There are entire categories of food nobody wants to look at once Washington’s punishing heat has set it. These dishes do not fall into any of them. Order them alongside a chilled glass of red or white, and the meal may just save you on a scorching day.
Duck terrine at Le Diplomate
Of all the food I’ve tried at Stephen Starr’s 14th Street spot—with the exception of the insanely delicious contents of the French bistro’s bread basket—this duck terrine stands out for its subtle seasoning and perfect texture. They should sell it to go because, like a bottle of dry, sparkling rosé, it belongs at every picnic.
Smoked-ricotta crostini with balsamic butter and truffled honey at the Red Hen
Think of this simple, sweet-and-earthy appetizer at the new Bloomingdale restaurant as a sister starter to the avocado toast at Cork Wine Bar—another dish that tastes great on a sizzling summer evening. These apps are like edible middle fingers aimed at all things overwrought and fussy.
Plain tomato pie at Pete’s New Haven Style Apizza
We have this idea that pizza is a junk food, but a slice or two of tomato pie—it’s sprinkled with Pecorino-Romano but otherwise devoid of cheese—accompanied by a fresh, citrusy Caesar salad just isn’t that unhealthy a meal. Live in Silver Spring? Try one from the new location, presided over by chef Alisa Rivkin.
Ten-ounce prime hanger steak at Del Campo with house chimichurri
There are more expensive cuts at Victor Albisu’s South American steakhouse in the former home of PS 7’s, but the grilled hanger—ordered rare or medium rare—has fantastic flavor and an admirable tenderness considering the cut. We’re pretty smitten with all the sauces here (make sure the romesco shows up somewhere in your meal), but the house chimchurri is the one not to miss.
Grilled avocado with ponzu sauce, wasabi, and salt at Daikaya
Tableside guac, meet your match.