For the first, and hopefully not last, time, Dine-N-Dash included restaurants on 14th Street. For better or worse, the press pass pickup was at one of D.C.’s best restaurants, Le Diplomate. The good and bad thing about starting at one of D.C.’s best restaurants is you don’t want to leave one of D.C.’s best restaurants.
Full disclosure: we’re big, biased fans of José Andrés. His restaurants are some of our favorites (we’re partial to Oyamel’s happy hour and Minibar’s everything), his work on Hannibal is overlooked and underappreciated and his work for World Central Kitchen and D.C. Central Kitchen makes him much more than just a chef. With all this in mind, we knew we were going to have a great time at the annual event. And we did. And we wouldn’t have minded staying at Le Diplomate all night.
Our group attempted to eat and drink at as many participating restaurants as possible. 30 restaurants participated. It’s not possible to visit every restaurant. We hit 11. That’s a pretty good success rate.
It was difficult to leave Le Diplomate. In addition to their great seafood and bread that’ll break any diet there was champagne and Éric Ripert and José Andrés. But we left. It took some convincing but we left.
Here’s a little rundown of some of our favorite bites and drinks from the next 10 restaurants. If we didn’t make it to your restaurant, please understand that it’s impossible to visit 30 restaurants in 4 hours.
Estadio: We got seats! It’s rare to get a seat at Estadio, especially at the bar during happy hour.
Sotto: We tried to go to staff favorite Ghibalellina but we didn’t want to wait. Same with Pearl Dive. So a trip downstairs to the somewhat hidden Sotto was a good idea. Their rye cocktail was the drink of the night.
Barcelona: Nice weather means a packed patio. The quickest visit of the night. We would have liked to stay longer. A chance to eat more octopus should always be taken.
Cork: A wine break before more food. We didn’t need to drink more wine but we drank more wine.
Doi Moi: Very, very potent peppers and a three-piece jazz band that played Tool covers. Something for everyone.
Proof: The undiscovered gem of this year’s Dine-N-Dash. We didn’t arrive until 8 p.m. and we were some of the only patrons. The VIP venue was underutilized since VIPs began on 14th rather than Penn Quater. It was a consensus favorite for food.
DBGB: We didn’t need more drinks but we drank more drinks.
Del Campo: So much meat. So much meat. So glad it wasn’t 90 degrees so we could eat more meat.
Zaytinya: We had to visit at least one Andrés restaurant. Unlike Proof, this was not an underutilized venue. Even at the end of the night it was well attended. The lamb was excellent.
918 F Street NW: We went to the afterparty because we could, not because we needed more food or drinks. The highlight? La Colombe cold brew on tap. Every afterparty needs caffeine.
Dine-N-Dash works because it hits all the foodie musts. It’s got celebrity chefs, new restaurants you want to check out, old favorite that help you remember why they’re favorites, a good concept, a reasonable price point and, most important, a worthwhile cause. We’ll be there again in 2017. We woudln’t be surprised if it expands to Shaw.
918 F St NW