It’s almost that time again: Michelin season in DC. The third edition of DC’s little red book goes on sale September 17, with several weeks of reveals and events leading up to its arrival. Most notably the announcement of Bib Gourmand (a.k.a. inexpensive dining) honorees on September 6, and the Michelin star announcements on September 13—plus two all-star chef dinners on September 12 at Pineapple & Pearls and Rose’s Luxury. Tickets for both—one super fancy, the other fun n’ casual—go on sale this Friday (see below).
Since launching in the District in 2016, the Michelin guide has garnered mixed feelings from chefs and users alike. Some are disappointed with the tire company’s limited geographical range, which skips restaurants (particularly worthy Bib Gourmand contenders) in the Virginia and Maryland suburbs—minus, of course, the two-starred Inn at Little Washington (a point of contention itself). Another gripe: last year’s anticlimactic second edition, which only featured two new starred restaurants and three additional Bib Gourmands—and was fairly static otherwise, including reviews reprinted word-by-word.
Grumblings aside, there’s always a lot of excitement in the culinary world and beyond surrounding the release of a new red book. Washington is an international city at heart, and Michelin is one of the only global barometers of quality when it comes to reviews. The chefs and restaurants that appear in their pages join a worldwide community with talents in New York, Hong Kong, Paris, and beyond. Though its arrival in 2016 may have been partially motivated by the tire company’s business dealings in Washington, it was also a validation of DC’s thriving dining scene—a sign that we have restaurants on par with San Francisco, Chicago and other great American food cities.
And hey, we’re guessing many of chefs who complain about Michelin in DC would have a lot less to say if a star or two landed on their doorstep.
Among the ranks of those celebrating Michelin are the head chefs of the current two-star restaurants: Aaron Silverman (Pineapple and Pearls), Minibar’s Jorge Hernandez, and Patrick O’Connell of the Inn at Little Washington. The trio are teaming up again this year for a Michelin All-Star Dinner at Pineapple & Pearls on September 12th. Around 50 tickets for two seatings go online this Friday at 10 AM via the P&P website. No surprise, it’s not cheap ($650 a head inclusive of the multi-course dinner, tax, gratuity, and alcohol), though proceeds benefit DC Central Kitchen and World Central Kitchen.
Don’t have $650 to drop on dinner? Silverman is adding a more affordable, a la carte option this year at Rose’s Luxury (and you don’t even need to wait in line). Michelin one-starred chefs Jon Sybert from Tail Up Goat and Sushi Taro‘s Nobu Yamazaki will serve new and classic dishes from their restaurants alongside Silverman’s. Around 200 tickets go on sale this Friday at 11 AM for various times throughout the night; though the meal is a la carte, a $75 deposit will be taken (72 hour cancellation rules apply). Proceeds benefit So Others Might Eat and Martha’s Table.
For those looking to learn more and eat a little less, the Smithsonian Associates is hosting an “Inside the Guide” discussion and tasting on September 14 at 11 AM with Michelin’s international director Michael Ellis and a variety of chefs, including Jeremiah Langhorne (The Dabney), Eric Ziebold (Metier and Kinship), and more. Afterwards you’ll get bites from each of the restaurants.