100 Best Restaurants 2011: Jackie’s

No. 38

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

People sometimes speak of Jackie Greenbaum’s place, housed in a former auto-parts garage in Silver Spring, as “fun” or “funky”—as if the DayGlo plastic chairs, pink-pillowed booths, and “Elvis burgers” weren’t suited for a big night out. But Jackie’s, now six years old, has established itself as one of the top dining spots in Montgomery County.

Much of that growth has coincided with the emergence of young chef Diana Davila-Boldin. She has a gift for lightening preparations that are usually heavy, as she did with a slab of smoked, braised ribs glazed with ancho and Mexican brown sugar. Like a conscientious mom, she deftly slips vegetables into meat- or fish-heavy plates—a rendition of chigae, a Korean noodle soup, puts slices of raw tuna atop perfectly steamed bok choy. Even simple salads are turned into showpieces.

Dessert is also an improvement—the delicately crusted apple pie is a wonder. Budget-minded diners and those looking for a quick bite before a movie can sample her cooking at the adjacent lounge, called Sidebar, where standouts include a miniature Chicago-style dog and a bowl of gnocchi, ham, and greens.

Also good: Mixed greens with Concord grapes and Spanish blue cheese; house-made empanadas; any of the market soups; skillet-fried chicken (Monday only); pork carnitas.

Open Monday through Saturday for dinner (cafe menu on Monday), Sunday for brunch and dinner. Moderate to 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 Petworth.