Michelin just released its first round of restaurant recommendations for Washington: the Bib Gourmand, a list of 19 affordable eateries in DC where diners can get two courses and a glass of wine or dessert for $40. The coverage of wallet-friendly options isn’t as prestigious as the star ratings, which will be released in the first-ever DC guide on October 13. Still, the Bib Gourmand is a significant recognition—and perhaps a good gauge of how well Michelin inspectors know and understand DC’s food scene.
Our takeaway: maybe Michelin doesn’t know DC very well.
Doesn’t Bad Saint deserve a star (or two) for its boundary-pushing Filipino fare? What is Bidwell doing on the list instead of one of its superior Union Market neighbors? And what about Das, a white tablecloth Ethiopian that barely makes the budget? We agree that José Andrés‘s ventures are deserving, but the tapas format can get tricky—and light—given the $40 limit. Also, if we’re going to include small plates, can we get another local inclusion instead of a New York import (i.e. Boqueria)?
We don’t know how the Michelin stars will align, which may have influenced the Bib Gourmand (the BG winners don’t receive stars). We also don’t entirely disagree with the tire company’s list. Still, there are many delicious options that Michelin overlooked–including places that could easily fit into the $40 budget. Here, our recommendations for what the list should have looked like (restaurants marked * are included in the Michelin guide).