Pizza and Beer
DC’s version of the artisanal pie originated at Dupont Circle’s Pizzeria Paradiso, and the Georgetown spinoff (3282 M St., NW; 202-337-1245) offers the same blistered crusts and inspired toppings. We go for the Atomica—salami with black olives and red-pepper flakes—or the Bottarga, with salty sprinkles of Parmesan and red-mullet roe. To accompany the pizza, there are 16 beers on tap plus a bottled lineup of Belgian tripels, German bocks, and British stouts.
Lobster pot pies for $85 and $145 steaks rule the dining-room menu at celeb chef Michael Mina’s Bourbon Steak (Four Seasons Hotel, 2800 Pennsylvania Ave., NW; 202-944-2026), but the fare in the lounge revels in a different sort of excess—the caloric kind. You can sip a Hemingway daiquiri or a pomegranate sidecar while enjoying high-rolling versions of carnival treats: fried pickles, lobster corn dogs, duck-fat-fried French fries, truffle-dusted popcorn. Need a break from the cholesterol? The ahi-tuna tartare, one of our favorites in the dining room, is available at the bar.
Chefs to Watch
What happens when you let a couple of twentysomethings loose in the kitchen of one of the city’s most venerable restaurants? Really good things, in the case of chef Daniel Giusti, 24, and pastry chef Travis Olsen, 26, who are now running the show at 1789 (1226 36th St., NW; 202-965-1789). Giusti mixes the traditional (a classic oyster gratin) with the gently boundary-pushing (nettle soup with beer-battered snails and Irish Coolea cheese). Olsen’s sweets share the old-meets-new sensibility: A cannoli is filled with star-anise cream and candied fennel, and an ice-cream sandwich is made from Turkish-coffee ice cream and brioche.
Dose of Serenity
Walking into Ching Ching Cha (1063 Wisconsin Ave., NW; 202-333-8288), we instinctively make sure our cell phone is on vibrate. The Chinese-style teahouse is as calming as a yoga class. A short snack menu is worthwhile for the five-spice peanuts and boiled, tea-and-soy-sauce-marinated eggs, but the reason to come is the tea selection, which ranges from a glass pot of softly scented chrysanthemum blossoms to an elaborate service of pungent aged pu-erh.
Way to Cool Off
At the Argentinean-style gelato shop Dolcezza (1560 Wisconsin Ave., NW; 202-333-4646), the chocolate is Valrhona, the coffee comes from North Carolina’s esteemed Counter Culture, and the pistachios are flown in from Sicily. So it stands to reason that the place would seek out the best-quality fruits for its icy sorbetto. You can taste the difference in flavors such as blood orange, Champagne-mango, and Thai coconut milk, which is delicious paired with lime.
You can be as virtuous as you want with the light salads and spare seafood dishes at Hook (3241 M St., NW; 202-625-4488). But when dessert rolls around, good luck. Pastry chef Heather Chittum’s sweets—a classic lingonberry linzertorte with Taleggio ice cream, a standout chocolate pudding, a riff on s’mores—are tough enough to choose among, much less resist.