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Degrees at the Ritz-Carlton toys with the cult burger. By Anna Spiegel
Love ramen and burgers? Try them together, at last, in miniature form. Photograph courtesy of the Ritz-Carlton.

Move over, cronuts and attendant “doissant” knockoffs: Another food with a cult-like following is getting spun in DC. Degrees at the Ritz-Carlton Georgetown revamped its menu earlier this week, and now features ramen sliders. The original ramen burger from chef Keizo Shimamoto caused hours-long waits and crowds of thousands when it was served at food festivals in New York and Los Angeles, and has become the white whale of the meat-and-bun world.

The full-size original features a “ramen bun” made of fried noodles, which hugs a beef burger, scallions, arugula, and shoyu sauce. The miniature version from Ritz chef Quang Duong differs in size as well as toppings. Two petite patties arrive garnished with hoisin, Sriracha aïoli, lettuce, and tomato. The noodle bun (the essence of the ramen burger) is a similar makeup of bound ramen noodles, with each half getting a light sear for crunch. 

The soup-burger hybrid isn’t the only mashup—or en trend dish—on Quang’s new menu. Influenced by his Asian and French cooking background, you’ll find dishes such as a duck confit bánh mì and French onion soup dumplings—xiaolongbao (steamed buns) filled with soupe à l’oignon and topped with melted Gruyère and a brioche crouton. New cocktails also reflect popular trends. Ever had a shot of Fireball whiskey, one of the current “it” shooters of the college crowd? Well, now you can try the house-made (and, shall we say, handcrafted) version, wherein Maker’s Mark is infused with cinnamon and mixed into a Manhattan-like cocktail. I’ll take mine by the fire. 

Posted at 02:28 PM/ET, 11/08/2013 | Permalink | Comments ()
People are waiting hours for cronuts. How long would you queue for Washington’s best? By Anna Spiegel

This morning, Eater National posted a pretty insane picture of people standing in line for hours to buy the trademarked cronuts from Dominique Ansel bakery in New York City. The croissant-doughnut hybrids have been selling like, well, cronuts (who orders hotcakes anymore?), and the bakery now suggests lining up two hours prior to its 8 AM opening for a chance at the pastries. (Note: There’s a two-per-person limit.)

To the poll!

Posted at 12:40 PM/ET, 07/03/2013 | Permalink | Comments ()
The holiday presents an excellent opportunity to try a new dim sum or hot-pot spot. By Jessica Voelker

Dan-dan noodles at Red Pearl in Columbia. Photograph by Scott Suchman.

Going out for Chinese on Christmas Day is a time-honored tradition among Jewish people, since Chinese restaurants almost always remain open on December 24 and 25. These days, a lot of other sorts of restaurants serve through the holidays (see our full roundup here), but since the Washington area’s best Chinese restaurants are fairly far-flung, the season presents the chance to travel to a new neighborhood. Inspired by a recent post on New York’s Grub Street blog, we thought we’d share eleven of Todd Kliman’s favorite Chinese restaurants in the area—all of which are open on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Enjoy.

Head to A & J Restaurant in Annandale and Rockville for Northern Chinese dim sum.

Dumplings are the star of the show at Rockville’s China Bistro, where the dough is made fresh several times each day.

There are two menus at China Jade in Rockville; ask for the other one.

Hong Kong Palace is the Falls Church spot for Szechuanese dishes.

High-quality ingredients elevate the Cantonese, Szechuan, Malaysian, and Burmese dishes at Jesse Wong’s Asean Bistro in Columbia.

Head to Michael’s Noodles in Rockville for Hainan chicken rice and pan-sautéed dumplings glazed with chili oil.

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Posted at 01:56 PM/ET, 12/20/2011 | Permalink | Comments ()
Chef Billy Klein serves up an homage to his favorite Chinese takeout. By Anna Spiegel

The dish in question: General Tso's Sweetbreads by Billy Klein. Photograph by Erik Uecke

The Washington Post reports that Great Wall Szechuan House on 14th Street is getting a makeover to become “something more than a take-out,” providing diners more seating room to sample chef Yuan Chen’s fiery Szechuan cooking. But some of Great Wall’s neighbors, among them chef Billy Klein of Café Saint-Ex, are addicted to the Chinese-American fare that the foodies pass over for the more “authentic” menu. In fact, Klein has ordered the same thing at least once a week for the past ten years: General Tso’s Chicken.

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Posted at 04:18 PM/ET, 11/30/2011 | Permalink | Comments ()
Sloppy Joe tops the Biden, while the Birth Certificate sports Spam. Chef Victor Albisu's new sandwiches are very much inside the Beltway. By Anna Spiegel

The BLT Monument comes topped with bacon, lettuce, tomato, cheddar, and a giant onion ring. Photographs by Erik Uecke.

BLT Steak is a prime haunt for spying politicos, and now you can spot them on the menu, as well. Chef Victor Albisu, a self-proclaimed C-SPAN junkie, just debuted a lunchtime burger menu, and each sandwich is named after players and events in the political scene.

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Posted at 06:12 PM/ET, 11/09/2011 | Permalink | Comments ()
A quick round-up of local establishments offering pumpkin-flavored drinks this fall. By Sarah Zlotnick

Look away, coffee snobs. While we may not understand the excitement over the return of the McRib (what’s with that, people?), there is one chain restaurant product to which we have an inexplicable, slightly shame-inducing addiction: the pumpkin spice latte. In autumns past, we’ve begrudgingly braved the morning lines that snake around Starbucks more times than we’d care to admit for a hit of that toasty-sweet goodness. But this year, the folks in tents down at Occupy DC have us rethinking where we should spend our hard-earned cash. For those looking to spread the love to some local establishments, here’s a quick rundown of other Washington-area coffee shops ready to satiate your pumpkin spice craving.

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Posted at 04:23 PM/ET, 11/07/2011 | Permalink | Comments ()
So what'll it be—the Dragon Tit or the Pelvic Floor Rickey? By Anna Spiegel

Want your Killer Cakes with bloody-looking strawberries? Photograph by Scott Suchman

Coming up with a good cookbook title can be challenging (remember Cooking With Pooh?), and the same goes for restaurant dishes. While they may be perfectly tasty, here are eight of Washington’s most dubiously named offerings, all on a menu near you.

Sun Drenched Tropical Salad
Where: Pusser’s Caribbean Grille in Annapolis
Remember when you left the salad out during a picnic and it got all sun-drenched—that is, wilted and hot?

Braised Wrinkled String Bean
Where: Spices in DC’s Cleveland Park
The idea of a lone, wizened bean isn’t all that appealing. Even one cooked with Szechuan-preserved vegetables.

Memphis Glamburger
Where: Cheesecake Factory (multiple area locations)
Nothing says glamour like a hefty patty that’s topped with pulled-pork barbecue, coleslaw, mayonnaise, and melted cheddar.

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Posted at 11:14 AM/ET, 10/05/2011 | Permalink | Comments ()
PS 7's is whipping up cupcakes dunked in gin, rum, rye, and other liquors. By Anna Spiegel

The Midas Touch cupcake, a toffee-pear cake with 12 year rum and almond creme, and the Headless Horseman, a pumpkin-walnut cupcake with Blanton's Bourbon and cream-cheese frosting. Photograph by Anna Spiegel

Washington is saturated with cupcake shops, but PS 7’s bartender Gina Chersevani and pastry chef Lauren Whitledge have managed to make a worthy contribution: alcohol-packed sweets they call “cuptails.”

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Posted at 05:57 PM/ET, 10/04/2011 | Permalink | Comments ()
When it comes to restaurants, bars, and food trucks, their Web sites generally aren't a strong suit. We sat through many a tedious Flash intro and endured plenty of bad electronica to find 12 of the worst offenders around Washington. By Anna Spiegel

What, this doesn't make you crave sushi?

Bar-Cöde
If the Düsseldorf Airport bar had a Facebook page...

Bond 45 
Sick of others stealing its raw veal from the fridge, Bond 45 started labeling.

Cafe Bonaparte/Napoleon Bistro
The eerie music and disembodied head following our mouse make us wonder whether these places are French bistros or French haunted houses.

Eggspectation
The sung tale of a yak-child who opened an egg-themed version of Friday's. 

Hello, Cupcake (book Web site)
Hello, sensory overload!

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Posted at 11:57 AM/ET, 09/08/2011 | Permalink | Comments ()
Our intrepid taster samples lobster rolls many are afraid to try—from Subway, Au Bon Pain, Panera, and Marvelous Market. At least she didn't have to eat a McLobster? By Anna Spiegel

Clockwise from top left: Marvelous Market's scallion-covered roll; Au Bon Pain's croissant sandwich; Panera's ciabatta version; and Subway's "Seafood Sensation." Photograph by Kyle Gustafson.

Lobster rolls are everywhere, and it was only a matter of time before national and local chains started cashing in on the trend. Sadly, you can't get a McLobster sandwich in these parts, but there is still plenty of crustacean action to be found for those who can't stand the lines at the Red Hook Lobster Pound Truck. We tested offerings from four places, ranking them from best to worst (so you never have to). All restaurants have multiple area locations.

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Posted at 01:47 PM/ET, 08/31/2011 | Permalink | Comments ()