Le Diplomate. Photo courtesy of PoPville.
As DC becomes more of a restaurant town, locals have been enjoying the myriad options that now fill neighborhoods like Logan Circle, the H Street Corridor and Adams Morgan. But where do the professional foodies eat? UrbanTurf reached out to three folks who work in DC’s restaurant business to find out their favorite places to grab dinner.
Basheer Murshed, Sommelier at Komi
Favorite Overall: Le Diplomate
There’s just something about a bustling French Bistro that has a calming effect on me. This seems quite the contradiction given that Le Diplomate on 14th St. generates anything but a calm atmosphere. Newly opened earlier this year by Philly restauranteur Steven Starr, it hasn’t taken this joint any time at all to establish itself as a prime DC reservation. It’s hard to believe that a place that cranks out hundreds of covers a night can put out such classically consistent French dishes, but I haven’t been disappointed to date. Can’t miss dishes include the foie gras parfait, the cheeseburger — behind “In N Out,” this might be the best burger I’ve had — and the roast chicken with pomme purée.
Cheap Eat: Ravi Kabob
I’ve been going to Ravi, located in Arlington, since I was a teenager. There’s something about the flavor of Indian/Pakistani food (Ravi is Pakistani) that satisfies a certain craving. There are certainly no frills at Ravi, and the place is a bit rough around the edges, but the guys putting the food out really know what they’re doing. The naan is always piping hot, probably since it’s coming out of their clay tandoor oven. Awesome rice, perfectly marinated and spiced meats and the best chick peas (chana) I’ve ever had. Can’t miss dishes include the grilled lamb chops, bone-in chicken and kabob kharahi, for a fiery explosion of flavor.
Hidden Gem: George’s King of Falafel
Located across from the Four Seasons in Georgetown, George’s has been a favorite of both mine and other late night drinkers for decades. The hours are very un-DC. On weekend nights this joint stays open till 4:00am! Can’t miss dishes include “The Works,” a steak ‘n cheese with a Middle Eastern twist, the hummus and shawarma, and the haloumi sandwich.
El Pollo Rico. Photo courtesy of Men’s Health.
Tom Madrecki, chef of the Arlington supper club Chez Le Commis and co-owner and chef of pop-up wine bar Vin De Chez in DC
Cork is my home away from home, but all three have great food, reasonable prices and just make you feel welcome. When I talk about my favorite restaurants, they all have a similar vibe: at the end of the day, it’s just a comfortable place to eat and drink, where you feel happy and can relax a little.
Cheap Eat: El Pollo Rico in Arlington
When they’re on their game and the chicken is moist with a fatty, crispy skin fragrant of Peruvian herbs and spices, there is nothing better. It is also just down the street from me, and so it is perfect on a weekend afternoon after a long night.
Off the Beaten Path: A&J Dim Sum in Annandale
It isn’t unknown, but it is a bit further out: A&J dim sum in Annandale makes some of the best, most interesting Chinese food in the DC area. To me, it’s an R&D spot — a restaurant where you are transported to another place and can experience a more authentic style of cuisine.
Joshua Hermias, Chef Tournant at Thally
Favorite overall: Little Serow
Each visit is a home run of well crafted, smartly paced, and exciting flavors. I’m by no means a spicy-food addict (in fact, I generally avoid it) but I’m always fascinated by how LS manipulates and leverages heat. In each individual dish, the attack of the heat increases the complexity of the sweet, salty and savory elements; over the course of the meal, how the heat builds and subsides is also interesting to think about. What elevates LS into another realm, however, is that Monis and Marler also nailed the aesthetic and service style: it’s the best example of unaffected coolness in all of DC.
Cheap Eat: Super Taco
For what it’s worth? Seriously, still Little Serow. Otherwise, cochinita pibil at Super Tacos in Adams Morgan.
Coming Soon to DC: Chef John Shields
I’m always surprised about how little DC eaters are aware of non-DC restaurants, even the ones that are just a few hours away. A perfect example of this was when John Shields had Town House out in Chilhowie, VA. It was truly exceptional food that was worth the journey. Another cook and I use to leave at noon to get to Town House by 6pm. We’d eat, leave around 8, and get back to DC at 2 in the morning. The good news is that by all reports Shields is on course to open a new restaurant in Georgetown!
This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/three_area_foodies_reveal_their_favorite_eats/7678.
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