Little Serow Is “GQ’s” Most Outstanding Restaurant of 2013

Reviewer Alan Richman calls his meal at the Dupont restaurant his “finest eating experience” last year.

Chef Johnny Monis serves tongue-searing Northern Thai dishes at tiny Little Serow. Photograph by Scott Suchman

In the March issue of GQ magazine, restaurant reviewer Alan Richman names his 12 Most Outstanding Restaurants of 2013, and Little Serow is at the top of that list.

The tiny Northern Thai restaurant at
1511 17th Street, Northwest—owned by Johnny Monis, who helms
the kitchen there and at fine-dining spot Komi next door—is
“transformational,” writes Richman. The staff is “fabulous.” On-the-bone marinated pork ribs are “as gentle as can be”—they are just one example of the “exquisitely focused” preparations. It all adds up to the “finest eating experience of 2012” for Mr. Richman.

It’s not like Richman uncovered some big secret.
lines outside the door of the 28-seat restaurant testify to the buzz
that has surrounded Serow since its fall 2011 debut. It came in number
seven on Bon Appétit’s Hot 10 restaurant list last year. Washingtonian
ranked in seventh among its 100 Very Best Restaurants in 2013, awarding it
three and a half stars. But Alan Richman eats at a lot of restaurants, in a lot
of places. That the best meal he had last year was in a Dupont basement—cooked by
an interview-shy chef who employs no publicist—says a lot about the power of the Serow experience.

In his introduction, Richman relishes the new food-focused, frill-eschewing dining scene, in which waiters are “unchained from the shackles of
obsequiousness.” His list includes two restaurants from Houston, Texas—they
beat out Brooklyn eateries St. Anselm and La Vara, the only two spots on the
list located within the five boroughs. See the whole list below.

1.) Little Serow, Washington, DC

2.) Hog & Hominy, Memphis, TN

3.) Vedge, Philadelphia, PA

4.) Curate, Asheville, NC

5.) Uchi, Houston, TX

6.) West Bridge, Cambridge, MA

7.) Oxheart, Houston, TX

8.) Central Kitchen, San Francisco, CA

9.) Bäco Mercat, Los Angeles, CA

10.) St. Anselm, Brooklyn, NY

11.) The Ordinary, Charleston, SC

12.) La Vara, Brooklyn, NY