Week in Review – 5/15/2022

Image: Bruce Davidson. London, 1960.

Walking down 14th Street last night, past a packed Barcelona and a long line waiting for Black Cat to open its doors, it gave all the appearances of before times life. But, dig a little and it is clear that the churn of the pandemic is cycling. For us it means we added a spot to our dining guide and one restaurant in the guide announced they would be closing. So read on for that and lots of interesting dining news from near and abroad.

Updates to the D.C. Recommended Restaurant List


Quattro Osteria – The three-sided spot in Shaw with three different dining areas is named after the four original partners, of which only three remain. It is also a surprisingly refined version of Italian where one might expect a red-sauce joint.


Maialino Mare – Making protestations that it was not Covid related, Maialino Mare will close the first week of June. The Thompson Hotel said it was related to a “pending transfer of the Thompson Washington DC hotel lease,” but it kinda looks like Danny Meyer is giving up and cutting his losses. The hotel will continue to operate. Add Meyer to the list of big names that came to town only to find D.C. is not that easy of a market to get traction in.

D.C. Dining News

Media: Ruth Tam, one half of the Dish City duo was selected as a Neiman Fellow at Harvard. We wish her the best and huge congratulations. According to the announcement: Ruth Tam, co-host of the podcast “Dish City” and a digital editor at WAMU in Washington, D.C., will study how personal identity shapes journalism and research the rise of first-person writing, personal branding and audience interest in the background of those who deliver the news.

In related news, Dish City is previewing its upcoming season.

Tonight’s Nomad episode on CNN has Carlton McCoy returning to his hometown of D.C.

Comings and Goings: The Old Ben Franklin Post Office building has been vacated by its former tenant. It will be a Waldorf-Astoria property. Curious how many D.C. people avoided Sushi Nakazawa who now will go.


Michelle Williams, writing in Forbes (which does a surprisingly good amount of wine coverage) talks to four sommeliers of color who are still finding it necessary to prove themselves while also looking to how to change things. “By prioritizing the customer over staff, the restaurant industry has lacked the space for transformational change. A willingness to look at itself, is the first step in creating this space.” One of those highlighted is Nadine Brown, a legend of the D.C. restaurant world.

Eric Asimov continues to dig into regenerative agriculture with the intriguing headline, “Are Sheep a Crucial Ingredient for Vineyards and Ecosystems?”

Other News

The Emerging Economy: Adam Reiner of Restaurant Manifesto fame, does a long-form piece for The Counter on how the big chains won Covid and argues it came at the expense of independent restaurants. The Senate is schedule to vote on replenishing restaurant relief funds next week. That it is not a slam dunk is because the bigs don’t feel the need to support it. Reading Reiner’s article, it is not hard to imagine that they may actually be rooting for it to fail because every small restaurant that dies is a market-share opportunity for Olive Garden. The National Restaurant Association has posted on twitter sparingly in the last few days in favor of it. Not exactly going to the mattresses.

Uber CEO says that the goal is to now bring back ridership after it rode the delivery business hard during the pandemic and do some belt-tightening. But he also has a dreamy-eyed vision of recreating the food shopping experience without any Uber-owned infrastructure: “We believe that we’re able to get essentially 100 percent of the experiential benefits of fast grocery through partnership and avoid the kind of capital investments that you have to make in terms of leases, opening up a bunch of stores all over cities, in addition, frankly, to the defocusing of the team.”

A Mexican restaurant in Dallas with the inventive name The Mexican has a $250 margarita named after Pancho Villa. But naming a drink after a tee-totaling revolutionary is the lesser evil at the spot according to José R. Ralat, “Without the finest possible tortillas, no one can cook the finest Mexican cuisine.”

Local Traditions: One of the great food moments in life is finding yourself behind a large truck loaded to the edges with garlic while driving through the city of Gilroy, Ca. Sadly it looks like the legendary garlic festival in the garlic capital of the world may be no more.

Legends: “At 89, Mrs. Meggett is considered by many to be the most important Gullah Geechee cook alive.” Kim Severson profiles her in the Times as her cookbook comes out.

The Fading Old Guard: Batali was found not guilty of indecent assault and battery. While Batali acknowledged that many of the accusations were essentially true, his lawyer argued this accusation was not. Previously, Batali and his former business settled with the New York attorney general for $600,000 allegations that Batali and other staff sexually harassed employees. While this means he avoids criminal conviction, it does nothing to redeem his reputation.


Speaking of fading, many D.C. food blogs have been hit by the rise of Covid and Instagram. So we appreciate Feedspot posting a Top 20 list (though they only actually list 17 – like we said hard times for the blogs) and including us at #7 among some other respected voices like DonRockwell.com, WhatMickeyEats, RickEatsDC, FeedtheMalik (though Anela moved to Arkansas), and just behind Lori Gardner of BeenThereEatenThat. As we always say, support what you want to see survive, so now is a good time to show those who still keep pounding out on WordPress some love with money or just a follow.

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