Image: Jeanne Moreau, Paris, 1949.
This week the sun came out literally and figuratively. Starting on Friday, D.C. restaurants were able to go to 100% capacity. Not all chose to do so right out of the gate for various reasons. Nevertheless, the idea that places under siege for the last year could start to think about the future was heartwarming to those of us who love the industry warts and all. We also picked up the pace on our website this week, so let’s get to the recap.
Updates to the Recommended Restaurant List
Melange – Word quickly spread when this place opened up that it was a cut above the other “burger joints.” We finally got to try it and agree. If you are looking for a spot not too far from the Mall, this place is worth the walk.
Los Hermanos – This storefront in Columbia Heights has been serving up well-respected Dominican favorites for awhile and we finally added it to our dining guide.
Closed for Good:
Mirabelle – This was the last place we dined before shutdown. Now the throwback decor and the avant garde cooking is being shelved with an Italian theme coming.
There is a crush of new openings as restaurants in the pipeline that could hold on until the relaxing of rules finally emerge like cicadas patiently waiting for the spring. We are not generally ones to pick on a restaurant, but one place that did seem odd was the opening of the seafood hall Truluck’s. Part of a Houston-based chain it takes over a space just off the beaten track on the north side of Chinatown. 10,000 sq. feet, 400 seats, two stories and a “stone crab” lounge all sounds like an anachronism and the ghost of Dyllan’s finding a new home. Nonetheless, we wish them well.
While the relaxed new rules are a sign of hope, there are still places that did not make it or might not make it. Postponed rent and other bills could be a millstone that drags down places over the next year or so as they realize that even at capacity they can’t get back what was lost. The rules of last year still apply: if you care about a place and want to be able to visit it in a year, then go now.
There is some confusion about how much to tip now that things are getting back to normal. There is a simple rule: Tip 20% even on booze or take-out and for the foreseeable future throw on a couple more bucks on top of that.
As always, be patient and respectful with staff as things pick up and tip big. If you are looking for restaurant ideas in D.C., then give our dining guide a perusal. We have 300 recommended restaurants in our guide. You can sort by cuisine, neighborhood, and current operating status (dine-in and/or take-out, etc.) in either LIST or MAP format.