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Washingtonian "Best Restaurants" Issue


Sudhir Seth
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Quite like the new look of the 100 best layout, though with the ads and pictures can be a difficult read. Especially interesting are the comments like WHAT YOU'LL LOVE and WHAT YOU WON'T.

Wish the Post and Washingtonian came up with their recs 6 months apart to give us folks enough time.

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Quite like the new look of the 100 best layout, though with the ads and pictures can be a difficult read. Especially interesting are the comments like WHAT YOU'LL LOVE and WHAT YOU WON'T.

Wish the Post and Washingtonian came up with their recs 6 months apart to give us folks enough time.

I really liked the issue, it was right on the money in most areas, one could get fussy but we all have some different tastes. The new format was much nicer than the old one and made for an easy read. It was a turning point for restaurant reviews in this magazine and a good one. Don Rocwell's article was well done too.(who'd a thought?)

Edited by Giancarlo Buonarotti
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Picked up this issue recently and really enjoyed the format (especially the "What You'll Love" and "What You Won't.")

A little harsh on Corduroy's decor, but all in all, thought the reporting was fair and the writing was strong. And the pictures made me hungry, which is always a good measure of success.

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The Washingtonian annual dining list isn’t worth the spit it takes to moisten your finger to turn the page. Year in, year out, it’s a tough call deciding whether to discard it, to recycle it, or to wipe your ass with it – I would council against the hindmost, as your excrement almost surely deserves a more sophisticated companion to accompany it in its downward spiral.

Cheers,

Rocks.

Dec 20, 2003

(Assume opinions have changed)

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I can't believe how much I liked it! This is weird, but last night, I was tired and wanted to keep reading it, so I had my husband keep reading it to me! Kind of like a bedtime story. :)

Don, I really liked your winelist guide. And even though they still have some of the same writers, Todd's style and substance came shining through. I subscribed to the magazine today solely because of you two.

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From today's Todd Kliman chat:

Todd Kliman:

I'm at liberty to tell you that this year, we've not only assigned stars to the restaurants that made the cut, we've also gone ahead and ranked them.

Yep. Ranked them -- in order, from 1-100.

Why? Besides having a little good, clean mischievous fun?

Because.

Because it's another way of sorting out a crowded field.

Chefs with multiple properties will tell you that all their restaurants are equal -- sort of like parents will tell you that they can't choose a favorite. Well, we don't need to spare feelings. You'll see which of the Blacks' restaurants is the best (hint: It's not the one you might think.)

You'll see which newcomers have cracked the Top 30 (one a relative unknown), and which older, more vaunted places have slipped out of the Top 50.

You'll see which so-called ethnic places are better values, and better experiences, than more conventional fine-dining restaurants.

What else to expect?

A wonderful fold-out cover with the new guard of chefs -- all of them 40 and under -- at a Last Supper-style table setting.

And no, don't ask me or try to bribe me for information... :P

Rocks.

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Sorry to be a wet blanket, but I think it's a lousy idea and every bit as pointless a gimmick as -- oh, I don't know -- say assigning absolute point scores to wine and claiming that's any useful indication of the relative quality of a 92-point Aussie Shiraz versus a 91-point Sancerre. Hey, it's just another way of sorting out a crowded field. :P

Seriously, what's wrong with simply telling people that 2Amys is a very good Italian place and Thai Square is a very good Thai place? Why does anyone have to sit around a conference table pounding Diet Coke and fretting over whether it is the pizza or the pad phrik that most closely approaches the Platonic ideal?

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Seriously, what's wrong with simply telling people that 2Amys is a very good Italian place and Thai Square is a very good Thai place? Why does anyone have to sit around a conference table pounding Diet Coke and fretting over whether it is the pizza or the pad phrik that most closely approaches the Platonic ideal?
Well, it is a clever way to stir up some controversy and publicity - the reality show version of restaurant reviews. Did they let readers decide who to vote off the island? :P
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Just saw a copy at the supermarket.

Michael, congratulations!!!!

Great suit, great smile, and from what I understand, well-deserved honors, indeed.

To the best of my knowledge, "Michael" doesn't know what you're referring to just yet...

...but he will soon enough. Congratulations! :P

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Citronelle, Maestro, CityZen (four stars), Palena, Minibar, Eve, Inn at Little Washington, 2941, Marcel's, Komi (three and a half stars), Vidalia, Charlie Palmer Steak, Colvin Run, Corduroy, Le Paradou, The Inn at Easton, Kinkead's, Blue Duck Tavern, Sushi-Ko, Passage to India, Saravana Palace, Mendocino, Obelisk, Gerard's Place and Ray's the Classics (three stars) round out the top 25 in numerical order. Bebo is #34, Ray's the Steaks 38, The Prime Rib 43, Black Market Bistro (the highest rated of the Blacks) 59 with Black Salt 61, Foti's 71 and Black's Bar and Kitchen 83 among the more interesting notes in this subjective listing.

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At the risk of turning this into the "Let's give Michael L. a pat on the back" thread...Congratulations Michael. A well deserved award...and to RJ Cooper, congratulations as well.
I haven't seen Washingtonian yet (and I imagine a bunch of others haven't either). Can someone clue us clueless ones in?!
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I haven't seen Washingtonian yet (and I imagine a bunch of others haven't either). Can someone clue us clueless ones in?!
Washingtonian came out in the December issue with the "top 100 restaurants". Michael gets two mentions, RJ Cooper (along with Cathal and a slew of others is on the cover). My favorite Korean restaurant made the list at #100...Gom Ba Woo. Lots of interesting reading. You might want to pick it up just to see if you agree or disagree with the selections.
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Washingtonian came out in the December issue with the "top 100 restaurants". Michael gets two mentions, RJ Cooper (along with Cathal and a slew of others is on the cover). My favorite Korean restaurant made the list at #100...Gom Ba Woo. Lots of interesting reading. You might want to pick it up just to see if you agree or disagree with the selections.
Thank you! I actually subscribe, am just on the road and my OCD makes me hate being out of the loop.

Congrats Michael, WELL deserved!

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I dig the concept of the rankings. And, for the most part, I like the list and the choices of what was included and what wasn't. But it could have used some better editing. For example, Mourayo ("Coming in at Number 48 on our countdown of Hot Kitchens!") notes how "prices are high -- entrees lurk in the mid-$20's" but at the end it labels the restaurant "Moderate" and indicates that entrees are $14.95 to $23.95. If the entrees lurk in the mid-$20's there must be a hell of a lot of them between $23.00 and $23.95.

There are a few other examples. Some are more subjective, too. For example, Ray's the Steaks is listed as "Expensive." As everyone here knows, it should more fairly read: "Expensive, but......."

Categorizing the "Price Range" as they do just seems wrong. It seems to me that if a restaurant has 50 dishes priced under $20 but one over $40 it will get listed as Very Expensive. Perhaps there's a way to work it out as "Average Price" in the 2008 edition.

You must've misread. That's actually BLTs-Teak, the sandwich concept from our very own Jill Cheese Lady!

Oy. :P Fetch me my gun so I can put this out of its misery. :D

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I'm disappointed that not a single woman was on the cover.
I'm with you. Don't get me wrong; I wouldn't have wanted them to pick a random woman to include in an effort to round out the cover, but it's disappointing that there apparently isn't a single young female chef in the region that they deem qualified enough to play on the same level with these boys.
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I am wombat, hear me roar

Remember I'm an herbivore

And in snow I have to forage, root, and fend

I eat grasses, herbs, and more

And though I think it's such a chore

No one's ever gonna keep me cooped or penned

Oh yes I am wise

In the summer I hoard grain

Yes, I've stored some rice

And look how much I've gained

If I have to, I can eat anything

I have claws (claws!)

I'm a marsupial (marsupial!)

I am wombat

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DonRocks said:
I am wombat, hear me roar

Remember I'm an herbivore

And in snow I have to forage, root, and fend

I eat grasses, herbs, and more

And though I think it's such a chore

No one's ever gonna keep me cooped or penned

Oh yes I am wise

In the summer I hoard grain

Yes, I've stored some rice

And look how much I've gained

If I have to, I can eat anything

I have claws (claws!)

I'm a marsupial (marsupial!)

I am wombat

Y'know, I'm kinda bored and looking for something to do right now. Clearly there's a party going on somewhere......

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In addition to Koji (who you can see if you open up the cover flap), Morou Ouatarra is on the cover as well.
Koji and Mourou, out of how many? And I couldn't think of anyone other than Jamie Leeds either, since Ris left 1789. I bet most of us could probably come up with the names of half a dozen pastry chefs, since that has been more welcoming to women. It's probably both the nature of the business and the nature of the city dining scene. Washington's reputation for culinary creativity has been rapidly evolving in the last 10-15 years though so maybe it will change.

And Tom Power totally should have been included on the cover.

The issue is enjoyable (still dubious about the rankings though) and congratulations to everyone who made the cut. Maybe next time they can throw in some long-distance dedications. "Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars." :P

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I bet most of us could probably come up with the names of half a dozen pastry chefs, since that has been more welcoming to women. It's probably both the nature of the business and the nature of the city dining scene.

I can understand the former, but how so the latter? I can't see DC diners neglecting a restaurant simply because the chef is a woman...Ris wasn't exactly hurting for fans, was she? Greenwood has her detractors, but not because of her food.

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FYI: The magazine caught my eye because of the demographics, too. I fear it's the nature of the profession more than the local scene alone. Remember, Ris Lacoste is still searching for a place to call her own.

Dave: I cannot speak for Heather, however, I suspect the reference to "welcoming" alludes to the kitchen rather than the dining room. I'd like to know what the statistics are regarding catering. I'd imagine they are reversed.

There have been quite a few threads on eGullet about the topic and I suspect, a bibliography could be compiled, complete with statistics and charting of trends. Today's not the best day for heavy-duty thinking and typing, but the situation is also due to the perceptions of girls and young women as to the desirability of such work.

Yet, you'll find in many professions that rely on an apprentice-system or on-the-job training, female leaders are rare. Construction. Carpentry. Plumbing. I'm drawing a blank on current examples not classified as "blue collar" or manual labor, but that is a related factor.

Off-the-top of my head, the best counterpart I can think of is a profession that is considered less than mainstream. How many of you can name ten living visual artists who are major figures in their fields? Ten major, living artists who are women? I'd nonetheless argue that there are many more these days than when the Gorilla Girls first started protesting the sexism of the art world back in the 60s and 70s. Why? Studio Art has emerged as an academic discipline in colleges and universities throughout the country, and not just in independent art schools. The growth of major departments in Studio Art runs parallel to the rise in the numbers of girls who applied to college, and the increasing numbers of female college students who come from classes other than Upper. These are all developments of the 1920s, onward, a rise that increases most significantly in the 30s and 40s (i.e., re departments vs. female students). You could say similar things about movie directors and film departments at NYU, USC, UCLA, etc. In the case of sculpture & painting in particular, artists rose from the status of mere laborer to Creative Genius with fame, social standing, etc. long, long, long before many women considered themselves professionals. This is not a perfect comparison and I do have to run so I can't fill in all the blanks. However, chefs have only recently become rock stars and line cooks still lack the prestige that accountants have.

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