100 Very Best Restaurant 2016: Peter Chang

Peter Chang serves Szechuan specialties like this pan-fried pork belly with garlic and chilies. Photograph by Andrew Propp.

The Szechuan master chef who inspired a Deadhead-like following as he hopscotched from restaurant to restaurant in the American South has settled down and built an empire. These two dining rooms represent his incursion into the DC market. Chang’s greatness is not in doubt, but with expansion comes a streamlined menu for easy replication and a fleet of chefs who lack his deftness. Will you taste the magic that turned Chang into a kind of culinary folk hero? Some nights yes, some nights no. Stick to the greatest hits—the bamboo fish, cumin-scented and tucked into a woven basket; the mapotofu—and you improve your odds of getting a Szechuan meal of unparalleled lightness, depth, and punch.

Don’t miss: Fish soup with cabbage; cilantro fish rolls; scallion bubble pancake; dry-fried eggplant.

See what other restaurants made our 100 Very Best Restaurants list. This article appears in our February 2016 issue of Washingtonian.

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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.

Anna Spiegel
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.