Founding Farmers (1924 Pennsylvania Ave., NW; 202-822-8783) is owned by a co-op of 40,000 domestic farmers, whose food translates into portions as big as the restaurant’s two-story concrete interior.
Art Smith is an Oprah pal and a James Beard Award winner, and his Southern comfort menu at Art and Soul (415 New Jersey Ave., NW; 202-393-7777) on Capitol Hill is full of big, buttery dishes that stick to your ribs. Order a pork chop and you’ll get two.
Washington has never been a town of big, fat, messy sandwiches. Jackson’s Roasting & Carving Co. (933 N. Quincy St., Arlington; 703-312-1073) is bidding to fill that void; the meatloaf is a step in the right direction.
Owner David Winer has reinvented the Latin-fusion Merkado Kitchen as the “honestly priced” Commissary (1443 P St., NW; 202-299-0018), whose name matches the plain-Jane menu if not the upmarket neighborhood.
Build-your-own-burger chain the Counter (11922 Democracy Dr., Reston; 703-796-1008), opening this month, claims it offers more than 312,120 permutations of meat, cheese, toppings, sauces, and buns.
When 1905 (1905 Ninth St., NW; 202-332-1905) opened in late September, it billed itself as a French-inspired bistro. Since when did crab cakes and biscuits become chic in Paris?
The Great American Restaurants group named its 260-seat Jackson’s Mighty Fine Food & Lucky Lounge (11927 Democracy Dr., Reston; 703-437-0800) for Bill Jackson, its late corporate chef. The Coastal Flats–like menu dares to include sushi rolls in a 1940s setting.
Al Yeganeh, the infamous “soup Nazi” from Seinfeld, applies his strict rules to every outpost of Original SoupMan (6504 America Blvd., Hyattsville; 301-699-7687), so move to the left after ordering or no soup for you!
One of the area’s biggest and best restaurant chains, Lebanese Taverna, has added a sixth location; the 260-seater in Bethesda (7141 Arlington Rd.; 301-951-8681) has the same menu as its siblings.
Abdelhak Abdelmoumen has chucked his Taste of Morocco locations in Arlington and Silver Spring and launched Pasha Lounge (644 Center Point Way, Gaithersburg; 301-216-2223), which sticks to a familiar formula: long-simmered cooking and nightly belly dancers.
This appeared in the November, 2008 issue of The Washingtonian.