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I feel like Komi has been slipping* in Sietsema's rankings.  The format has stayed the same for years now.  And as amazing as the grand finale is, has that changed that much recently?

So far in the top ten, only Minibar is a restaurant that has been around for more than a couple of years.  All the rest are shiny and new (relatively speaking).   

*I of course don't think it's slipping.  It's still my favorite restaurant in DC.

I'll go TuG for the win.

But of course I could be wrong :lol:

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It's pretty common for a restaurant to have more than one varietal by the same producer on the menu - I've gotten mildly stung by this type of miscommunication at least several times in my life (if yo

While on this topic, can I just say- as I get a little older, I REALLY appreciate when there are dots or lines across a wine list from the name to the price in some way.  Big wine lists can be more ta

I agree that it really is the customer's responsibility to make it clear to the server what wine they want. I am not saying the server should not take it on themselves to be clear - they should. But i

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2 hours ago, Tujague said:

Y'all know that he loves Rasika. But I wouldn't count out Arroz as an underdog choice.

I think highly of Rasika, but that would be a very disappointing, somewhat absurd, choice.  I thought about the Dabney, but figured that Tail Up Goat is more likely along those lines.  Arroz is an interesting thought--I haven't been there yet, in part because I'm wary of the Isabella Industry.  

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4 minutes ago, Marty L. said:

I think highly of Rasika, but that would be a very disappointing, somewhat absurd, choice.  I thought about the Dabney, but figured that Tail Up Goat is more likely along those lines.  Arroz is an interesting thought--I haven't been there yet, in part because I'm wary of the Isabella Industry.  

It occurred to me in part because he's recommended it a lot this past year in his chats. I've shared your skepticism about Isabella, but my visit there convinced me he's the real deal. And, with the big article in the NY Times about Isabella yesterday, this feels like his moment.

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4 minutes ago, Tujague said:

It occurred to me in part because he's recommended it a lot this past year in his chats. I've shared your skepticism about Isabella, but my visit there convinced me he's the real deal. And, with the big article in the NY Times about Isabella yesterday, this feels like his moment.

OK, you've persuaded me -- Arroz.  Which means that TuG, Komi and LS, as well as Fiola Mare and Kinship, won't make the top 10, which is a bit silly (albeit par for the course).

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23 hours ago, Tujague said:

And we're all wrong; the winner is . . . The Inn at Little Washington.

It's an odd list: four high-end places, four Asian establishments, and, at numbers 9 and 10, a couple of slots that reasonably might have taken by any number of restaurants.

It was an odd review...  The Inn seemed to score a lot of bonus points for the overnight stay, which most restaurants couldn't compete with.  Not that this is the first time he's expressed a fondness for the cooking, but it seemed a bit skewed.

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On 10/12/2017 at 10:12 AM, genericeric said:

It was an odd review...  The Inn seemed to score a lot of bonus points for the overnight stay, which most restaurants couldn't compete with.  Not that this is the first time he's expressed a fondness for the cooking, but it seemed a bit skewed.

The review in the print magazine is quite a bit longer than the early online piece, and focuses more on the food. The online version basically was the first and last paragraphs.

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Q: Should my server tell me I just ordered really expensive wine?
Hi Tom- I had dinner at Bresca on Friday night. The food was excellent, as always, and the service was good - with one exception. I was tasked with ordering the wine, and I selected a $60 bottle of pinot noir. When I ordered it - saying just "the pinot noir" - our server asked if I meant the "Hirsch." I said yes, recalling only one pinot on the menu. Fast forward through several delicious courses (striped bass! ravioli with English peas! white asparagus salad!), and two bottles of wine, and our bill is much more than we expected. It turns out the wine we drank was $146 per bottle - a second pinot noir on the menu. There's no question that I agreed when he asked if I wanted the "Hirsch," but it left us all with a sour taste in our mouth - almost like we'd be tricked into spending $200 more than we intended. I politely asked to confirm the price, we paid and tipped appropriately (18% on the full total), and headed home (on the bus, I might add). We didn't speak to management while we were in the restaurant, but I did send them an email later that evening. My email did not request a refund or anything of the sort, but to let them know that what was otherwise a great meal left us all feeling a little weird and embarrassed - and to suggest that perhaps they speak to their servers to avoid it in the future. As of my writing (I wrote Bresca on Friday night, and its currently Tuesday morning) I haven't heard back. My question to you is this: did our server commit a faux pas? Should he have asked "did you mean X or Y?" where there is a such a disparate price between the bottles? Or does a diner bear all responsibility in this? I value your insight into all things DC dining, and would appreciate your thoughts!

A: Tom Sietsema
This has happened to me, too, so I sympathize. The lesson here is for *everyone* to be more vigilant. You, thinking there was but one pinot noir on the menu, could have reconfirmed that. The server, knowing there were two pinot noirs, should have mentioned them both (and just to make sure, he should have pointed to them on the list, which would have given you the chance to note the price differential). 

This is an easily avoidable mistake that really is the responsibility of the person placing the order, not the server.  Why try to pin the blame on someone else?  And did Tom more or less tell the poster that the server was at fault too?

ETA - I'm not sure that 18% tip is appropriate at a Michelin starred restaurant in the U.S.  I've been tipping 20% at any sit-down restaurant in the U.S.

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25 minutes ago, Ericandblueboy said:

This is an easily avoidable mistake that really is the responsibility of the person placing the order, not the server.  Why try to pin the blame on someone else?  And did Tom more or less tell the poster that the server was at fault too?

I would agree. If there was only one pinot on the list, why would the server even say "The Hirsch"? He'd just say, "The pinot, very good sir." As soon as he said "The Hirsch," the diner should have thought, wait, there's more than one pinot? I better check this out.

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Looking at the Bresca wine list online (assuming the online list is current of course) there are actually two Hirsch pinots on the menu: 

Hirsch East Ridge $146

Hirsch San Andreas Fault $50, as a demi bottle

In addition to the Hubert Brochard $54 (guessing this is what the poster wanted to order)

and, two pinots under the rose section:  Domaine Charles Audoin $82, Craccioli Cellars 500 ML $56

A little bit of clarity from both the diner and the server would have gone a long way here.

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While on this topic, can I just say- as I get a little older, I REALLY appreciate when there are dots or lines across a wine list from the name to the price in some way.  Big wine lists can be more taxing on my vision than they used to be.  And when I am out with my Mom, even with her readers on she really can have trouble reading the smaller print on some wine lists.  I really like when the server reconfirms the maker and type of wine, and when they discreetly confirm the price on the menu by pointing to it, as well. I have once ordered a more expensive bottle than I meant to based on just not going across correctly in terms of the price.  It wasn't as big of a difference as the above, and it was fine and we liked the wine, but it is never fun to have that kind of surprise when dining out.

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Q:  "I do not accept freebies." ALL of your meals are freebies.

A:  False. The Washington Post pays for them. Just like the media company pays for reporters to cover disasters, concerts, interviews with Cher, presidential visits overseas ... catch my drift?

 I leave the reader to decide who’s clueless.

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On 4/17/2019 at 11:38 AM, Ericandblueboy said:

This is an easily avoidable mistake that really is the responsibility of the person placing the order, not the server.  Why try to pin the blame on someone else?  And did Tom more or less tell the poster that the server was at fault too?

On 4/17/2019 at 12:04 PM, Bob Wells said:

I would agree. If there was only one pinot on the list, why would the server even say "The Hirsch"? He'd just say, "The pinot, very good sir." As soon as he said "The Hirsch," the diner should have thought, wait, there's more than one pinot? I better check this out.

I agree that it really is the customer's responsibility to make it clear to the server what wine they want. I am not saying the server should not take it on themselves to be clear - they should. But it seems in this case they did ask a follow-up question (perhaps a bit too vague?), though clearly the confirmation was imperfect.

I almost always make sure that, when I am the one ordering the wine, I make sure I not only say the words of the wine I want, but I point to it on the wine list so they know exactly which wine I ordered. I also always make sure that the wine that is presented to me before opening is actually the wine I ordered (it is usually not a problem of the completely wrong wine entirely - most often the wrong vintage, or they grabbed the wrong bottling because they had two or more wines from the same producer). That said, on one of the occasions where I did not follow my normal procedure, I ordered a bottle of champagne that was similarly $100 higher than what I thought I was ordering - they made sure to ask.I confirmed. They presented it. I confirmed. I tasted it and accepted it. I continued tasting it for a few minutes and realized the quality was some notches up above what I ordered. But the damage was done since I confirmed everything every step of the way. That is my perspective.

I think the person that posed the question did the restaurant a disservice by not bringing up the mistake (yes even after the meal was done and the surprise tab appeared) at the time it happened. It is entirely possible that the restaurant may have been willing to make some accommodation at the time - they is plenty of buffer in that $146 wine tab for them to, if not just charge you for the bottle you thought you ordered, at least split the difference. I understand people do not want to make a scene or are uncomfortable with the perceived confrontation this might cause - but clearing things up as they happen is in my opinion the best course of action. Just my two cents.

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It's pretty common for a restaurant to have more than one varietal by the same producer on the menu - I've gotten mildly stung by this type of miscommunication at least several times in my life (if you think about it for awhile, it isn't the diner's responsibility to read the entire wine list, and most diners don't have the knowledge to avoid this situation 100% of the time).

One very common "trick of the trade" is for a server (or sommelier) to point to the wine, and say, "You want this Pichon-Lalande, correct?" invariably moving their finger over to the price. It's discreet and effective, and it has never not worked with me.

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2019 new restaurant top 10

1.  Mama Chang (I disagree, I think Xi'an Gourmet is much better)

2.  Punjab Grill (the fact that it's more expensive but not much better than other Indian restaurants was probably lost on Tom since he doesn't actually pay for his meals)

3.  Rooster and Owl - haven't been but due to Tom's plugging, hard to get reservation

4.  Three Blacksmith - never been and no plans to go

5.  El Sapo Cuban Social Club - never been

6.  St. Anselm - probably should be higher on the list

7.  Estuary - Steve and I had a disappointing meal here

8. Sushi Nakazawa - best sushi within 200 miles is only #8 (maybe he's not impressed because it's just another free meal to him)

9.  Little Havana - never been

10.  Gravitas - never been

The best restaurant I've been to recently (and keep going back to) is Officina.

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11 hours ago, Ericandblueboy said:

Tom's best new restaurants.

What doesn't make any sense to me is:

Urban 116 only got 1 star. 

Scotts got 1.5 star.  Same with Osteria Costa.

Why put half-ass restaurants in a "best" list?

Tom explained soemthing about how restaurants were ranked when asked about it on the chat yesterday. I didn't really process it so I don't know if it makes sense to other people.

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4 hours ago, Tweaked said:

Is it a sign that I read through the list over the weekend and was excited about trying none of the restaurants? 

Kinda, yeah, although I'm not sure of what. :)

I've only been to one, Pisco y Nazca, which I really liked, but there are a bunch there that I'd really like to try. 

And yeah, some of the picks are strange, especially Urbano 116, which Tom didn't seem to like at all. 

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Q: The end of Old Town
I don't understand why Urbano 116 even made the dining guide. If you don't recommend it at all, why give it any more play than its review? 

A: Tom Sietsema

My recent spring round-up was *mostly* positive, but I felt obliged to include a few newcomers that had attracted attention for various reasons, Urbano 116 being one of them.  (It's useful to know where NOT to spend your time and money, too, right?) 

I didn't pose the question, btw.  So he includes a restaurant he didn't like in his best new restaurant list because restaurant is owned by a celebrity chef?  Absurd, no?

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5 hours ago, Ericandblueboy said:

I didn't pose the question, btw.  So he includes a restaurant he didn't like in his best new restaurant list because restaurant is owned by a celebrity chef?  Absurd, no?

I thought it was weird.

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7 hours ago, Ericandblueboy said:

I didn't pose the question, btw.  So he includes a restaurant he didn't like in his best new restaurant list because restaurant is owned by a celebrity chef?  Absurd, no?

It's not a best new restaurants list. It's a dining guide. He says he focused on 30 newcomers and ranked his ten favorites.

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This week's review of Cherry (not written by Tom S) is oddly timed at best, bordering on a cheap shot at worst.  

I agree with the written sentiment that restaurants need to provide the same experience whether the head chef is in the kitchen or not.  That being said, it seems unnecessary to distribute a full length review of a new restaurant whose head chef is on a temporary medical leave instead of simply waiting a few more weeks for the chef to return.  Was this restaurant so hotly anticipated, and the city so short of other review opportunities, that the Post felt compelled to rush?  And what value does it provide readers a review of an experience that the publication acknowledges may be quite different in a matter of weeks?

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I hadn't seen the review of Cherry yet. I'd only read Reiley's business of food articles, which I've liked. Her writing is really extraordinary here. Wow. She has quite a history as a restaurant reviewer, it seems.

This is the lobby restaurant in the W Hotel that's open for 3 meals a day. It's a show piece of the hotel redesign. That makes it fair game, whether the chef is there or not. I think the case for publishing is bolstered by fact that the review has criticisms of the vision behind some of the dishes and drinks (which is the same, regardless of who is executing) and the service. The vision is tied to the underlying concept of the restaurant. She also points out things that seem anomalous, such as the fancy grill set up being promoted for what it will do for their dry-aged steaks, yet there's only one steak on the menu and one burger. There are also dishes she likes, the vegetarian option, for instance.

I look forward to reading more of her reviews.

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