We asked some of our favorite writers, chefs, beverages directors, photographers, publicists and other people that consume food what they’d pick for their last meal in D.C. We asked each person to pick an appetizer, main course, dessert and drink. We didn’t specify why this would be their last meal, we left that up to the answerer. What we received is a fascinating look at what really matters when you think about dining in D.C.
Karaage from Izakaya Seki. It’s perfect every single time.
The hazelnut custard at Red Hen. I have zero sweet teeth and would take a bowl of pasta over a bowl or ice cream any day. But I can’t resist this dish. Honestly, there’s no other dessert in town I eat.
French Onion Soup from Chez Billy (Petworth). It is the most delicious consistently awesome onion soup in D.C. I eat it year round, though it is especially fantastic on very cold nights.
A lobster roll from Luke’s – so sweet it’s better than any dessert I know.
I’m a pretty boring drinker (beer, gin and tonic etc.) so I’m gonna go with the Pho broth from Pho Viet in Columbia Heights. It is the best. But if I have to choose a proper drink – I’ll go with anything from Lukas B. Smith.
If it had to be at one place, I’d go Komi.
If I get to mix and match, here we go: Bombay Club would host since I adore the atmosphere there (piano!), and I’d have them make me a Manhattan to start things off since that’s where I first fell in love with that cocktail years and years ago.
Seafood Plateau from Le Diplomate.
Red Hen. They can surprise me with anything, though bonus points if they involve seafood and/or saffron.
A spread of dishes from Peter Chang. Must include Bamboo Fish.
I’m not really a dessert person, so I’d probably either opt for a cheese plate (Blue Duck Tavern can curate) or to drink my dessert (Scotch from Jack Rose). But I’d have to have Tiffany MacIsaac on call to make an actual dessert for my husband.
After dinner drinks
Head to Daikaya Izakaya for Japanese whiskey.
Drunk food stop to cap off the night
Compass Rose for khachapuri.
My last meal in D.C. would be at Little Serow. They have a set menu so I wouldn’t even have to make any choices, which would allow me to concentrate on savoring every deliciously spicy bite. The spice level builds through the courses so your endorphins are really spiking by the fourth or fifth dish. It’s a natural high! They will also pair beer with each course so I don’t even have to clutter my brain with making those choices either. They always introduce me to a weird beer that doesn’t sound especially appetizing when described, but usually goes perfectly with the meal. I have never been disappointed when dining at Little Serow. It’s the best eating in town and the service is impeccable. I’d also choose Little Serow for my last meal because I am pretty sentimental. This restaurant gets me! Cozy, uncluttered, and friendly. Exactly as a good relationship should be.
Boundary Stone serves fried pickle chips, which are way better than spears, and I’m still trying to figure out how to replicate their honey hot wing sauce. It’s perfection.
The main event is at Red Hen. I’m stuffing my face with a bowl of Zucca. I’m topping it with extra parmesan cheese and accompanying it with a glass of orange wine (whatever the house recommends) and a side order of the chicken liver mousse.
Red Hen (again). To finish off the meal, I’m going to town on the hazelnut crumble with maple custard. Why? Because it’s the best dessert that D.C. has to offer.
Com’Boh at Showtime. I’m more nostalgic, than I am classy. And, Showtime has been filled with countless memories, usually involving their $5 beer and a whiskey shot combo.
If I’m about to see D.C. in my rear view mirror as I make my way to somewhere that’s guaranteed to be inferior to our fine city, there are a few stops I would need to make for a final chow down. First, I’m lubricating my evening with a bottle of Greek wine and Mediterranean snacks on the twisted vine patio at Iron Gate. Favorites off the current menu include the whole wheat rigatoni with rotisserie duck (because suck it chicken) and creamy buratta cheese wearing black olives, mint and winter citrus. Then it’s onto Sushi Taro because the restaurant takes me back to my time in Japan on every visit. I’m tossing down a few simple rolls that showcase fish that’s likely been flown in from Japan and a block of sweet potato tempura. The latter features the Japanese breed of sweet potato that trumps anything we grow here lovingly fried in Sushi Taro’s top notch tempura batter. Sayonara Northwest, I’m ending the night on H Street NE at Maketto. That’s where you’ll find me filling up on Taiwanese fried chicken and brain freeze inducing mala coladas (a fiery take on a piña colada). The chicken is cartoonish in size, lightly fried and perched atop bread that should be more illegal than buying weed.
I’d start with tall cold glass of Prosecco and a dozen local oysters at Eat The Rich. Then shoot over to The Riggsby for Jimmy’s Chopped Salad followed by the Mezze Rigatoni with Fennel Sausage Ragu at The Red Hen. Then I’d grab a seat at the bar at Convivial and order the Fried Chicken Coq au Vin. After washing that down with something icy and rye-oriented, I’d swing over to Convivial’s sister restaurant, Mintwood Place for my favorite dessert in the city- the simple but perfect Brownie Sundae. I’d take a little time to digest this feast with the help of a Black Grouse Whisky on the rocks and a Partagas Serie D. No. 4 over at Civil Cigar Bar. If I’m still kickin’ at 1 a.m. and feeling young again, I’d hit up the pick-up window at The BBQ Joint on 14th Street for the smoked pastrami goodness of the Rachel’s Hot Cousin sandwich. Of course this is all a fantasy night, most time it’s just SweetGreen and a Fiji water and bed by 10 p.m., but a guy can dream, right?
When I think about my last meal, it would be full of the eats I know and love; dishes that always satisfy. For a multi course meal, I go with tried and true selections from my wheelhouse of faves.
As an appetizer I’d take on a couple smoked mussels from Neopol’s. Then, a healthy dose of Number 1 Sons Super Sour Green Beans and Golden Galangal Beets arranged on a nice big platter. In the center of this platter, some select charcuterie from Nathan Anda at Red Apron’s Partisan. For a beverage, I’d be sipping The Corruption from DC Brau, a hoppy beer in the style of the PNW, (where I’m from) but one that is rooted and defined firmly in the District. Next up is the main course. My standby sandwich from Uncle Chips, The Bates Street Special: sliced turkey, cracked pepper, mayo, provolone, cilantro, red onion, apple and balsamic reduction on a ciabatta bread. This delicious sammy gets the occasional dash of Tabasco, for a nice hit of spice every few bites. After the major part of the meal, I’d take some time to digest, and then chew the fat with friends over a cannelle from Bread Furst and a luscious Affogato from Dolcezza.
Course 1: A beautifully rolled joint with some of that D.C. homegrown
Drink Pairing: DC Brau Corruption
Course 2: Chicken liver pate and Grilled Bread from Red Hen
Drink Pairing: Red Hen’s very own gorgeous, rose cider
Course 3: The Crispy Watercress salad from Thip Khao
Palette Cleanser: Fino Backs from Mockingbird Hill
Course 4: Chili Half-Smoke from Meat & Foods with a side of Gordy’s Pickled Okra
Course 5: Lamb Ribs from Tail Up Goat
Drink Pairing: Three Stars Peppercorn Saison
Course 6: Lemon Cardamom Ricotta Gelato from Dolcezza
Not much has changed at this political watering hole since the Kennedy administration, and there¹s something to be said for that in Washington¹s ever-changing food world. The Senate-side institution serves retro classics like calf¹s liver and crab imperial to members of Congress, staffers, lobbyists, the press and neighborhood types. It’s the norm core of dining, and less likely to be forgotten than any fast-passing trend.
Ben’s has survived the 1968 riots, gentrification and being associated with Bill Cosby, all the while providing Washington with something rare for a city of so many transplants: a signature dish in the humble chili half-smoke sausage.
What better way to say adieu to Washington than saluting the Tune’s famous deer derriere and washing down a juicy Tune Inn Burger and some chili-cheese fries with a Natty Bo?
This honest-to-God lunch counter with the cranky but gourmet-oriented owner manages to be both humble and refined, and provides a down-to-Earth weigh station for the powerful and the powerless in the heart of Downtown D.C. The plethora of CF Folks-centered Bloom County cartoons around the place strikes at the heart of the sentiment that Washington takes itself too seriously.
My last meal in D.C…. seriously, like, only one meal? It would have to be a big one!
I love, love, love the number of creative, fresh, and delicious quick-service concepts we have in the District. I couldn’t imagine living without them, actually. So… I’d need a bowl from Cava Grill with lots of Crazy Feta, tacos/takos from Chaia and TaKorean (roasted beet, and bulgogi, respectively), and a Gnarlic from &pizza with kalamata olives. I’d need a JRINK to drink, most likely the Pick Me Up. For dessert, a slice of every cake available from Rare Sweets. And then probably a pour over from Vigilante Coffee (the Danch Meng from Ethiopia would be my choice).
With a two year old son (and a two year-old restaurant), I don’t get out to eat as much as I would like, but my final meal in the DMV would probably go something like this…
A Red Apron Charcuterie Board that my friend Nathan (Anda) has put together. I’ll trust his choices, but I would be happy to see culatello ham and country pate. It would be served with a fresh banquette from Bread and Water Company in Virginia, the Deviled Eggs from 2 Amy’s (that damn salsa verde!) and a refreshing Campari and soda.
Dumplings from The Source and Chiangmai Chili Pork from Duangrat’s with a simple beer like Tiger.
For dessert the Black Sesame Gelato from Dolcezza with a cup of Compass Coffee.
Taco Bamba for fried tendon tacos.
DGS Delicatessen, Little Sesame, Whaley’s Owner Nick Wiseman
My last meal would involve three stops; first for all the bar plates at 2amys, then for anything Jeremiah cooks on the hearth at The Dabney and finish with Rob’s Valhrona chocolate gelato at Dolcezza.
My last meal would be extensive…
Haidars terrines at Proof then boudin blanc at Marcel’s, followed by super spicy boiled beef at Ming’s then an Italian sub at Bub and Pops before moving onto a Famous Gyro with 3 extra slices of Gyro meat and small side of tzakiki at Greek Deli. Terramasalata with that bread at Kapnos.
Anything at Buttercream, sight unseen. Not even open yet. You know that stuff going to be the truth.
After all that I would end the day at Mandu for late night wings and kimchi backs.
Bad Saint, Room 11, Paisley Fig, Crane & Turtle Partner Nick Pimentel
For my last meal in D.C., I’d probably start it off with scallop carpaccio from Izakaya Seki and naem khao from Thip Khao. Then it would involve Comet Ping Pong wings and Peter Chang’s dry-fried eggplant for the second course. Next up, the Bolognese Parmesan Sandwich from Bub and Pop’s and a stack of chilitos (with pickled jalepeños) from Meats & Foods for the main course. And for dessert, probably more Meats & Foods chilitos. All of this being washed down with cheap bourbon and expensive wines. When done, I would head to Little Serow for those whiskey pork ribs for a midnight snack before I hop on the street car outta dodge.
I feel fortunate. I’m surrounded by talented chefs & bartenders and eat in our restaurants every day. For a last great meal, not including our restaurants, of course, I’d visit my local favorites that I don’t get to nearly enough.
I love what Chef-Owner Rebecca is doing at Clare & Don’s in Falls Church. Her spiced shrimp are killer, so I’d head there to start my last meal with “A WHOLE HEAP O’ SHRIMP.” The shrimp are perfectly fresh, and Rebecca is always there to greet me with her a big hug & smile.
Next, I’d head over to The Italian Store. The Tramonte family are a Washington treasure, and I certainly wouldn’t leave town without one more Milano sub. It was one of my first meals when I arrived here back in the ‘80s— it only fits it would be my last.
My sweet tooth steers me towards Metro 29 Diner for their rice pudding. Simple & satisfying, it never lets me down. It is heavenly and served graciously by Deanna.
I know I’m biased, but the bars at The Hamilton are stellar and stocked with boutique spirits. I’d end my last meal in D.C. with Organic #1 Tequila at The Hamilton’s Loft Bar. The energy & vibe of the musician’s hangout is a District must-experience.
A bowl of ramen from Toki Underground.
I would start with a dozen impeccably fresh oysters at Rappahanock with a squeeze of lemon, washed down with ice cold District Made Vodka. I have simple tastes and can think of no better way to begin my last meal in D.C.
Maketto Fried Chicken & Bread. There are a lot of amazing fried chickens served in D.C., but I love everything Erik & James are doing at Maketto and cannot get enough of their version, slightly sweet with delicious spice.
I don’t have a huge sweet tooth, so I would love to finish my last meal in D.C. with a curated selection of cheeses at Sona Creamery.
After that amazing meal, I would love a well crafted cocktail from any number of D.C.’s finest bars, but if it was my last drink in town I’d have to head down to the distillery or any of the great breweries in Ivy City just to sit at the bar, sip and wonder if I really need to leave town after all!
&pizza CEO and co-Founder Michael Lastoria
Mussels + Frites from Granville Moore’s.
Tuna Carpaccio from Le Diplomate because it’s like eating a thin slice of heaven.
The short rib or whatever cut of beef is on the menu at The Dabney (since they change the menu that day) because I love when my palate gets bear-hugged by deliciousness.
And I would stay at Dabney for dessert because their sweet potato doughnuts with toasted marshmallows taste like what I imagine unicorn tears to taste like. But if they aren’t offering them, I would just eat all of their other desserts…all of them.
I would probably swing by Jack Rose for a whiskey because I love shameless self promotion.
Cacio e Pepe at The Red Hen. It’s such a simple dish but is so comforting and reminds me of a great home-cooked meal.
Pork Ribs at Little Serow. They are the best ribs I’ve ever had in my life. The flavors are intense but they don’t mask those of the meat itself.
Not a traditional dessert per se, but 2 dozen Olde Salts Oysters from Rappahannock River Oysters.
The beverage tasting menu at Little Serow. Always changing, always interesting and delicious, and always complements the spice in the dishes perfectly.
SO…I am not morbidly imagining that this is my last meal, but my last meal in D.C. before I head off on some amazing life’s adventure. This will be the celebration of my journey ahead and my gratitude to those who have made these many years in Washington so meaningful and important. I will want a lot of friends, family and colleagues there. A bit of a blowout where the food is delicious, the liquor is pouring, and the music is thrumming. We will take over the joint for the evening.
I’m thinking Masseria. The details above are all there and the space is the perfect size. I love that there is an edge to the location, I heart Italian food very much (having lived in Italy for a year), and – even if the weather stinks (as it did the night I celebrated my 25th wedding anniversary there in late September) – it won’t matter a lick. Plus, parking is free and easy.
My last meal would be simple. “Tuna Mountain” from Yuraku sushi bar in Germantown, MD. Give me an ice cold Sopporo tall can of beer. “Tuna Mountain” is this creation that has a baseball size mound of chopped spicy tuna mix, surrounded by slices of seared rare tuna. The dish is brought together with a drizzle of wasabi cream. The flavors are so ethereal that after eating this “mountain” of an appetizer; you feel like you have died and gone to heaven. Top it off with an ice cold beer and “good night, sweet world”.
Lobster bisque from my former boss Tom Power at Corduroy. He makes the best soups in the city. He is a soup master.
I would have any sushi that Koji Terano makes. He used to be the sushi chef at Sushi Ko but now he works at China Chilcano and he is running the sushi menu. He is extremely talented sushi master.
Outback Steakhouse. Don’t judge! That chocolate thunder down under brownie with a huge scoop of ice cream and whipped cream is simply amazing.
Anything from my good friend and neighbor here in Shaw, Derek Brown, would be highly appreciated.
Bistro Provence from start to end. Experience like this one cannot be split up. Chef Yannick Cam’s cooking has gone in to zen master territory. Every time I get to dine there, I’m taken on an epic joinery of senses though his food. Yannick cooks what’s in season, but some of my favorite dishes include the corn soup, squid, duck, salmon in a pastry, scallops, monk fish and veal.
Peacock Cafe is my go-to on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon, probably because I’m dangerously obsessed with their nachos. They load their chips with grated cheese, guacamole, sour cream, salsa, jalapeños and vegetarian chili. I hate to admit it, but one order never seems like enough.
I’m a Virginia girl, so I’m pumped to have places like Peking Gourmet in the same area code. I crave their Peking Duck on a monthly — almost weekly — basis. Though the Falls Church restaurant is a favorite for presidents, international government officials and visiting celebrities, not many people know they have a farm in Purceville, VA where they raise their own ducks!
I’m also a sucker for the burger at Le Diplomate. I tell everyone it tastes like a gourmet Big Mac — seriously.
I love whiskey, so it comes as no surprise that the Bourbon Balls at Southern Efficiency are my favorite dessert. They’re served with crumbled vanilla sugar cookies, pecans and honey.
David Strauss makes a killer Fitzgerald. The combo of gin, lemon juice, simple syrup and Angostura bitters has me dreaming of summer in this 40-degree weather.
Grilled Avocado at The Royal. I’m a California girl and grew up eating avocados straight up with a spoon, so this is a given. Plus, time on the grill gives it a nice buttery texture that you wish you could slather on everything. Or the Petit Plateau at Le Diplomate, which yes, I consider an app even though it’s a massive platter of seafood-for-2. Always a treat.
I’d hope my last meal in D.C. was in the summer, so I could make it a crab feast. During peak blue crab season, my boyfriend and I go down to Captain White’s at the SW Waterfront almost every weekend to pick up freshly steamed and extra Old Bay’ed crabs and take them back to our roof deck. Not my favorite crabs in the area, but being able to enjoy them at home in the sun with unlimited cold canned beer before playing a round of Scrabble is pretty worth it. I’ve also been loving that spaghetti at The Riggsby recently (which is also a convenient block-and-a-half from my house), or the fried chicken at Maketto.
I prefer drinking my dessert, so can I choose a cocktail? A favorite that I often crave is this spicy jalapeño mezcal drink at Copycat Co. It’s not on a menu but they’ve always had it when I ask, but really anything that Devin makes is awesome. Or, maybe some 1920s chartreuse at the Columbia Room. Herbal, a little sweet, the perfect “dessert.”
To end the night, a flight of Islay whiskies at Jack Rose. After visiting Scotland last May, I’ve become obsessed with learning and tasting through all the peaty scotches the island has to offer. Or a Sapporo while singing karaoke at Muzette.
BYT Founder Svetlana Legetic
I have been fortunate to have eaten very many great meals in D.C. Maybe TOO MANY great meals to be able to do this the sane way, here is a progressive menu that I feel I’d be VERY excited for any day of my life (even my last).
Start with Palaak Chaat at Rasika or Kale Chaat at Bombay Club. Chaat for life.
Dive into that pork lychee salad at Rose’s Luxury.
Cool off with the lobster ravioli at Fiola Mare. Money is no object, right?
Find room somewhere (SOMEWHERE) for the Mintwood Bolognese.
Finish off with any of the desserts at Le Diplomate (the only place I ALWAYS order ALL the desserts from, no matter how full I am.
To drink: I just had the Riesling Spätlese Feinherb at Tail Up Goat a few weeks a go, which they bill as “The Greatest (White Wine on Earth)” and I am inclined to agree.
If I would have to go to ONLY one place before I left, I’d say Little Serow. That’s a flavor profile memory to keep with you forever.
If I was told I had one meal left, I would not hesitate to find a friend with a rooftop or a backyard and I would throw a crab feast. My first stop would be a the Maine Avenue Fish Market to pick up a bushel or two of blue crabs because that place is one of my favorite spots in the city and I love blue crabs. Since it’s my last meal and price is of no concern, I’d definitely go all out and get the Jumbo males, and probably some steamed shrimp and raw oysters as well. Blue crabs are amazing but they really don’t fill you up, so I’d also swing by Meats & Foods and get some of the best sausages around to grill. There will also be a lot of beer. I would go to the DC Brau brewery and pick up some six packs of Brau Pils, Corruption, and Pubic, and probably a growler or two of some limited edition specialties (hopefully they have the Alpha Domina Mellis on tap, that one is KILLER). I’d also probably grab a tee shirt too because it’s my last meal and I want to look my best. To top it all off, I would have Dolcezza gelato push pops for dessert. Also, I would have lots and lots of Cheetos and Haribo Gold Bears because I love them and I deny them to myself every day.
I have a lot of favorite dishes in D.C., so it was hard to pick one favorite dishes for a last meal in D.C. piece. But, I had to go with the dishes that were the most memorable, that I can’t easily get elsewhere, and that would make my last meal in D.C. one of utter decadence.
Hands down the best appetizer in town is also my favorite dish in town: the burrata at Obelisk. Obelisk is a charming, tasting-menu-only restaurant in Dupont that serves incredible Italian food. The burrata they offer as a part of their antipasti comes straight from Italy, and is served alone on a plate in a pillowy mound drizzled with just a bit of good, fruity olive oil and sprinkled with a dash of sea salt and black pepper. Each bite literally melts in your mouth.
This was a hard one. I would consider going with Daikaya’s veggie ramen, but if this is my last meal it would be weird to eat ramen after burrata. So I am going to go with Roberto Donna’s white truffle risotto. This is the headiest, creamiest, most decadent risotto I have ever had. It is like liquid on your tongue, with the wonderful, earthy flavor of white truffle. The aroma and texture and flavor all make this dish into something you will never forget.
I have a theory. America cuisine is not the best in the world. Different Asian cuisines, Mexican, Italian, French, Mediterranean, yes. But what America has, by leaps and bounds, is the best desserts in the world. I hate weird fancy desserts with flowers and bizarre flavors in desserts like tapioca and green tea and strange textures like rice pudding. What I like is s’mores. Apple pie. Brownies. Cake with lots and lots of frosting. Donuts dammit. Fucking funnel cake. New York cheesecake and Boston cream pie. Red velvet cupcakes. And then the ultimate: the chocolate chip cookie. Soft, melty, perfect chocolate chips cookies. Cookies that remind you of your childhood and why it is great to be an American. Aside from the ones your mom makes, the best chocolate chip cookies in town are at the Source. A surprising location, yes, but mark my words friends. These bad boys come nestled in a white napkin, just barely cooked, with the chocolate still warm and gooey. I once ate 6 in one sitting. They cannot be beat.
The gin popsicle French 75 from 1789 Restaurant. So, I love champagne. I think it is the best beverage in the world. It makes me feel like my life is just one, fabulous celebration. But I have found that few champagne cocktails are as good as just a pure glass of good quality champagne. The one at 1789 however is an exception. Instead of the traditional French 75, which combines gin and champagne with sugar and a lemon twist, at 1789 they take a mini frozen gin popsicle and put it in a glass with Tattinger with a lemon twist. It is divine. It makes me feel like I am someone utterly fabulous from the 1920s or the belle epoch. Try one, and you’ll feel like that too.
Starter: Chicken liver mousse from Ghibellina
Ordering at Ghibellina is hard. I mean, going with pizza is easy; it’s what comes before that ends up being the tough decision. Charcuterie and cheese is always a solid bet (when is it not?), as is one of the house-made pastas. But the real star? Ghibellina’s fegatini: sauteed chicken livers, anchovy, capers, and vermouth blended into a mousse, then slathered onto a crisp crostini. Creamy and minerally, with a hint of briny salinity that’s just enough to balance out the richness…it’s the perfect bite. And it’s $6. This could very well be my favorite dish in D.C.
My last meal’s appetizer is all carbs, all day.
Two of the very best in the city are about as different as they could be from one another, but either would easily make my final meal. The first, the mezze rigatoni with a fennel sausage ragu from Red Hen, is everything you want in a plate of red sauce pasta: a hearty, tomato-based sauce; actual al dente pasta; and crumbles of sausage, aggressively spiced with fennel and sage. Pasta-wise, one would be hard-pressed to find a better plate in the city.
My alternate, however, might be even better: the Maine lobster ravioli from Fiola Mare. It’s the best (full stop?) seafood restaurant in the city. Fabio Trabocchi is one of the best pasta chefs in the city. Any wonder then that the lobster ravioli is revelatory? Huge lobes of lobster, a decadent cream sauce, ethereal pasta, and ginger and chives to temper the richness. Sublime.
That said, the pork and lychee salad at Rose’s Luxury just barely missed out…
Kimchi Ramen from Toki Underground
Are there “better,” “more refined” dishes in D.C. I could choose for my last meal’s main course? Probably. Are there any that more consistently deliver a straight shot of dopamine to my pleasure centers than this bowl of ramen? Absolutely not. Before I moved to D.C., I came out to the city to find a place to live. A buddy of mine took me to Toki the first night I was here. That was when I knew I’d love it here. Three years living on H St. (and countless Toki visits) later, there remains no more craveable meal for me than Erik Bruner-Yang’s fatty, porky tonkotsu kimchi ramen.
Large cheese board from Proof
If you’ve ever read anything I’ve written for BYT, like, ever, you pretty much get by now that I don’t like desserts. Sweets don’t do it for me. Cheese, though? Oooh boy. For my money, the best cheese platter in the city is at Proof. Sheep, cow, goat…hard, soft, oozy…salty, mild, smack in the face funky…Proof has it all. It’s my last meal in DC, so of course I’m going with the six-cheese selection – a melting Taleggio and a stank Fourme d’Ambert are the must-haves; the rest, surprise me.
EITHER anything off the chalkboard at Copycat Co. OR a Budweiser with my buddies at The Big Board
My last meal in D.C. would have a lot of booze. Like, a lot a lot. Again, two pretty disparate picks here, but it’s too hard to choose.
If I don’t want to waste time hemming and hawing over a cocktail list, I’m headed straight to Copycat Co. for, literally, anything off their chalkboard. Whether it’s Devin or Rob behind the stick (or any of the awesome bartenders, really…Devin and Rob are just my favorites), a ten second talk about a flavor or type of liquor you like, hell, even a memory you have about a certain drink, leads to something new and delicious that I’ve likely never tried before, much less heard of. Amazing atmosphere, and an outstanding addition to H St.
If Copycat’s slammed (likely), it’s over to the Big Board. I know, I know…”Last meal in D.C. and he’s going for a beer at a neighborhood bar?” I get it. But H St. is great; the community’s great; the regulars are great. Since moving to D.C., I’ve found myself there far more than necessary (or healthy, tbh). I’m comfortable admitting it’s nothing special, but I love it. For a last meal, who wouldn’t want to be surrounded by some of their best buddies, just shooting the shit over a few beers? Hell of a way to say goodbye.
Or, I’d just go to Little Serow and call it a night.
BYT Contributor Andrew Bucket
A dozen blue point oysters from Pop’s Sea Bar. It’s a really basic oyster in a really basic bar, but that’s kinda what oysters are supposed to be.
Paella de Mariscos from Boqueria and none of my friends are invited to share. Eating it myself.
Oreo shake from Shake Shack.
A bourbon Manhattan, up, from Bar Pilar. Doesn’t matter who makes it, they’re all versed in the bourbonic arts.
BYT Contributor Jeb Gavin
I can certainly tell you the last time I had a complete meal I’d be happy calling my last meal, mostly because I find it too hard to cobble together a perfect meal from all the terrific dishes I’ve had recently.
Despite it’s detractors, Les Halles (which stood where Del Frisco’s Grille now stands on Pennsylvania) was always my go-to last meal spot. If memory serves -though it often doesn’t- it closed back in 2010 without so much as a whimper. I probably went in about once a month, budget permitting, and ate nearly the exact same thing every time.
I always started with snails- basic, quintessentially French, roasted swimming in garlic herb butter with plenty of warm bread. It’s a classic for a reason, and to hell with anyone who doesn’t appreciate what are effectively the Gallic version of cocktail wienies. I usually wash those little buggers down with a Kronenbourg 1664, because there are good beers in France, though sometimes they’re made in towns that have historically been a part of Germany.
For a main course, steak frites all the way. Proper french fries required two dips in a fryer: once to cook them through, and a second, higher fry to crisp the outside. Les Halles seasoned theirs with salt, but they were consistently perfect, like McDonald’s fries in the ’90s back when they were still frying in beef fat (for more on this, read Jeffrey Steingarten’s The Man Who Ate Everything.) The steak was a blade steak, a relatively thin slice of chuck, properly grilled, seasoned with salt, pepper, and garlic. The plate was rounded out with a simple salad of greens and red onions, dressed in vinaigrette. Always with a glass of house red.
Dessert was whatever they’d just pulled out of the oven. Chocolate tort, apple turnover, bunch of cheese, some combination of all three, enjoyed while sipping an espresso entirely too late at night.
Perfect, affordable, and for most probably forgettable. Instead I think of it as a measuring stick for all the steak frites I’ve tried since.