The Washingtonian is out with its annual review of top 100 restaurants in Washington, arguably one of, if not the, most important dining reviews in the area. The list is in the January print edition and will be online soon. This year, the format of the review continues to change. In the past the Washingtonian ranked restaurants 1-100; however, over the past few years, the magazine has listed fewer restaurants numerically and instead grouped the majority of restaurants in one alphabetical list.
This year’s list only ranks the top ten restaurants numerically. The magazine then lists ten restaurants that are “on the rise,” ten that are new and exciting, ten that are “tried and true” establishments, and then the remaining restaurants alphabetically (in the “More Great Dining” category). This format clearly hurts the restaurants that do not make it into any of the top categories and instead fall into the last category of the remaining restaurants in alphabetical order (some of which were in the top ten last year). This new format may in fact disadvantage some of the best restaurants in D.C. as it implies that they are not as good as they used to be, even though they may simply have been victims of the new format.
Here’s our quick take on some of the winners and losers in this year’s list (we encourage you to read the entire list in either the magazine or online, it’s well worth the read):
Ashok Bajaj Named restauranteur of the year by Washingtonian, his restaurants did very well on this year’s list with Rasika placing in the top ten, Bibiana and Ardeo & Bardeo landing in the “on the rise” list, and Oval Room and 701 also appearing on the list.
Johnny Monis Chef Monis’s Komi again is named the top restaurant in D.C. and his Little Serow receives three stars and is on the new list of exciting restaurants.
We just got back from the meeting with the mayor down on H Street regarding the H Street streetcar project and wanted to write some quick thoughts about the streetcar. The big news of the meeting was that the streetcar is planned to begin operation (if it stays according to schedule) in summer 2013 and that it will run directly down H Street from Union Station (crossing the Hopscotch bridge above the Amtrak tracks) all the way to Benning Road and then will continue down Benning Road; it will not cut up 2nd or 3rd streets to get into Union Station. While we are pleased that the streetcar project is progressing, we are disappointed that it will not open for over a year.
The H Street corridor has developed incredibly over the past few years (and even months), but the streetcar will help take it to the next level and continue making the area one of the top dining and going out regions in D.C.
The sooner the streetcar is operation the better for a few reasons:
The streetcar will connect east and west H Street. The east end of H Street has featured new and popular restaurants and bars for the past few years. Until recently, the west end of H Street had lagged behind and did not have many going out places (except for Ethiopic). The recent openings of Tru Orleans and the Bigboard have made the west end of H Street a second destination for people going out on H Street (planned restaurants such as Boundary Road and the apartment/Giant grocery store development will continue to add to it). However, the middle section of H Street has seen no real development over the past few years. While there are planned developments and openings (ranging from Hikari Sushi to new apartment buildings), currently the middle section of H Street is uninviting late at night and many people do not feel comfortable walking from the eastern end to the western end. They could take a cab from one end to the other, but for most people that is too much effort and taking a cab six blocks seems silly. Unfortunately, that means that many people remain in either the east end or the west end but do not go back and forth. Both people going out on H Street and the businesses lose out currently. The streetcar will fix all of this as it will provide a quick, easy, and safe way for people to get from one end to the other. (All of this requires that the streetcar stay open late into the night, which we think is a must).
The streetcar will provide another way for people from outside of the H Street region to get there without taking a cab or driving. Right now whenever we go out with friends on H Street the first question we get is “how do you get to H Street?” For those of us who live in the region it is easy: we walk. However, as H Street continues to become more and more of a hot spot for dining and going out, it needs to be more accessible. Currently, people from outside of the H Street region can drive and park or take a cab. Continue reading
Exciting restaurant news for the NoMa and H Street regions at the end of last week:
Zuppa Fresca in NoMa: Our friends over at Frozen Tropics and DC NoMa reported that the Loree Grand apartment building in NoMa has found a replacement restaurant for Jillian Clark’s “Kitchen on K Street” that had been scheduled to open on the first floor of the building until it was recently announced that it had pulled out. Looking inside, it had been obvious that the space had already been designed for the incoming restaurant for several months, but little work had been done over the past several months. Fortunately, Zuppa Fresca, a new Italian restaurant by Alfio Celia will be opening soon. DC NoMa (menu included) and Frozen Tropics have more details.
Chicken Tortilla on H Street: Frozen Tropics also reports that Chicken Tortilla is opening on the east end of H Street (1324 H Street). The new restaurant will open on the same stretch of H Street where Shawafel and Pho Bar and Grill recently opened.