Yes, another DC restaurant where you have to show up, put your name on a list, and wait. And what do you wait for? Not a table, most likely. (Most of the 24 seats are stools.) Here’s why it’s worth the hassle: because this nouveau Filipino kitchen is cranking out some of the most exhilarating, interesting dishes in all of Washington. You can smell the garlic and vinegar hitting the wok from down the block. If your experience of Filipino food is limited to tastes of sisig and adobo, you’re in for an awakening. But even if you’re well acquainted with the cuisine, you may be in for one, too. Witness chef Tom Cunanan’s shrimp-and-sweet-potato fritter, teased into an unruly mass that calls to mind Questlove’s spiky fro—the crunch is glorious. Likewise, he transforms a workmanlike breakfast of meat, egg, and garlicky rice into a composed dinner plate of unexpected intricacy and balance. Note to our fellow over-35s: You might not fit in among all the cool kids here, but co-owner Genevieve Villamora and her staff will see to it that you’re made to feel like family.
Don’t miss: Fried dorade; pork-belly lettuce cups; clams with Chinese sausage; grilled tuna jaw; seared tuna; grilled chicken adobo; bilo bilo, a rice porridge.