the next few months, so it seems odd that you would review a place when that review has a short shelf life. The second thing may make sense of the first. I couldn’t help but think Tom is giving input on the reboot. He has downgraded Fiola from 3.5 stars to its current 3.0. Tom wants something lighter in the future. That might conflict with Fabio’s clear intention to get two stars from Michelin. The review also sighs that freebies keep coming from the kitchen, without noting that such generosity was probably because he is known to the staff and, as he noted, Fabio is not known for restraint.
One other thing related to Tom’s review that is vexing for us. For years, Eater has done a roundup of critics and blog postings called the Week in Reviews. In the past year or so (right when we needed them to link to us a couple times!) they have cut back on both the number of roundups and what they include. This week’s roundup was of the Sietsema Fiola review. Considering the readers of Eater are almost all contained in the bigger Venn diagram circle of Sietsema readers it was redundant. This may be staffing issues at Eater, or the fact that blog and blog-like platforms were crushed by Instagram quick hits. That would seem to make the case for highlighting the work more. Thank you for reading to the end of this whine about how Eater does not link to us.
In case you were wondering what is going on with other reviews:
- Lori at Been There Eaten That did her own roundup of MoCo places that Snap, Crackle or Pop.
- Rick Eats DC did a list of the best places to get Matzo Ball soup.
- Tim Carman in the Post did a list of his favorite pizza slices in D.C. and declared that D.C. is a great pizza town now. That set off a twitter debate, including a massive multi-region/bracket poll by David Chang – who defended D.C.’s status. Hungry Lobbyist lobbied for New Haven.
- BYT’s Priya Konigs declared she is a fan of Brasserie Liberte.
- The Infatuation is looking for its first full time staff writer to cover D.C. You should be someone who knows the D.C. food scene, has a substantial list of favorite restaurants but can live off of $40k. Clearly it is not a threat any time soon to our status as D.C.’s 3rd best dining guide.
Ambar is closed for renovations. It is adding space and outdoor seating. Reopening in time for spring.
Baan Thai’s next space is in the old Alba spot and will be called Baan Siam.
The old Vinoteca spot is coming back as a wine bar – but it sounds more like a bar than a bar with restaurant aspirations like it first incarnation.
If you’ve read this far, check out our dining guide. There are more than 200 recommended restaurants listed. You can sort by cuisine, neighborhood, and/or rating! In both MAP or LIST format. It is one year old, but five years in the making!