Image: Florence Henri, Portrait of Lore Krüger (1937) via Haunted by Storytelling
This week on the site there was a noticeable drop in traffic across all platforms. August recess really does affect all of D.C. We might have to mix up the postings for the next couple weeks until the start of school pulls people back from the shore. Here’s a recap of the week that was. There were no additions to the Recommended Restaurant List this week, though we brace for bidding good bye to Dino’s.
American Son – We upgraded our estimation of this bright hangout in the Eaton Hotel to “Worth Taking a Walk.” Chef Tim Ma’s creative cooking continues to shine. Though some service glitches remain and distract.
Pizzeria Paradiso – Ruth Gresser’s small empire of pizza and beer continues to impress. For those of us that remember the first, cute outpost as one of the original junior staffer date-night spots, it is gratifying and heart-warming to return when the restaurant and we have matured.
Ace Beverage – We continue to highlight great neighborhood wine shops in D.C. This week it is a workhorse of a place tucked away on New Mexico Ave.
Washington City Paper unintentionally posted two stories about different sides of how restaurants raise capital. Laura Hayes talked to women in the food business and found some lingering retrograde attitudes but mostly good news about their access to funding.
It was also revealed how much billionaire Stephen Ross backs some prominent restaurants. The revelation happened when news of a Ross-sponsored political fundraising event prompted calls to boycott businesses he backs. Those affected include &pizza, Bluestone Lane, Momofuku, and Milk Bar. David Chang and Christina Tosi issued statements distancing themselves from Ross’s politics. José Andrés also issued a statement. His new project in Manhattan is a the Ross-backed Hudson Yards development. While the first story highlights the struggles start-up entrepreneurs have to raise a few thousand dollars, once you get to Chang-level notice you get billionaire attention. Surprised there is not a twitter contest to decide what word goes before the ampersand in &pizza.
Tim Carman did an interesting interview with Wolfgang Puck, who is opening a new steakhouse in Georgetown, though it is au currant to claim that your steakhouse is not really a steakhouse. Michael Mina at Bourbon Steak is trying the same thing – sneaking enough non-steakhouse dishes onto the menu to maintain culinary credibility while still holding yourself out to the masses as a steakhouse by including the work Steak or CUT in your name, for example. That said, I grant Puck some slack because at least he gave us The Source first. In the interview, Puck notes the challenges of housing for young restaurant staff living on a budget in big cities like San Francisco and New York. That problem was highlighted in D.C. when Metro cut its hours and staff living at the end of the line in Maryland couldn’t get home after closing hours. Puck suggests housing may be part of the initial investment by high-end restaurants:
“I’m thinking about how can we actually help people and get them a place to live, especially somebody single and young and starting out. Part of the restaurant investment could also include housing. Buy a building somewhere with 10 apartments and then refurbish it, nothing luxurious. You could offer some people housing, especially workers in the kitchen. I think that would help a lot.”
In case you were wondering, we largely avoid steakhouses on our list, with a few exceptions like Bourbon Steak, Acqua al 2, and the delightful Bar Charley. So if you are looking for a non-steakhouse spot to dine check out our list where you can sort by neighborhood, cuisine, and rating. You can search in either LIST or MAP format.