And the Rammy Nominees Are. . .

You Vote: Who do you think should win a RAMMY? 

Chefs, publicists, journalists, and restaurateurs turned out Tuesday evening to find out who was on this year’s list of Rammy nominees. The awards are bestowed each year by the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington, with this year’s ceremony taking place June 7 at the Omni Shoreham in DC.

Nycci and David Nellis, hosts of the food-focused radio show Dishing It Out, read the list of nominees and nearly gained control over the crowd, chatting noisily and excitedly in a room that was rather unfortunately lit like an episode of The X Files. Nominees for Best New Restaurant provided a few small bites—oddly, all were either raw or cured fish or chicken livers—and local cocktail mavens served original creations.

Below is a listing of the nominees, and there’s no guessing who will reign supreme in each category. In the meantime, we’re doing some judging ourselves. Here are a few highlights from the nomination party.

Best raw fish: The Hawaiian-poke-inspired raw tuna from PassionFish, tossed with sesame, ponzu, and nori matchsticks.

Best use of liver:
The chicken-liver parfait (translation: mousse) on toast with tiny pickled carrots and cauliflower from CommonWealth.

Brightest spot:
The colorful plates of macaroons offered (alongside pressed chicken-liver-and-foie-gras, of course) by Adour, a nominee for Best New Restaurant.

Best cocktail:
PS7’s bartender Gina Chersevani’s signature Rammys cocktail, which she dubbed Jasmine Nights. The mixture of vodka, jasmine tea, raspberry purée, ginger, and lemon and lime juices garnished with mint went down way too easy.

The 2009 Rammy finalists are:

Fine Dining:
2941; Blue Duck Tavern; Michel Richard Citronelle; Restaurant Eve; Vermilion.

Jamie Leeds of Hank’s Oyster Bar/CommonWealth; Todd Gray of Equinox; Massimo Fabbri of Posto/Ristorante Tosca; Vikram Sunderam of Rasika; Robert Wiedmaier of Marcel’s/Brasserie Beck.

New Restaurant:
Adour; Art and Soul; CommonWealth; Cork; PassionFish.

Rising Culinary Star:
Cedric Maupillier of Central Michel Richard; Daniel Giusti of 1789; Mike Isabella of Zaytinya; Shannon Overmiller of the Majestic; Tony Chittum of Vermilion.

Pastry Chef:
Josh Short of Neighborhood Restaurant Group; Kate Jansen of Willow; Melanie Parker of Equinox; Michelle Garbee-Poteaux of Bastille; Travis Olson of 1789.

Wine and Beverage Program:
CityZen; Neighborhood Restaurant Group; Oya; Willard Room; Zola.

Neighborhood Gathering Place:
Belga Café; Cork; EatBar; Liberty Tavern; Marvin.

Upscale Casual:
Bastille; the Majestic; Oyamel; Rasika; Zaytinya.

Hottest Restaurant Bar Scene:
Co Co. Sala; Marvin; Proof; the Source by Wolfgang Puck; Willow Creek Farm.

Power Spot: BLT Steak; Central Michel Richard; Charlie Palmer Steak; the Source by Wolfgang Puck; Teatro Goldoni.

Restaurant Employee: Jennifer Roe of DC Coast; Juan Francisco Lopez of Marcel’s/Brasserie Beck; Marco Guzman of Café Atlántico; Yves Chassagneux of Willow; Jose Bermudez of Evening Star Cafe.

Restaurant Manager: Tom Burke of Marcel’s/Brasserie Beck; Diego Zeballos of Jaleo; Ryland Johnson of Zola; Scott Weinstein of BlackSalt; Brian Zipin of Central Michel Richard.