The Food Critic’s Picks: 5 Dishes to Try Now

Plus the one dish to steer clear of.

Chicken gyoza at Bantam King. Photograph via Bantam King Facebook.

Some highlights (and a lowlight!) from a week’s worth of meals.

The five best (in no particular order):

Chicken gyoza at Bantam King

These chicken-filled dumplings are the sleeper hit among all the ramen and fried chicken at this Burger King-turned-Daikaya-sibling. Pro tip: If you get the fried chicken platter, save one of the King’s Hawaiian sweet rolls to sop up gyoza’s savory, Sichuan-peppercorn-laden soy/vinegar sauce.

Tarte flambee at Jacques’ Brasserie

The more casual (but still lace-curtain-lined) room inside of L’Auberge Chez Francois serves a bang-up version of the Alsatian classic, with a crust as thin and brittle as a Carr’s table water cracker, nubs of smoky bacon, creme fraiche, and a layer of caramelized onions. Plus, you get to pre-game with the kitchen’s fantastic garlic bread with herbed cottage cheese.

Coconut-jaggery pancakes at Rasika

I’m not crazy about many of the desserts on Rasika’s dinner menu, but at brunch, this is one sweet the kitchen gets really right. The modest-sized pancakes are threaded with coconut and deliver a serious hit of cardamom. A dark caramel sauce takes the place of maple syrup.

Fedelini with clams at Casolare

If you’re a fan of linguine with clams, get yourself over to Michael Schlow’s latest spot. Here, super-thin noodles are tossed with sweet clams, tangy crushed cherry tomatoes, and an almost obscene amount of garlic.

Soft shell crab bocadillo at Estadio

This summer sando is nothing fancy: just an airily fried Maryland soft-shell crammed onto a slider-sized ciabatta, then accented with remoulade, tomato, and pea shoots. Time’s running out for this bad boy, so get it while you can.

Get Our “Brunches This Weekend” Newsletter

The best breakfasts and brunches to try every weekend, plus our most popular food stories of the week.

Or, see all of our newsletters. By signing up, you agree to our terms.

And the worst:

Matcha cheesecake at Bantam King

Green tea desserts burn me Every. Single. Time. This mini-wedge of stiff cake riddled with slightly bitter matcha powder—and doused in strawberry jam—was no exception.

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.