See Rahm Eat

The First Family has been getting lots of attention for their restaurant choices—from the hidden-away Ray’s Hell-Burger to haute destination Citronelle. Maybe they’re taking cues from White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, who has long been plugged into the local dining buzz. Since his days as an Illinois congressman, Emanuel has skipped traditional DC power dens in favor of foodie hot spots.

He’s been spotted at the U Street hangout Marvin, schmoozing with a senator at Central Michel Richard, tucking into suckling pig upstairs at the Source, and kicking back at Posto, the no-reservations DC trattoria that counts White House adviser David Axelrod and US attorney general Eric Holder as fans.

Emanuel, who once sent a dead fish to a pollster who’d wronged him, seems to like seafood. He’s ordered a double serving of tuna tartare as an entrée at the wine bar Proof; pops up at Georgetown’s Hook, which specializes in sustainable catches (one recent meal: endive salad with blue cheese, barramundi with tomato confit, a glass of red wine); and often orders fish at the table he’s held since the ’90s at the Oval Room (number eight).

While he’s been spotted often at the buttoned-down French dining room Adour, just north of the White House, his favorite restaurant of late seems to be the more happening Rasika in Penn Quarter, where he goes for kebabs and chicken tikka and usually shares his food with his guests.

One thing Emanuel seems to stay away from: fast food—as a teenager, he lost a fingertip while working at Arby’s.

But if he seems like the consummate foodie, older brother Zeke Emanuel—an oncologist, White House health adviser, and off-hours food critic—has one-upped him: Zeke’s restaurant reviews run regularly on’s food channel.

This article first appeared in the July 2009 issue of The Washingtonian. For more articles from that issue, click here.  

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Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Logan Circle.