Best Thing I Ate: Eggplant Parmesan, Ham-and-Cheese Biscuits

Our favorite dishes from the past seven days of dining.

The ham-and-cheese biscuit from Bread Furst.

Todd Kliman

Four-lentil dosa at DC Dosa, Union Market

Ten bucks for a dosa? And one that looks to be about half the size of a normal dosa?

Yeah, not great, though nearly every thing you can ingest at Union Market is priced to make the upscale customer feel that he or she is getting quality.

On the other hand: tasty, very tasty.

The dosa maker pressed chopped onions and cilantro into the batter as it sizzled atop the Bunsen flame, adding flavor and crunch to the four-lentil mixture. The crepe emerged thin and slightly crunchy, with a subtly fermented taste.

I asked for curried potatoes, and the dosa maker didn’t skimp. If anything, there was too much potato inside—it was as densely packed as one of those overstuffed Chipotle burritos. Which I guess is good for people who’ve never had a dosa before—makes them feel as if they got good value. I prefer the traditional dosa, with much more crepe and much less filling.

But that’s not to say it wasn’t good. It was good: a nice meatless lunch. I’d go back.

Oh, and one more thing: Points to owner Priya Ammu for the cilantro-sesame chutney, which brought tang and gentle heat to every bite.

Ann Limpert

Eggplant Parmesan at Society Fair

Despite the proliferation of new Italian restaurants over the past couple of years, it’s been tough to find the sloppy, red-sauce-y dishes of my checkered-tablecloth-covered dreams. Walking into Society Fair, with its little girl’s tea party aesthetic (so much pink, so many table arrangements that look like they belong in an Anthropologie window), I certainly wasn’t expecting to satisfy any cravings along those lines.

But the eggplant Parm I impulse-bought from the grab-and-go case proved my assumptions wrong. After 45 minutes in the oven, it emerged topped with a thick, bronzed layer of gooey Parmesan. Underneath, there was plenty of zesty tomato sauce, a few fragrant basil leaves, more cheese (provolone), and breaded eggplant that stayed firm, not mushy. Béchamel-laden lasagna and ornate salumi boards are lovely and all, but sometimes—authenticity be damned—it’s the messy grandma-style fare you want. And this little casserole hit the spot.

Anna Spiegel

Ham-and-cheese biscuit at Bread Furst

Breakfast sandwiches, while wonderful, can be a morning death sentence. Fried chicken thighs sandwiched between buttermilk biscuits are the stuff Sunday dreams are made of, but many mornings call for some happy medium between a green juice and breakfast burrito—which is why I found myself in a state of pure contentment at Bread Furst.

It’s an easy level to achieve at Mark Furstenberg’s Upper Northwest bakery, the kind you leave wishing was right around every corner. The smell—and sight—of croissants and braided breads being prepared greets guests at the door through the window-walled kitchen. It’s tough to pick among the many items, or whether to go sweet or savory; blood orange doughnuts and robust slices of frittata both beckon.

The perfect choice may be the miniature ham-and-cheese biscuit. Two perfectly crumbly rounds, a little larger than Oreos, are swiped with apple butter and stacked with thinly shaved ham and a melty slice of Swiss. Delicately sweet and salty, it’s the ideal flavor and portion for a morning on the go.

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.

Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.