Week in Review – 2/23/20

Image: Sophia Loren in Arabesque (Stanley Donen, 1966) – via We Had Faces Then.

It was a busy week on our site and in D.C. dining news.  The Washingtonian Top 100 went online this past week, so stay tuned for our break down of the list.  In the meantime, here is the week that was:

Changes to the Recommended Restaurant List:


Maialino Mare – Danny Meyer’s first full service dining spot in D.C.  It does well by staying in its lane of well-prepared Italian classics with great service.  We think it is worth a walk out of the way.

Tonari – The Daikaya team took over the Graffiato spot, including the pizza oven.  The result is Japanese-style Italian that is knocking socks off (and if you eat upstairs you lose your shoes too). It is worth a walk over to 6th Street.


Ellē – No surprise here, we are big fans of this place like nearly everyone else.  The food is sharp, aided by a focus on fermentation.  The wine list is interesting (in a good way), and the setting is inviting.  They even wrote to say that they addressed the sound problem in the back dining room (and we updated the Review since posting).  We think it is worth paying for the cab to get to Mt. Pleasant.


It was a busy news week for the D.C. dining scene.  Let’s start with some good news.  One of our favorite sandwich spots, Sorellina, expanded into the neighboring space and added a bar area.

Garden District opened for the season.  WTF!

The Hakan Ilhan/Frank Ruta dispute has been resolved with apparently not a lot of bad blood.

The neighborhood pasta spot Napoli Pasta Bar gets a new chef.  We liked it on our first visit but have held off on adding it to the recommended list.  Now we will wait a little longer for Chef Andy Clark to settle in. He comes with serious Italian restaurant pedigree with stops at Fiola, Red Hen and San Lorenzo.

Laura Hayes continues to do entrepreneurial reporting, this week it is about black entrepreneurs who are opening restaurants on H Street.  Stories tend to focus on the net impact of gentrification, but the actual story is much more complex and fascinating.  And in these cases, hopeful.

Also in the WCP, Nevin Martell reports that a former minibar chef Josh Hermias is developing a limited seating restaurant that will pair food with music.  “The dishes and the compositions at Parsifal will be designed to play off each other to create an immersive dining experience.”  Many will mock, but we say give it a chance.  And we are happy D.C. is advanced enough that experiments like this get a chance. 

The more disturbing idea is combining alcohol with axe-throwing.  What could go wrong?

Eater also reports on what will be one of D.C.’s least essential restaurants:  a steakhouse at The Wharf, with a beverage program centered on Martinis.  It is everything we feared The Wharf would become.

Around the Internets:

Lori, at Been There Eaten That, finds Dram & Grain Magical.

Bright Young Things does a pretty long Ramen and Pho guide.

We didn’t realize that The Infatuation and Zagat’s had merged in 2018.  Infatuation is still looking for a D.C. writer.  If you are someone who can write authoritatively about fine dining, yet somehow exist on $50,000 a year, apply here. It doesn’t look like either site has published any new content since 2018, yet somehow shows up higher (first page!) in Google results for dining guides than us (Bitter? No, more disappointed than angry).  Zagat’s currently lists Himitsu as a great place for dining for two.  It also highly recommends Frank Ruta’s cooking at Mirabelle.


Thanks for reading to the bottom. Be sure to check out our dining guide!  There are over 250 recommended restaurants for the District.  It is updated every week.  You can sort by cuisine, neighborhood, and/or rating!  In both MAP or LIST format.

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