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2013 DC FOOD ROUND-UP – BY THE PROS
December 19, 2013 | 9:00AM

2013 tasted good. We ate amazing food, drank amazing cocktails and dined in amazing spaces. But what about the other food writers? How was their year? Based on the following responses, 2013 tasted good for everyone else.

We asked some of our favorite food writers what they enjoyed putting in their mouth. It seems like everyone loved Red Hen, everyone is weary of cronuts and no one would complain for some simple, quality basic dishes.

 

Jessica Sidman – Food Editor of Washington City Paper

Screen Shot 2013-12-18 at 10.10.47 PMThe best food trend of 2013/The worst?

The best: D.C. beer continues to get more legit with new additions like Bluejacket, Right Proper, and Atlas Brew Works.

The worst: Restaurants with long waits that don’t call or text you when your table is ready. Calling things hand-crafted that couldn’t be made any other way. “Share plates” that aren’t actually conducive to sharing—like soup. Who wants to share soup?

The best DC restaurant opening(s) in 2013?

The Red Hen, Daikaya, Rose’s Luxury, Barmini

The one that didn’t quite live up?

Azur… and it closed.

The best dish you ate in 2013?

The one dish I can’t stop ordering is the rigatoni with fennel sausage ragu from The Red Hen. It’s nothing fancy, but it’s made perfectly. Other best dishes: okonomiyaki-style pork and Brussels sprout skewers at Daikaya, foieffle at Barmini, the pork lychee dish at Rose’s Luxury, lambs and clams at Rappahannock Oyster Bar, crispy rice salad at Bangkok Golden, and many others that I can’t think of right now.

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The one you wish you hadn’t?

The first time I ate at Diego, I had an off-color guacamole that looked liked it had been scooped out of a prepackaged tub, and it was served with these greasy wonton triangles instead of tortilla chips. My entree—chicken and shrimp with a tomatillo sauce—came with a perplexing (and bland) garnish of steamed baby carrots and broccoli. Fortunately, the owner closed the restaurant and reopened it with a new chef, and it was much, much better. But that chef has since left, and I haven’t been back.

What opening are you most looking forward to in 2014?

The Penn Quarter Red Apron and adjoining restaurant Parts & Labor.

What food trend do you wish for DC in 2014?

More good food, good value places like Duke’s Grocery on 17th Street and Donburi in Adams Morgan.

What do you hope stays away?

No more reclaimed wood decor.

Favorite Chef? Favorite Restaurant? Favorite Bar?

Aaron Silverman of Rose’s Luxury. The Red Hen. Barmini.

Favorite food blog, web site or column?

Um, Young & Hungry? I’m a fan of Eater, anything Todd Kliman writes, and NPR’s food blog The Salt. But really gotta give props to all my local food writing colleagues—they work hard.

Anna Spiegel – Washingtonian

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The best food trend on 2013/The worst?

The best: more neighborhood restaurants serving destination-worthy food.

The worst: edible “dirts” and “soils.” I think of earthworms every time I see them on the menu.

The one you wish you hadn’t?

The worst was probably a flatbread (i.e. cracker) topped with olive-oil soaked raw oysters at Teddy and the Bully Bar. To be fair, it was during week one or two. But it was all wrong, texture and flavor-wise.

What opening are you most looking forward to in 2014?

It’s not the one-and-only, but I’m pretty excited to see Maketto in action. The more mixed-use restaurant-market mashups, the better.

What food trend do you wish for DC in 2014?

A trend I’d like to see more of is ambitious restaurants run by young chefs at a moderate price point. I don’t mean avant-garde ambitious with spheres and foams everywhere. I’m thinking of places that are reaching well beyond the average when it comes to cuisine and service, even if the food is fairly simple.

What do you hope stays away?

Can cultish foods like Cronuts stay away? DC has bad enough traffic on the streets, god forbid sidewalks become clogged with sheeple clamoring for the next “it” food.

Favorite Bar?

I’m a gin martini and Manhattan fan. For the former, Rappahannock Oyster Bar in Union Market. For the latter, Jeff Faile still makes some of the best in the city (currently at Iron Gate). For an all-purpose neighborhood bar with a great happy hour and friendly vibe, Vinoteca is my go-to (especially during warmer months).

Nevin Martell

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The best food trend on 2013?

It’s nice to see macarons finally getting a place at the table, most notably at Olivia Macaron in Georgetown and DC Patisserie out of Union Kitchen.

The worst?

Bad pickling programs, because there are few things more disappointing than a soft bread and butter pickle or a flavorless pickled onion.

The most anticipated or best DC restaurant opening in 2013?

Rose’s Luxury had my heart from the first bite onwards and I couldn’t wait to come back before I’d even finished the meal.

The one that didn’t quite live up?

I found myself more charmed by the space and the wine list at Iron Gate than I was by the food.

The best dish you ate in 2013?

This is a tough toss-up between the buttered popcorn lobster soup or the brisket at Rose’s Luxury, the hamachi crudo and the truffled burger at Food Wine & Co., the roasted cauliflower sandwich at G, the entire asado menu at Del Campo or the foie pate at Le Diplomate.

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The one you wish you hadn’t?

I wish I’d steered clear of the string-wrapped chocolate “sausage” at Etto. It looked and tasted like…well…let’s keep this kid-friendly…poo.

Best food event of 2013?

Thanksgiving dinner at my house with family and friends. No glad-handing or baby kissing required. Just great company and great food.

What opening are you most looking forward to in 2014?

It’s a tie between Daniel Boulud’s DBGB Bar & Kitchen and Fiola Mare.

What food trend do you wish for DC in 2014?

Cheaper cocktails.

What do you hope stays away?

National chefs just looking to make a quick buck without really investing the time and effort required to create a memorable restaurant experience.

Favorite Chef?

It’s a cage match between Del Campo’s Victor Albisu, Bryan Voltaggio, and pastry chef Jason Gerhring (now of Table and Menu, formerly of Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken).

Favorite Restaurant?

Rose’s Luxury.

Favorite Bar?

Bar Charley. It’s all about The Stepdad.

Favorite food blog, web site or column

@NoWayJoseAndres

Dan SilvermanPrince of Petworth

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The best food trend on 2013? The worst?

Best food trend is obviously fried chicken and donuts. I have to admit I literally started drooling as soon as I typed fried chicken. Though I also wasn’t disappointed with all the new oyster options around town.

The most anticipated or best DC restaurant opening in 2013

Le Diplomate – I had huge hopes after visiting Parc in Philly – and Le Diplomate didn’t disappoint. And quick runner ups are beer related – the Bluejacket Brewery in Navy Yard and Right Proper Brewery in Shaw also both turned out awesome.

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The best dish you ate in 2013?

The seafood platter at Le Diplomate. It had every type of delicious crustacean you could imagine.

What opening are you most looking forward to in 2014?

The district seems pretty divided but count me among those psyched for the grilled cheese wine bar, GCDC, coming to Penn Ave near the White House. In other cheese related excitement I’m looking forward to the Sona Creamery and Wine bar opening near Eastern Market. And in the non-cheese related world I’m looking forward to Hilltop opening up on Sherman Avenue.

What food trend do you wish for DC in 2014?

I’m hopeful grilled cheese wine bars catch on and one will open a bit closer to where I live.

Favorite Chef? Favorite Restaurant? Favorite Bar?

For restaurants I’ll just name a few of my other favorite spots that opened up this year – this was a very good year – Barcelona, Rose’s Luxury, and Red Hen. For bar – I love the way Showtime and the very recent All Souls turned out. As for restaurants that have been around – I’m gonna go with the less fancy ones – Pho Viet on upper 14th Street has the best Pho in town and I gotta give a little love to the Greek Spot who makes a mean gyro and who’s owner has been ill. As for bars that have been open my favorites are, depending what neighborhood I’m in – Looking Glass Lounge, Solly’s, The Pug and Boundary Stone.

Favorite food blog, web site or column?

My favorite food people are Johnna Rowe of Johnna Knows Good Food and Mary Kong-De Vito of Girl Meets Food.

Missy Frederick – EATER

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Best food trends?

Probably the evolution of Asian dining options in the city (as well as the evolution of Shaw, restaurant-wise).

Worst food trends?

I’m not into the heart-attack stunt foods that kept popping up in DC and beyond (burgers with donut buns, ramen burgers, etc.). I also find the fast-casual pizza trend kind of puzzling – I think the ones that have opened here are fine, but couldn’t we just see some more solid pizza by the slice places like Wiseguys?

Most Anticipated Opening? Most Disappointing Opening?

In terms of hype and excitement, clearly Rose’s Luxury (which, gasp, I haven’t been to yet). My personal favorite debuts included Red Hen, Doi Moi, Le Diplomate, Barmini and Daikaya. In terms of ones that didn’t quite live up, I would like to see more consistency from B Too, more seasoning from Casa Luca and lower prices from Table (though to be fair, I haven’t been there recently).

Best dish?

Probably the foie gras mousse at Le Diplomate. Though I certainly was happy eating Cashion’s roast goat, vegetarian ramen at Daikaya (add pork and egg), Mintwood Place’s burger, daal at Rasika/Bombay Club, tripe tacos at Taco Bamba, wings at Water & Wall. and fried pickles anywhere (though slices over spears, please).

Worst dish?

I can’t think of a specific terrible dish, but overly bread-y/fancy hamburger buns were definitely a general annoyance.

Food event of 2013?

I had a great time at Chefs for Equality this year. The Bluejacket soft opening was also a lot of fun. Trummer’s Oktoberfest pop-up was festive. I’m sure I’m forgetting something obvious.

2014 restaurants you’re anticipating?

China Chilcano, Maketto and Roofers Union are up there. I’m looking forward to STK for comedic purposes.

Wishes for 2014?

I’d like to see the general bar for sushi in the city raised, more ambitious Maryland restaurants (this is starting to happen with Republic, Urban Butcher, etc.).

What do you hope stays away?

I’m wary of an absentee chef invasion continuing even more than it already has, particularly at developments such as CityCenter.

Favorite chefs/restaurants/bars?

Splurge places: Blue Duck Tavern, The Ashby Inn (though I haven’t been since Tarver King left). For consistency: Boqueria, Cork, Mintwood Place, 2941, Ripple. My neighborhood go-tos were Pizzeria Orso and Maneki Neko in Falls Church (my husband and also finally tried Bonchon and loved it). Favorite bars: Spacebar, Room 11. And I just loved Daikaya in general – the ramen, the small plates, the vibe, the Japanese whiskey. Probably drank too much of that last category in 2013.

Favorite Food Blog/Site/Column?

I really enjoy reading all my colleagues. David Hagedorn for narrative cooking pieces, Jess Voelker for hilarious “Top Chef” recaps (will miss those), Amy McKeever’s long-form stuff on Eater’s National site, PoPville for the comment section craziness, Young & Hungry for breaking news, etc.

Alejandra Owens

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Best Food Trend?

Octopus. By all accounts the 8 legged creatures are taking over our plates!

Worst Food Trend?

14th Street as de facto restaurant location. I’m spending less and less time on 14th street and more time in Adams Morgan, Bloomingdale, Shaw and, hell, even Dupont lately.

Most Anticipated Opening?

Doi Moi.

Most Disappointing Opening?

Doi Moi. Proof and Estadio are consistently amazing so I figured Doi Moi would be promising out the gate. It’s not that the food isn’t good, it just falls a bit flat for me.

Best Dish?

Maccheroni Alla Molinara at Bibiana. It’s the most simple pasta dish but addictive! Chef Nick Stefanelli also makes a killer pasta carbonara if you ever get a chance to try it.

Worst Dish?

Thankfully, I didn’t eat anything disgusting this year. I am still recovering from some truly horrific gnocchi in 2012 though.

Opening you’re looking forward to in 2014?

Seven Faces Barroom from bartenders Patrick Owens, Owen Thomson, and Ashley May. Because, booze.

DC Food Trend Wish?

I would love it if DC finally got some great Mexican food.

Food Trend That Should Stay Away?

Cronuts.

Favorite Chef?

This one is rough, but I have to say Chef William Morris of Vermillion and Chef Anthony Lombardo of 1789 are just killing it. I’ve never had a bad meal under their watch.

Favorite Restaurant?

Red Hen. When my group and I are rallying for dinner or just a glass of wine, we’ve landed at the Red Hen bar more often than not. Simple, delicious food, amazing wine, great service and comfortable ambiance for all occasions – DC is lucky to have Red Hen.

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Favorite Bar?

Any bar Jeff Faile runs or makes cocktails for. Preferably, a bar he is actually behind while I’m there.
Bonus: Justin Abad at Cashion’s Eat Place can choose and pair wine with food like no one else. Cashion’s is one of the few restaurants I encourage people to do the tasting menu with wine pairings.

Favorite Food Blog/Site/Column?

Open Kitchen by Chef Tiffany MacIsaac and her twitter feed. She shares such cool tips and delicious recipes – you just don’t get that kind of information from most chefs.

Jenna GoldenEatMore DrinkMore

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Photo By Sarah Gerrity

The best food trend in 2013/The worst?

Best trend: rise of the accessible Italian restaurant. In the past year we have seen the Italian restaurant scene diversify, and grow quickly. Some of the new spots that joined us in 2013 include Ghibellina, Etto, Red Hen, Casa Luca, Osteria Morini, Arcuri, Rialto, MCafe Bar, and Vendetta. There can never be enough Italian in my book.

Worst trend: No reservations. It seems like a lot of new restaurants are doing away with booking systems. It won’t stop me from going, but it makes it hard to plan.

The most anticipated or best DC restaurant opening in 2013? The one that didn’t quite live up?

There were so many great openings this year, but I think the best opening was Red Hen in Bloomingdale. I would say Baby Wale was a big disappointment for me. I love everything about Corduroy, but I found the menu at Baby Wale to be disjointed and a bit off.

The best dish you ate in 2013?

Best dish in 2013 was the roasted goat at Komi. Served with hot pita, tzatziki and other Mediterranean treats, this dish takes the cake.

Best food event of 2013?

Chefs for Equality. It was hosted in the beautiful ballroom at the Ritz Carlton, and the top chefs and mixologists in town come together to support the Human Rights Campaign and equality for everyone. It was a top notch event.

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What opening are you most looking forward to in 2014?

I am pretty psyched about Daniel Boulud’s DBGB which is coming to City Center.

What you wish for DC in 2014 food trend wise?/ What you hope stays away?

I’d love to see more food markets arrive in town. Union Market has really put the open market concept on the map in DC, and there were talks of an Eataly joining us as well. Also, Frederik De Pue is converting what used to be Azur into a multi-level concept which will include a food market on the first floor. I think this is a great trend for this town.

What trend do I hope stays away?

Raw foods. They just don’t taste good– unless it’s sushi of course.

Favorite Chef? Favorite Restaurant? Favorite Bar?

Favorite chef: Fabio Trabocchi.

Favorite Restaurant: Blue Duck Tavern or Fiola for a special occasion. Posto on 14th Street for my neighborhood go-to.

Favorite Bar: I love the lounge at Bourbon Steak in the Four Seasons.

Favorite food blog?

Washington City Paper’s Young and Hungry column.

Malaka Gharib – The Runcible Spoon

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The best food trend on 2013/The worst?

I’m a sucker for DC’s donut trend. Astro‘s creme brulee doughnut is really killer – eat half and you’re KO’d for the day. The worst trend is the one that won’t die: small plates. They’re expensive, overly decadent (why get a $14 small plate salad?!), and just too fancy for me. DC is full of them!

The most anticipated or best DC restaurant opening in 2013/The one that didn’t quite live up?

For months, I was eagerly looking forward to Le Diplomate. It just felt so different from what was happening on 14th Street. On opening day, I waited three hours for a table, and was met with an exceptional meal and exceptional service. But my love affair ended there. I tried eating there a few more times, but the bread wasn’t as chewy, the service wasn’t as great (I walked out during an anniversary dinner – won’t get into details), and I could never get over Mark Furstenburg’s comparison of Le Diplomate to Disney World.

What opening are you most looking forward to in 2014?

As a Filipina, I’m excited for the new Filipino restaurant – brought to you by one of the owners of Room 11 – opening in Columbia Heights. Filipino food hasn’t caught on as quickly as Thai or Vietnamese, but perhaps next year can be its big moment. It’s starting to make some headway in LA’s food truck scene and NYC’s upscale restaurants.

Favorite food blog, web site or column?

I never miss a post on Washington City Paper’s Young & Hungry blog – that’s where I get all my DC food news. For fun I love watching ridiculous Asian cooking videos on YouTube, like RunnyRunny99 and Cooking With Dog. Now THAT’s food education!

Warren Rojas – CQ Roll Call

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The worst food trend on 2013?

Having everyone and their mother race to snatch up any available space along 14th Street NW virtually requires one to carom from spot-to-spot for random grazing.

The most anticipated or best DC restaurant opening in 2013/The one that didn’t quite live up?

I was very impressed by both Ambar and Rose’s Luxury. And while I love the brewery side of the equation, I’ve yet to be bowled over by anything from The Arsenal kitchen.

The best dish you ate in 2013?/ The one you wish you hadn’t?

Best would have to be a tie between the heavenly Chilean sea bass moistened with basil-soy butter at Juvia in Miami and the sea salt-spiked, maple syrup-drenched spud choreographed by Chez Les Commis toque Tom Madrecki. The disappointments are almost too painful to revisit, but I do recall being particularly disenchanted with a lackluster marriage of “fried chicken and noodles” (dull bird, flavorless pasta) from Johnny’s Take Out.

Best food event of 2013?

The ongoing march of local breweries/distilleries.

What opening are you most looking forward to in 2014?

Given that I’ve got chifa in my blood (thanks, mom!), I’m anxious to see what Jose Andres has in store for us at China Chilcano.

What you wish for DC in 2014 food trend wise?/ What you hope stays away?

More whisky joints, please. And stop with the cupcakes already.

Favorite bar?

Never get to hang at any one place long enough to become a regular. But I always feel right at home at Derek Brown’s rapidly expanding universe of watering holes.

Favorite food blog, web site or column?

Tim Carman’s autopsy of Vendetta had me rolling. (“My dining companion and I poked at it like roadkill.”)

Sam Hiersteiner

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The best food trend on 2013/The worst?

I’m very, very pleased with the growing popularity and availability of spicy, funky Isan-style cuisine from Thailand (e.g. Little Serow, Pok Pok, Somtum Der). I still hate bananas, does that count as a trend?

The most anticipated or best DC restaurant opening in 2013?

Damn, that’s a hard question. My favorite openings of 2013 have been Rose’s Luxury, Red Hen, Daikaya, Kapnos and Del Campo.

The best dish you ate in 2013?/ The one you wish you hadn’t?

My three favorite dishes of 2013 were the lamb charcuterie sampler I ate with Craig Rogers of Border Springs at Union Market, Daikaya’s veggie ramen bowl and the spit-roasted lamb with flatbread and lemon sauce at Kapnos. Daikaya Izakaya also wins for the one dish I wish I could give back: liver-cured octopus with cream cheese on a Ritz cracker.

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Best food event of 2013?

I’m going to shamelessly vote for my own event: the City Blossoms Fish Pepper Fundraiser at Dacha Beer Garden in Shaw. I had a blast slinging local hot sauce and cooking whole hog with Jeremiah Langhorne, Nick Wiseman of DGS Delicatessen and other friends. It was a wild, fun time overall.

What opening are you most looking forward to in 2014?

Jeremiah Langhorne’s restaurant in Shaw. Hopefully and hands down.

What food trend do you wish for DC in 2014? What do you hope stays away?

I’d love to see more small, independent, unpretentious, neighborhood-focused restaurants open. The folks at Red Hen and Rose’s Luxury are walking that walk pretty well. On the flipside, I hope that the DC scene doesn’t get so overheated that every successful restaurateur on earth just rushes to plop down a joint in whatever open space they can find.

Favorite Chef? Favorite Restaurant? Favorite Bar?

Chefs: Katsuya Fukushima, Aaron Silverman, Dan O’Brien, Marjorie Meek-Bradley.
Restaurant: Rose’s Luxury.
Bar: The Brown Bros compound on 7th Street.

Favorite food blog, web site or column?

The power duo of Tim Carman and Carrie Allan in the Washington Post. Also a big fan of Eliza Barclay on NPR’s The Salt blog.

Mary Kong-De Vito – Girl Meets Food

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The best food trend of 2013? The worst?

Fried chicken and doughnuts. Fried chicken and doughnuts.

What opening are you most looking forward to in 2014?

I’m really looking forward to when Bell, Book & Candle opens in Union Market. The one in New York is fantastic!

What food trend do you wish for DC in 2014?

I predict and hope (!) that Filipino food will be the new trend. I loves me some sisig.

Favorite Chef? Favorite Restaurant? Favorite Bar?

Victor Albisu can cook his ass off. Taco Bamba is the only reason to drive out to Falls Church, and Del Campo is so, so delicious. This year, I found myself at Hogo often, sipping rum and seeing who among my group would be the asshole who chokes on 151.

Favorite food blog, site or column?

Young & Hungry and Eater are my top go-to’s for all things food. Jessica Sidman isn’t afraid to get to the truth, ugly or not, and Eater knows everything that’s going down.

Laura Hayes – founder/editor of Best Thing on the Menu

Laura Hayes

The best food trend of 2013? The worst?

Best: Massive sandwiches. They’re perfect for football season, or any occasion when you’re ravenous or feel bad for yourself. New kids on the block like Duke’s Grocery, G, and Capriotti’s have expanded the options beyond Taylor Gourmet (still my favorite) and Fast Gourmet (still haven’t been).

Worst: Charcuterie. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good duck prosciutto piled high on a beautiful plank of wood. But when I go out to eat, I’d like for the talented team in the kitchen to do more than slice. My feelings change a bit when the sausages or cheeses are made in house, like at the soon to open Lupo Verde or recently opened Urban Butcher.

The most anticipated or best DC restaurant opening in 2013/The one that didn’t quite live up?

Most anticipated: DC was (and still is?) SUPER horny for Bluejacket. It was definitely the most anticipated opening of the year with such a dramatic space and impressive menu of debut brews.

Didn’t quite live up: Baby Wale. With a parent as decent as Corduroy, the letdown was quite surprising. I can’t speak to the food because a server never came to our table…but the menu isn’t as imaginative as it could to keep up these days.

The best dish you ate in 2013?/ The one you wish you hadn’t?

Best Dish: The Yamabuki Risotto at Zentan under their new chef Jennifer Nguyen. It’s stuffed with pungent uni, earthy shemeji mushrooms and gooey Parmesan. For $12 it can’t be beat.

Not So Best Dish: The Maketto tasting menu that debuted at their pop-up at Hanoi House. Sad sad night overall. Fingers crossed that the permanent version will be much better, especially since I love food from that very flavorful corner of the world.

Best food event of 2013?

Chef’s for Equality at the Ritz benefitting HRC. It was a who’s who of chefs and mixologists in a beautiful setting WITH TIM GUNN! I could be found slurping happy spoon after happy spoon at Pabu’s station.

What opening are you most looking forward to in 2014?

Menu – the three-in-one concept from Chef Frederik de Pue. It may open before 2014, but I’m just so stoked after trying their pop-up at Table. The full menu looks amazing, especially the black truffle eel entrée at Kitchen – the third floor fine dining area.

What you wish for DC in 2014 food trend wise? / What you hope stays away?

My wish: More menu labeling. Communicating with diners can be as easy as adding symbols to menus (i.e. vegetarian, GF, healthy option, etc.). I’m not saying I need chain restaurant calorie counter labeling. Just point me toward a “Lighter Side” section like they do at West End Bistro. DC is a city that eats out very often. It order not to strap yourself to a treadmill daily, it would be helpful to know which menu items are friendly on the waist.

Stay Away Please: I get that we’re into off-cuts of meat and nose-to-tail dining, but there’s a reason the best parts of the piggy (and other proteins) have been highlighted for decades. Here’s hoping chefs go easy on the organ meat in 2014.

Favorite Chef? Favorite Restaurant? Favorite Bar?

Favorite Chef: Victor Albisu. The guy is just so damn nice and is always innovating. I can’t get enough of Del Campo. If you think the guy is good with meat, you should try how he tops his burrata.

Favorite Restaurant: Rose’s Luxury. LOVE. EVERY. SINGLE. BITE. Plus you can’t sit in there and not feel just a smidge cooler.

Favorite Bar: Mockingbird Hill. Delicious sherry served up with a side of friendly education.

Favorite food blog, web site or column?

Resisting the urge to self-promote for Best Thing on the Menu or Thrillist… I’d have to go with the Young & Hungry blog with kudos to Jessica Sidman.

Russell Warnick

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The restaurant opening that didn’t quite live up?

I’m probably in the minority with this one, but I had higher hopes for Doi Moi. With sister restaurants Proof and Estadio, both of which are remarkable, Estadio especially – who wouldn’t –  it just hasn’t lived up to that same level of an experience for me. Don’t get me wrong, the curry menu is solid (and spicy), and there are some stellar dishes on the menu, the sliced raw scallops and the lemongrass coconut chicken wings to name a couple, or well, the only ones I can recall. There just aren’t enough dishes like these to keep me coming back.

The best DC restaurant (bar) opening in 2013?

In a possible contradiction of my own words, 2 Birds 1 Stone is my top pick of the year. In the basement of Doi Moi it’s a whole different experience unto itself. You don’t go to 2 Birds for food (although they do have a snack menu from the kitchen of Doi Moi) you go for the cocktails, with a new cocktail menu every week it’s easy to find yourself there propping up the bar drinking on something you’ve probably never heard of.  

The best dish you ate in 2013?

I have two, am I allowed two? Rose’s Luxury has a fantastic  ‘cacao e pepe’ which its simplicity makes it what it is, a damn good plate of pasta which is sometimes all that you need. My second pick, which I sometimes order as a dessert is Le Diplomate’s chicken liver foie gras parfait, a football shaped plate of all that is right in the world. Be sure to order a second round of grilled toast, you’ll need it.

Best food event of 2013?

For a second time Chefs for Equality outdid itself, it is by far my favorite food event of the year. Not only do guests chow down on some of the finest food, sip on some of the most eclectic cocktails, and rub shoulders with the best looking people in town, the event at The Ritz-Carlton, organized by David Hagedorn with HRC raises a good chunk of change and awareness for marriage equality.  I hit up most of the major food events throughout the year but Chefs for Equality stands above the rest, and a bargain to boot.

What opening are you most looking forward to in 2014?

Fewer new restaurants: my waistline and my wallet don’t appreciate all the new places I want to try.

SO YEAH, FEEL FREE TO LEAVE US YOUR ANSWERS IN THE COMMENTS TOO, BTW…

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