We love Washington’s dining scene because it’s so global, and that diversity was on display last night at our annual AT&T Best of Washington party. Partygoers at the National Building Museum feasted on Korean barbecue, foie gras canapés, Indian uttapam, tuna crudo, and Japanese soft serve—not to mention an equally eclectic lineup of drinks. So what were some of the highlights? To the list!
Best in show: Speed-tasting menu at Daikaya/Bantam King/Haikan
Washingtonians don’t mind lining up for interesting food—yes, even inside a food event. A queue formed quickly for chef Katsuya Fukushima’s boundary-pushing “tasting menu,” where guests rotated seats around four different stations for drinks and dishes prepared a la minute. We sampled raw Hokkaido scallops with tomato water, wasabi, and basil flowers, and an onsen egg with roasted chicken jus.
Best one-bite snack: Clams at Chiko
No cumbersome three-bite hors d’oeuvres here. Chefs Scott Drewno and Danny Lee have crafted the perfect one-bite canapé: sweet chilled, marinated clams that you slurp directly from their shells.
Best feast: CherCher’s Ethiopian spread
Volume eaters flocked to the large platters of vegetables, lamb stew, tibs, and doro wat supplied by this stellar Ethiopian restaurant.
Best surprise: Mujaddara from Unconventional Diner
Guilty admission: we couldn’t have told you what mujaddara was before seeing it on Unconventional Diner’s table, and to be even more blunt, the brown-on-brown mix didn’t look promising. To our surprise, it was one of the best bowls of the night—with fragrant Lebanese lentils, deeply caramelized onions, and cooling yoghurt.
Best shameless use of butter: Italian “Cubano” sandwich from Osteria Morini
Butter makes everything better. So you can bet that focaccia sandwiches stuffed with Italian meats and Calabrian chili tapenade that were fried in copious amounts of butter are going to be good.
Best takeout inspiration: Dan Dan noodles from Tiger Fork
We couldn’t get enough of these mini Chinese takeout containers filled with spicy noodles, morsels of pork, scallions, and lump crab.
Best on-the-go cheese course: La Serena cheese-and-membrillo cones from Jaleo
Creamy Spanish sheep-milk cheese plus a layer of quince paste. What’s not to love?
Best luxe bite: Foie gras parfait from the Oval Room
The ultra-rich cup was perfectly accented with cherry gelee and fried chicken skin.