16 best new things to eat and drink in DC right now
Jarabe Gourmet Pops at La Cosecha.
Best New Food-Hall Experience
Washington has always claimed an international identity, and there are few places where it comes so alive as in this Latin American market near the Union Market. La Cosecha opened in 2019, but its dozen and more vendors have just filled up over the past year. On any day, you might find Panamanian roasters pouring luxury beers at CafÃ© Unido, Venezuelan expats tasting Caracas hot dogs, fashionistas peering into Brazilian jewelry from Nova Bossa, Joe Biden passing for Las tacos. Gemelas or famous Colombian chef Juan Manuel Barrientos visits his Michelin-starred restaurant, El Cielo. The vibrant cultural center also hosts tango lessons, live music and other events. 1280 Fourth Street, NE.
Best New Fast Food Riff
Whimsical versions of Big Mac are everywhere, but the McDonald’s tribute we love the most is at Moon Rabbit, the mod-Vietnamese dining room at The Wharf. This is where you’ll find Chef Kevin Tien’s riff on the channel’s Filet-O-Fish. It nails the golden crunch of the original, but enhances it with turmeric-tinted catfish, a smoked dill tartar sauce, and a soft, freshly made curry milk bun. You’ll find it in the appetizers section, but really, the thing deserves its own drive-thru window. 801 Wharf St., SW; 202-878-8566.
Best New Caesar Salad
While the past year has been the golden age of sandwiches and takeout cocktails, it has been a dark time for Caesar salad fans. We came across countless takeout boxes full of lettuce, then a simple sprinkle of Parm and, if we’re lucky, a crouton or two. The interpretation at Caruso’s Grocery, the Italian-American hot spot on Capitol Hill that opened in May, redeemed the dish. It’s all in the excess: lots of dressing, a ton of black pepper, handfuls of good quality grated Parmesan, and a hint of anchovy that doesn’t overpower the whole thing. â€œI think a good Caesar is all about the dressing,â€ says chef / owner Matt Adler. His shameless secret to getting it perfectly creamy: instead of a raw egg, he uses Duke mayonnaise. 1401 Pennsylvania Ave., SE; 202-661-0148.
Best new grocery store snack
The competition on supermarket hummus shelves has become much more exciting with the arrival of jars made by DC fast-casual star Little Sesame. We’re addicted to the pita boutique’s creamy chickpea dip, either plain or with a bottom layer of candied tomatoes or caramelized onions. Available at several Whole Foods stores in the area including Logan Circle, Clarendon and Silver Spring.
Chicago’s Best New Dog
At Bun Papa, the burger-focused pop-up inside the Bread & Water Company bakery, the Chicago-style hot dog is topped with traditional condiments – neon green relish, sporty peppers, tomato slices, sea salt. celery. But a standard bun wasn’t going to fly from one of the best bakeries in the area. The owner, Markos Panas, therefore risked enraging the natives of the Chicago area by nesting the crisp, deep-fried frank in a toasted homemade brioche bun. The result is worth more than any side eye. 1512 Belle View Blvd., Alexandria; 703-768-0100.
While most restaurants pitched tents and put up concrete barriers, this bustling French restaurant built heated â€œstreet chateauxâ€ that were just as chic as its dining room. It’s no wonder that private lockers, fitted with fans for the summer, have inspired many imitators. 1601 14th St., NW; 202-332-3333.
Best new place for fish and chips
If, like us, you are still bemoaning the closure of Old Town Eamonn’s chip shop in 2019, we have good news. Chef / owner Cathal Armstrong resurrected his signature offering â€” crispy fried fillets of flaky white fish â€” at Mattie and Eddie’s, his five-month-old Pentagon City pub. The best part: the fatty, carefully prepared fries, served with seven dipping sauces. 1301 S. Joyce Street, Arlington; 571-312-2665.
Best New Vegetarian Sandwich
We’re thrilled that the pandemic Ghostburger pop-up, released from Mexican restaurant Espita, is sticking around. While the best seller in the all-American delivery operation is their excellent rib eye-filled cheesesteak, we like the version with cremini mushrooms even better. Half a pound of them is stuffed into a roll, then topped with caramelized onions, pickled peppers, and white cheddar â€œWhizâ€. 1250, rue NeuviÃ¨me, NO; 202-827-5237.
Best New Fried Chicken
Miami-based Yardbird took to the food scene with such hype we were a little skeptical, until we tasted the juicy, super-crunchy chicken that draws crowds and James Beard nods. head. (Credit a 27-hour brine.) Order it in a cookie, in a decadent platter over cheddar waffles and spicy watermelon, or as is – tender, crisp and topped with tangy honey sauce. 901 New York Avenue, NW; 202-333-2450.
Best cocktails to go
Capo Deli | Reader choice
The Fauci Pouchy of this U Street sub-store with a â€œspeakeasyâ€ backroom became a viral sensation during the pandemic. Pick up the Capri Sun-style cocktails, with labels featuring America’s top infectious disease manager, in flavors like mint lemonade and espresso martini. 715 Florida Ave, NW; 202-827-8012.
Best new ice cream
Gourmet restaurant Komi turned into a Greek-inspired vegetarian dish during the pandemic. Tofu skin gyros are great, but the ice cream is a sleeper’s shot. A sidewalk cart serves scoops of chef flavors, such as olive oil with cocoa crumble and strawberry buttermilk with polenta crumble, on sourdough cones. Better yet, buy a pint to go. 1509 17th St., NO; no phone.
Best New Sundae Spot
Goodies owner Brandon Byrd is a perfectionist when it comes to his Wisconsin-style custard, so much so that creamy swirls only have one flavor: vanilla. Byrd becomes more playful in his new store in Alexandria, a first brick and mortar for the owner of the food-truck. We can’t get enough of Boogie Woogie sundae: custard drizzled with crunchy buttered pecans and drizzled with chocolate and caramel sauces – skinny jeans, let them be taken back. 200, rue du Commerce, Alexandria; 202-630-6455.
Best New Food Business
Rose Avenue bakery | Reader choice
Rose Nguyen was a pediatric nurse at the National Children’s Hospital who loved to cook. While maintaining her day job, she honed her cooking skills at restaurants such as Toki Underground and Maketo before launching, in March 2020, her own bakery dedicated to Asian American sweets. We’re fans of donuts (with toppings like pandan and passion fruit) and flaky egg tart – and clearly, as our Instagram poll revealed, so are readers. 1110 Vermont Ave., NW (The Block Food Hall); 202-681-7516.
Best new use of underutilized space
When entrepreneur Ian Callender examines vacant or dilapidated land, he sees an opportunity. The Washington native and his business partner, Kevin Hallums, have opened three vibrant art and entertainment venues in temporarily underused spaces in Southeast DC, Georgetown and Tysons. Everyone is different, but many boast about having food and drink vendors – often black-owned businesses – set up in shipping containers; artistic and cultural events; and a rotating roster of musicians and DJs. The duo continue to partner with developers to activate empty lots before their projects start. Next stop: Sandlot Anacostia, opening in the fall. 71, avenue Potomac, southeast; 2715 Pennsylvania Ave., NW; 1640 Boro Pl., McLean.
Best Ghost Kitchen
Chefs Tim Ma (formerly of Kyirisan and American Son) and Andrew Chiou (ex-Momo Yakitori) have been making some of the region’s most coveted American-Chinese takeout since their Ghost Kitchen launched last fall. The orange beef and crab rangoons are highlights, but the half portions are a great way to taste broadly on the menu. 101 S. Joyce Street, Unit B27, Arlington.
Best new wine bar
There was a time when wine bars felt ho-hum in DC obsessed with cocktails. Then came a wave of exciting and quirky newcomers. Going up the ridge these days: Peyton Sherwood and Frederick Uku’s dream vineyard garden, attached to a fancy bottle shop, all inspired by Bacchanal in New Orleans (so yes, it’s fun and unpretentious. ). Guests – and their dogs – park on a patio or in the tree-lined courtyard and summon bottles of petnat, fresh reds, and friendly magnums via a QR code. The bouquet-shaped meat and cheese planks are rightly famous on Instagram, but a menu from new chef Sam Molavi (ex-Saint-Anselme) also features dishes such as duck confit, crab pasta. royal and fried chicken worthy of champagne at brunch. 3212 Georgia Ave., NW; 202-413-9763.
This article appeared in the September 2021 issue of Washingtonian.