Image: Vegetable Fritters from Thamee, a restaurant we added to our recommended list this week.
The biggest thing to happen on the site this week was we posted the first two parts of our Washingtonian Top 100 deep dive. Part One is where we, Washingtonian, and Tom Sietsema all agree. Part Two is where Tom is the outlier from the critical consensus (and after calling him out as a tough grader he dropped two surprising 3 star reviews in a row). This coming week will be Parts Three and Four. We did a similar analysis last year. For our purposes it is a quality control to see where we are in terms of ratings and staying on top of places. We are pleased that there were only two places we had not tried (with Thamee and Call Your Mother just making it under the wire). We also feel good about the places that we rate higher or lower. Mostly, we also hope it drives traffic to the site, which it did. Interestingly, we lost a net Instagram followers, but picked up on Twitter and Facebook.
For the rest of the week in review, read on to see the places we added to our dining guide and lots of news, some somber, some sobering, and some silly.
Updates To The Recommended Restaurant List:
Pom Pom – Unfair comparisons by critics seemed to divert attention from this place. Take advantage of critical myopia and grab a seat. We think it is worth making the trip to Petworth.
Thamee – D.C.’s only Burmese restaurant is getting a lot of attention. We agree that it is pretty good.
Call Your Mother – The great bagel spot in Petworth. We added it to the list, write-up coming this week.
We must start with sad news. The legendary Barbara Elaine “B.” Smith passed away this week at the age of 70. The model turned businesswoman opened a branch of her restaurant empire in Union Station in 1994 and it immediately became a focus of D.C. life. It is an extraordinary life worth celebrating.
We move from the somber to the sober. Derek Brown, the driving force of much of the cocktail scene in the District, including Columbia Room took a very hard look at his relationship with alcohol in a piece he wrote for Vox. He does not swear it off, but he does write about the need to keep it in its proper place: “Ask yourself: Why do I drink? And if the answer is because you need to drink, then I hope this helps save you some anguish.” Related to Brown’s thoughts, Sabrina Medora of Un-Plated hosted a zero-proof event at Coconut Club to highlight the issue in the food industry and raise money for Ben’s Friends, a charity that support those in the industry seeking sobriety.
The Nightlife czar of DC came out with a report of top concerns of the industry. Two of the top five, three out of the top six, and four out of the top nine concerns directly or indirectly have to do with employee compensation. Here are the top 9: Rent affordability; Employee parking; Customer acquisition and retainment; Navigating the regulatory process; Employee transportation to and from work; Attracting employees; Rodents; Crime; Retaining employees. It is almost like they do not want to directly say the one thing that will help on employee transportation costs, employee recruitment and employee retention: increasing employee compensation. If you want a professional team, then you need to pay them professional wages.
A week after highlighting the unwise idea of combining alcohol and axe-throwing, we highlight a different risky idea. Rosa Mexicano is doing bottomless margarita brunches. A different kind of hurling we suppose.
We continue to have fun picking on Zagat’s, which is riding on its prominent name in DC, despite not having updated the site since 2018. This week we highlight an entry for Momofuku CCDC in which the menu is described as: “offering hits from his Momofuku Noodle Bar concept in NYC – e.g. pork buns and ramen with pork belly, pork shoulder and a poached egg – plus local touches like Old Bay pork rinds, seasonal dishes and large-format fried chicken or pork bo ssäm group feasts.” Not only is this no longer the menu, the chef who blew it up has already come and gone. Zagat’s is clearly not the 1st, 2nd, or 4th best dining guide for D.C.
Finally, we end with the absurd case of gone garbanzos. A shipment of three tons of chickpeas intended for Little Sesame went missing. UPS last tracked them in Landover. Little Sesame owner “Wiseman says the reward is a year of free hummus.” For the time being, all shipments of tahini are subject to extra security to protect it from pirate hummus manufacturing. (We are kidding about the tahini, but not the chickpeas).
Around the Internets
As a service to fill the gap left by EaterDC, we flag other stories and reviews from sites covering D.C. dining:
Inside Hook – Why global is the new fusion.
Brightest Young Things – What Maialino Mare gets right
That’s it. With the last two installments of our Washingtonian Top 100 breakdown planned, next week should be busy too. So follow us on social media to make sure you get the updates. We are on FB, Insta, and Twitter. Or click on the icons at the top or bottom of this page.
And if you haven’t figured it out by now, our site is a dining guide for Washington, D.C. We have over 250 recommended restaurants. It is updated every week. You can sort by cuisine, neighborhood, and/or rating! In both MAP or LIST format. Please poke around.