Many Washington restaurants are enjoying their moment in the national spotlight this week. First the James Beard Foundation announced its semifinalists for the 2014 Restaurant and Chef Award, with 19 local contenders. Now Alan Richman of GQ singles out Casa Luca and Daikaya among his 25 Best New Restaurants in America.
Richman praises Casa Luca chef Fabio Trabocchi for thinking outside the pasta box when it comes to his menu. Stars of the evening include “melting, mesmerizing” Mangalitsa prosciutto and oversize entrées such as a hearty branzino filet and lamb-shoulder rack (“herbaceous and succulent, a stellar example of what rosemary, bay leaf, garlic and a talented chef can do”).
Brunch is the focus over at Daikaya, which he dubs “brilliant” in its attention to Japanese-Jewish fusion fare—not to mention “Harlem-Japanese” and “French-Japanese-Chesapeake Bay” dishes (who knew?). “Washington D.C. has always boasted an abundance of international restaurants that offer what we used to call ‘foreign food,’” but this is something else,” writes Richman. “It’s absolutely unfamiliar food, the most extraordinary I’ve seen, certainly this early in the day.”
Quite the endorsement! If you plan to follow in his footsteps on Sunday, the not-to-miss recommendation is French toast.