TOM SIETSEMA Oct. 9, 2014
Uncork the champagne, raise an IPA, pour a designer cocktail: 2014 has shaped up to be one of the most thrilling years in recent memory for those of us who live to eat and drink. Who knew that a little place on Capitol Hill would become one of the hottest draws — in the country? (Take a bow, Rose’s Luxury.) New York has started eyeing us in a serious way, too. Welcome to Washington, Daniel Boulud. We look forward to seeing you, David Chang.
New can be great. Or not. Time will tell. Until then, I’m here to serve you a heaping helping of my favorite restaurants. Some picks are old, some are young; all make my life more delicious. In this, my 15th Annual Fall Dining Guide, you’ll find answers to all sorts of questions. Whether you’re looking for the best place to seal a deal, toast an anniversary, travel to India, experience Japan, pick up barbecue, feast on baked Alaska, sup on a farm or fish on the Potomac, this collection is here to help.
For the first time, I’ve ranked my top 10 favorites. They’re where I most want to go for a meal when I’m off-duty. The rest of my bests — mostly in Washington, because that’s where the action is — follow alphabetically. Every restaurant was visited, sometimes more than once, in the past four months. Far be it from me to push leftovers on you.
Favorites are highly personal. To qualify, a restaurant had to call to me in some way. Was it where I hungered to go on date night? Was it where I gravitated even if my employer wasn’t footing the bill? Did a place make my day with great cooking, a room with a view or abundant hospitality? To disqualify itself, a former favorite had to have slipped in some noticeable way, changed course or, in a few sad cases, ceased serving. (May you rest in peace, Palena.) The following restaurants are where I long to eat right now.
Go forth and conquer, food lovers.