100 Best Restaurants 2011: Eola

No. 35

Only the top 40 restaurants were ranked in 2011's Best Restaurants list.

Some chefs stud their menus with pork trotters, tripe, and other unlovely bits of the pig in an attempt to titillate while keeping costs down, but chef Daniel Singhofen has emerged as an especially fervent evangelist of the off-cut. He has made his cozy rowhouse restaurant a mecca for lovers of pork fat and offal.

Thin slices of beef or pork heart form the basis of the amuse-bouche he sends out, and appetizers include such eyebrow-raising entrées as chicken-fried tongue (meltingly delicious), crispy pig ears, and tortellini stuffed with pig’s brain. Singhofen’s idea of playing it safe? Foie gras gnocchi and a BLT of cured foie gras on truffled brioche.

Singhofen champions local products—most meats come from a farm in Maryland, Virginia, or Pennsylvania—and he’s a dutiful artisan. His dinner rolls, flavored with black nigella seeds and pink salt, are made in-house, as are the pastas (the best of them, like the tagliatelle, summon the spirit of an Italian grandmother).

There are caveats: Plates are small and expensive, and there’s little pampering. The excitement of eating here is much like following a new band—of watching a young chef and an emerging restaurant take chances and grow.

Also good: Roast pheasant with glazed vegetables; almond cake; pain perdu.

Open Tuesday through Saturday for dinner. Expensive.

>> See all of 2011's Best Restaurants


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.