The Bungalow Lakehouse. Former Central executive chef Jason Maddens drives the kitchen at this waterside restaurant, which boasts a saloon, cigar lounge, 220-seat dining room, and vast outdoor terrace. Like his mentor, Michel Richard, Maddens draws inspiration from both sides of the Atlantic—French staples such as rillettes and steak tartare are listed alongside roast chicken and barbecue-pork-belly flatbread. 46116 Lake Center Plaza, Sterling; 703-430-7625.
Haute Dogs & Fries. Lionel Holmes and Pamela Swanson—owners of the original Purcellville location of this much-loved hot-dog spot—have brought their franks and Virginia-made sausages to Old Town. Go traditional with chili and cheese or a simply grilled lamb sausage, or choose wilder combinations like tropical fruit and caramelized onions. Don’t miss the hot-fudge sundae in a sugar-dusted bun. 610 Montgomery St., Alexandria; 703-548-3891.
Leek American Bistro. Table linens and gratis breadbaskets are part of veteran chef Nathan Spittal’s vision of “old school” hospitality, but there’s no stuffiness at this neighborhood spot, which puts out regional sandwiches such as lobster rolls and Louisville hot browns (roast turkey, bacon, and Mornay sauce). An appetizer of green-chili biscuits with Carolina-style pulled pork harks back to Spittal’s past—he owned the BBQ Bandidos food truck. 801 N. Quincy St., Arlington; 571-312-4036.
Trademark. At this sleek bar attached to the Westin Hotel, former PX manager Christopher Bassett shakes and stirs antique cocktails, occasionally throwing in little surprises: Pomegranate juice, for instance, punches up his Old Fashioned. British chef Matthew Miller helps stave off a hangover with seafood pot pie and fried-pickle-topped mac and cheese. 2080 Jamieson Ave., Alexandria; 703-253-8640.
A&D. Ali Bagheri and Dan O’Brien—behind the Shaw market/supper club Seasonal Pantry and sandwich shop Sundevich—have unveiled a no-frills pub next door. On the chalkboard menus: craft brews and classic cocktails alongside pickled eggs and potato-chip poutine. 1314 Ninth St., NW; 202-290-1804.
DGS Delicatessen. You’ll find matzo-ball soup and pastrami at this Dupont Circle deli, but Jewish classics are just the start. Barry Koslow is also turning out Tunisian-spiced short ribs and “eggs Benedictberg”—latkes layered with smoked salmon and sumac hollandaise. 1317 Connecticut Ave., NW; 202-293-4400.
Range. Bryan Voltaggio takes a break from building his mini-empire in Frederick—which now includes Volt, Family Meal, and Lunchbox—to launch this 300-seat dining room in Chevy Chase Pavilion. Meats, whether wood-fired at a rotisserie station or cured for salumi, are the focus, but also look for a retail shop and a sprawling raw bar featuring Chesapeake shellfish. 5335 Wisconsin Ave, NW.
Taan. The noodle-slurping craze continues with this ramen house run by chef Jonathan Bisagni, whose résumé includes Kushi and Toki Underground. He tweaks tradition with such soup toppings as duck confit and crispy shallots and a lineup of small plates including fried green tomatoes in uni hollandaise. 1817 Columbia Rd., NW; 202-450-2416.
Woodward Table. It’s been 15 years since Vidalia and Bistro Bis chef/owner Jeffrey Buben opened a new restaurant, and this project—a 230-seat place primed for White House-area power players—is his largest yet. Southern-with-a-twist plates include pan-roasted lobster with grits as well as turtle bisque. A takeout shop dishes up fried-chicken biscuits with smoked honey butter and country-ham flatbread with bacon marmalade. 1426 H St., NW; 202-347-5353.
Himalayan Heritage. Nepalese dumplings, vegetarian stews, and Indian biryanis arrive in Bethesda courtesy of this spinoff of the Adams Morgan original. One thing that sets it apart from its DC sibling: a space for outdoor dining in warmer months. 4925 Bethesda Ave., Bethesda; 301-654-1858.
The Grilled Oyster Company. Oysters come raw, grilled, fried, and even drenched in chili hollandaise at this seafood restaurant in the Cabin John Shopping Center. Beyond bivalves, there are bigger plates bearing balsamic-marinated chicken and Chesapeakecioppino with crab and rockfish. 7943 Tuckerman La., Potomac; 301-299-9888.
Wildwood Kitchen. You won’t find the strapping Belgian fare of Brasserie Beck or Mussel Bar at Robert Wiedmaier’s fifth Washington venture. The wainscotted dining room eschews butter and cream in favor of Mediterranean-leaning dishes such as seared sea bream with ratatouille and linguine with chanterelles and clams. 10223 Old Georgetown Rd., Bethesda; 301-571-1700.
2013 Restaurant Preview: Coming Soon
This article appears in the January 2013 issue of The Washingtonian.