Three Professional DC Foodies Reveal Their Favorite Eats

by Shilpi Paul

Three Professional DC Foodies Reveal Their Favorite Eats: Figure 1
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.

Three Professional DC Foodies Reveal Their Favorite Eats: Figure 2
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

Favorite Overall: A three-way tie between Cork, Etto and Rose’s Luxury

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!

See other articles related to: restaurant news, restaurant, little serow, le diplomate

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/three_area_foodies_reveal_their_favorite_eats/7678


  1. Ann Tyson said at 6:25 pm on Friday October 18, 2013:
    Le Diplomate is THE most overrated eating place in DC. While the service is ok, the food is really mediocre and the clientele mostly stuck up people from the burbs. It's the place people go to in the belief they're eating French food if they've never actually eaten the real thing.
  1. Lowell said at 7:09 pm on Friday October 18, 2013:
    Couldn't agree more with Ann; everyone raves about Le Diplomate but I was less than impressed. I'll save $15 a head (and the wait time) and head to Bistrot Du Coin
  1. Petworth said at 7:50 pm on Friday October 18, 2013:
    I've been to Le Diplomate multiple times. The food and service have always been great for me (and apparently, lots of others). I've lived in DC for 9 years and I've been to France several times (different regions). I'm not sure you proved anything except what we already know: food is subjective, everyone has an opinion and not everyone agrees.
  1. C said at 8:29 pm on Friday October 18, 2013:
    I just loved Petworth's comment; it is spot-on. One more thing to add: Here's what Le Diplomate does that so many other places fail - consistency. I can't tell you how many times I hear glowing reviews about a place and when I try it, the consistency has taken a plunge. There really is no consistency - whether for food, service and sometimes even pricing (meaning prices have been jacked up). Whether you want to be haters because it's a Stephen Starr restaurant and therefore a semi-type chain, you got to give him credit for creating a place that has been more-or-less consistent since opening. I will give credit where credit is due.
  1. JB said at 2:06 am on Saturday October 19, 2013:
    Couldn't agree more about Le Diplomat's consistency. I loved the place. In contrast, I've found Bistro du Coin to be wildly inconsistent - I've had a great meal or two there, and one or two where the food was tasteless and the service was indifferent.
  1. K. said at 3:20 pm on Monday October 21, 2013:
    Agree with JB. Bistro du Coin is sometimes good and sometimes just mediocre. Love Le Diplomate. Haven't had a bad meal there yet and the breads are amazing! Have you had du Coin's bread? It's an embarrassment...
  1. Kes said at 4:17 pm on Monday October 21, 2013:
    While we're tossing out names of good French places, I feel compelled to mention Le Grenier on H St NE. I've been there for brunch, drinks, and dinner many times, and they are always good, with lots of traditional French choices and really interesting cocktails plus a decent happy hour. And their bread is always crusty and warm. Good French outside of NW, it exists!

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