News & Politics

Critics’ Picks: The Year’s Top 40 Dishes

Even after hundreds of meals, miles of crisscrossing the region, and too many calories to count, there are some dishes we can’t stop thinking about.

Our annual 100 Very Best Restaurants issue just hit newsstands last week, and it’s the culmination of a year’s worth of eating. Even after hundreds of meals, miles of crisscrossing the region, and too many calories to count, there are some dishes we can’t stop thinking about. Because we ranked the area’s 40 top restaurants, we’ve chosen to highlight 40 plates (plus a few extra desserts); they’re listed in alphabetical order according to the restaurant.

1. Chanterelle mushrooms and summer corn at Bar Pilar.
2. Buffalo-milk ricotta with rose honey and almonds at Bibiana.
3. Veal sweetbreads with celery-root mousseline and diced veal tongue at Bistro Bis.
4. Spinach-and-olive tian at Bistro Provence.
5. Seared Nantucket Bay scallops with root vegetables and date purée at Blue Duck Tavern.
6. Prime-steak burger with cheddar at Bourbon Steak.
7. Shrimp and roast-beef po’boys at the Cajun Experience.
8. Corned-beef sandwich at Central.
9. Fried chicken with curried lentils at Circle Bistro.
10. Peekytoe-crab tart at Citronelle.

11. Sturgeon risotto with apples and cured trout roe at CityZen.
12. Red-snapper bisque at Corduroy.
13. Plancha-grilled squid at Estadio.
14. Sul leung tang, a milky beef soup, at Gamasot.
15. Seafood chowder at Hell Point Seafood.
16. Lamb carpaccio with Caesar-salad ice cream at Inn at Little Washington.
17. Gazpacho at Jaleo.
18. King-salmon belly with shiso sorbet and candied pine nuts at Komi.
19. Fresh sea urchin, served in its shell, at Kushi.
20. Ceviche at La Canela.
21. House-made pheasant sausage at Mannequin Pis.
22. Chicken tikka masala at Masala Art.
23. Bun cha at Minh’s.
24. Spot prawns in “brioche” at Minibar.
25. Pig’s-head salad with carrots, chili, and celery at Obelisk.
26. Kazu-marinated duck at the Oval Room.
27. Grilled artichokes with aïoli at Palena Cafe.
28. Whole fresh flounder fried two ways, with tamarind and fish sauce, at PassionFish.
29. Bombay “burger”—a spiced potato patty—at Rangoli.
30. Halibut caldine with coconut and tamarind at Rasika.
31. Macaroni and cheese at Ray’s Hell-Burger.
32. Lobster roll (we can’t decide between the warm Connecticut style or the cold Maine style) from the Red Hook Lobster Truck.
33. Papri chaat at Restaurant Eve.
34. Onion soup at Ris.
35. Yum Duck salad at Sabai Sabai Simply Thai.
36. Pork-belly dumplings at the Source.
37. House-made tofu at Sushi Taro.
38. Al pastor taco with shaved pineapple, pickled onions, and salsa rojo at Taqueria La Placita.
39. Steak tartare with ketchup sorbet at Trummer’s on Main.
40. Buffalo-chicken pizza at We, the Pizza.

Best desserts

Baba au rhum at Adour.
Banoffee pie at Againn.
Beignets at Bayou Bakery.
Figgy toffee pudding at Birch & Barley.
Butterscotch pudding at Grapeseed.
Banana-coconut cream pie at Johnny’s Half Shell.
Pistachio cannoli at Pizzeria Orso.
Chocolate-hazelnut terrine at 701.
Fried apple pie at Sou’wester.
Malted ice-cream sundae at Woodberry Kitchen.

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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.