Image: Mojito at Little Havana (El Presidente in background)
Below we recap the week that was at 17° Cork by Northwest.
Two places were added to Recommended List:
Little Havana – Alfredo Solis, the guy behind El Sol and Mezcalero, opened this fun, bright Cuban spot last year. It is a great neighborhood spot, but is also worth making a trip to sample the excellent food and potent drinks.
Shawarma District – This is also the product of someone from the local scene, Albert Sissi, who cooked at Zaytinya and used to have a spot on H Street. Bowls or pita of fresh ingredients make the case for walking out of your way to eat there.
We updated our initial take on Officina based on a second visit. The hopping (sometimes frustratingly loud) spot is serving excellent food but also facing the stress of servicing a huge space while remaining special.
We are building out our list of great neighborhood wine shops. This week we talked about MacArthur Beverages. The shop we think is the best in the District.
There were a number of notable closures of restaurants in the area, including Drafting Table, and Ray’s the Steaks (confession: it took me way too long to get that pun). SEI also looks to be on the ropes.
It turns out restaurant critics are sensitive souls. Hannah Goldfield of the New Yorker complained that someone who asked for recommendations from her, never thank her for them. This prompted several other critics, including those in DC, to echo the frustration. It seems that many critics are too nice not to blow off the request, or even do it half-assed. But when the recs are ignored or the person does not report back afterwards, they are hurt. As for me, I will generally spend a few minutes if people ask. This website came from the list of recommended places I developed for friends. Now, I solve the problem of people asking mostly by saying, “you know there is a website for that question!”
Finally, we close on sad news. This week we said farewell to a legend of the culinary world with the passing of Leah Chase, the Queen of Creole cuisine in New Orleans. The more we discuss words like authentic, the more I think it is about the person and not the food on the plate. Something that I think Anthony Bourdain was getting at, who we lost a year ago.