Hey, readers! We’ve got a New Year’s resolution—to improve our Best Bites blog—and we need your help. We want to know who you are and what you want to see more of on Washingtonian.com’s food section. New-restaurant information? Chats with chefs? Recipes? As a way to say thanks, we’re offering one lucky survey participant a $100 gift certificate to Old Town’s Bastille Restaurant , which landed on our newest 100 Very Best Restaurants list for its country French cooking, great wine list, and intimate feel. Click here to take the survey.
In restaurant critic Todd Kliman's chat today, a reader asked, "In your opinion, are there any Michelin-quality restaurants in Washington? If so, which ones would make the list?" The Europe-based guide, whose stars—restaurants can earn up to three—are some of the highest honors in the international dining world, has American editions in New York, Chicago, and San Francisco. Kliman noted that there are fewer and fewer restaurants in Washington that practice the "very formal, very highly orchestrated service" that Michelin reviewers reward. But, he said, that's "a good thing. I don't equate that sort of formality with quality." If the guide were to come here, Kliman guesses that the following restaurants would be included: Citronelle, Inn at Little Washington, Adour, the Source, Restaurant Eve, CityZen, and Minibar. What do you think: Should Michelin review Washington restaurants? If so, which places should get one star, two stars, or three stars?
Prince of Petworth reported yesterday that there was talk among DC officials about putting the kibosh on the city's rapidly growing fleet of food trucks in light of tension between them and brick-and-mortar restaurants. Ward 4 council member Muriel Bowser e-mailed PoP to say she opposed a moratorium, but the trucks' sales tax was an issue. A DC Chamber of Commerce spokesperson told the Washington City Paper that her organization, the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington, and the Apartment and Office Building Association are asking for a cap on the number of trucks that can roam the city. What do you think? Are these groups justified in asking for those limitations?
In the first few weeks of a restaurant's life, there are inevitably hiccups—slow service, too much salt here, too little pepper there. Such was the case for one reader who participated in restaurant critic Todd Kliman's chat today, talking about an experience at the newly opened Michel by Michel Richard in Tysons Corner. "Shrimp dish was very poor," the reader wrote, "something you would get at Red Lobster. . . .We spent $245 for 2 people. I think Michel has a bomb here." Following Kliman's response (which included a "caution about writing the obituary of a place that just opened and, because of that—and because of the towering reputation of its chef—deserves the time to find itself."), readers went back and forth on visiting a restaurant in its infancy. We want to know what you think: Is it fair to pass judgment on a brand-new restaurant? Does your opinion change if a meal costs $245 for two people?
"I'm wondering about the phenom and success of the small-plates concept," wrote a reader in restaurant critic Todd Kliman's chat today. "It's a trend that outlived what I had anticipated." Kliman, who says he loves the small-plates way of eating, suggests that it's a "move away from traditional Western-style dining . . . the idea that a plate must consist of a protein and starch and perhaps a vegetable to round things out." He agrees with the reader that the bill at small-plates restaurants ends up being higher than you might expect with low-ticket items—"deceptively not-cheap," as Kliman says. What do you think of small plates? Are you happy that the trend isn't dying? Or would you rather see them go the way of the appletini?
In restaurant critic Todd Kliman's chat today, a reader wrote in to say that his or her meal at the brand-new Michel by Michel Richard in Tysons Corner "did not live up the hype." The diner mentioned that the "prices are very high for a limited menu." It got us thinking about all the hype—Twitter breaking news, blog posts, reviews, etc.—that surrounds a restaurant, particularly a new one. We want to know if you think lots of buzz is synonymous with excellence. Which restaurants are worth the hype?
Even though summer has come and gone, it seems that there are more lobster rolls on Washington menus than ever before. They're everywhere from white-tablecloth restaurants (Kinkead's, Bourbon Steak) to neighborhood joints (Hank's Oyster Bar, Liberty Tree) to gussied-up seafood shacks (Tackle Box). And of course, there's the Red Hook Lobster Pound truck, whose rabid followers clog up sidewalks from downtown DC to L'Enfant Plaza. We want to know: What's your favorite lobster roll in Washington?
In today's chat with restaurant critic Todd Kliman, he and a number of chatters weighed in on the kinds of food preferences or restaurant behavior that would be relationship dealbreakers. "Restaurant Refugee," a regular on the chat, listed "order a steak well done," "suggesting Lauriol Plaza for anything unless under duress," and "an unwillingness to eat at a divey bar or restaurant," among others. We'd second those and add "refusal to share dishes." We want to know: When it comes to food and restaurants, what would you consider a relationship dealbreaker?
Fall officially starts tomorrow, but we're in the midst of a warm but not humid Indian summer. In other words, the perfect weather for a picnic—and what better food to stock your basket with than fried chicken? Washington may not be totally southern, but we do have our fair share of the crispy birds: Popeye's, KFC, Bar Pilar, Oohhs & Aahhs, Bon Chon Chicken, and Central, just to name a few. We want to know: What's your favorite fried chicken?
Tomorrow is the finale of Top Chef DC, and if the previews are any indication, it looks like the episode has Bravo's standard dose of drama. This time it's a bed-ridden Angelo and cameos by former TC wininers, such as Michael Voltaggio and Hung Huynh. We want to know: Who do you think will take the prize? And while you're at it, let us know if you're excited for the finale or just happy the show is coming to an end.