We’ll kick off this heavy food-news week with some chef-hopping reports. First, Stefano Frigerio resigned from his executive chef post at Mio. His short, seven-month tenure earned the restaurant lots of favorable reviews, but the chef and owner Manuel Iguina apparently had some unresolvable issues—although Iguina told the Post’s Tom Sietsema that he’s “doing everything possible to keep him.” Frigerio is currently looking for a new chef post and hopes to stay in DC.
In Virginia, there’s a new chef at the Neighborhood Restaurant Group’s Tallula and its gastropub sibling, EatBar. Andrew Markert was most recently chef de cuisine under Anthony Chittum at Vermilion, another NRG spot. The 26-year-old chef has also done stints at Notti Bianche and Citronelle. Markert is taking over for Nathan Anda, but fans of Anda’s awesome house-cured bacon need not worry—he’s not going far. The meat-obsessed chef is helping NRG’s owners launch a butcher shop/restaurant, where he’ll be executive chef. He’s currently working on the concept and finding a space for the new venture.
Frank Bruni loves Georgetown Cupcake and Rasika (the black cod and crispy spinach, at least)! The New York Times restaurant critic spent a recent weekend in Washington and reported on two of his favorite food finds in his Diner’s Journal blog.
The 2009 Zagat guide for DC/Baltimore is out, and based on diners' rankings, Makoto, the Japanese jewel-box in the Palisades, beat out the Inn at Little Washington—a perennial favorite—for best food. Komi came in third. The Source by Wolfgang Puck—the surprise Rammy winner for best new restaurant—is also Zagat’s top-rated newcomer. Chef Michel Richard came out on top in the popularity contest: Citronelle was ranked the city’s most popular restaurant, with Central coming in at #5 in that category.
Alas, the summer of restaurant-shuttering continues. This week, the modern-Indian Curry Club in Georgetown and 21-year-old Italian dining room San Marco in Adams Morgan both closed their doors for good.
The Wall Street Journal’s Raymond Sokolov visits the presidential contenders’ favorite restaurants. Like our current president, Barack Obama and John McCain both enjoy Mexican food—but the Obamas head for Rick Bayless’s Topolobampo, a Chicago foodie favorite, while the McCains favor the more traditional Tex-Mex fare at Phoenix’s Tee Pee. For quick meals on the campaign trail, both candidates love pizza. Sokolov suggests a trip to 2 Amys for whoever ends up in the White House next January: “We think Secret Service agents will have no trouble cutting the line at the carryout counter.”
Finally, here’s our second installment of Anthony Bourdain-stalking! Over the weekend, the chef-turned-media star continued his excursion through Washington, filming every stop and every bite for his Travel Channel series, No Reservations. We hear he stopped in at Cafe Atlantico/Minibar and Oyamel with chef pal Jose Andres, visited DC Central Kitchen, and ventured into Old Town for a taste of chef Cathal Armstrong’s “chip butty”—a bun smothered in butter and stuffed with french fries—at Eamonn’s. The Armstrongs tell us that the cobra-heart-eating chef proclaimed the sandwich “evil”—with a grin. Bourdain went on to indulge in lots of other fried goodies at the fish-and-chips spot: Eamonn’s signature cod, bunless “burghers”, milky way bars. He ended the night at PX, the Armstrong-owned speakeasy upstairs, where he sipped Negronis and hung out with the staff off-camera. “We collectively agreed. He’s really as cool as he is on TV,” says Meshelle Armstrong.