Michelin has started adding restaurants to its dining guides on a rolling basis throughout the year, rather than one big, highly anticipated annual drop. So as of today, four DC destinations have earned a spot: Caribbean Bammy’s in Navy Yard, New Orleans-inspired Dauphine’s downtown, modern Vietnamese Moon Rabbit at the Wharf, and veg-centric Oyster Oyster in Shaw. The additions aren’t yet designated with stars or as Bib Gourmands, which offer standout food at a “good value.” That announcement will come sometime early next year.
“By revealing some of the new additions made by our inspectors throughout the year, we enhance our digital tools to further strengthen the ties that bind us to food lovers,” Michelin International Director Gwendal Poullennec said in a press release. “As the restaurant industry continues to face unprecedented challenges and uncertainties, we hope that these regular revelations and updates to the selection throughout the year will provide opportunities to highlight the profession and invite everyone to discover and support the restaurants around them.”
The pandemic has already shaken up Michelin’s process. While new DC guides have previously been revealed in the fall, the most recent one was delayed until April of this year. At that time, six restaurants were added to the Bib Gourmand list and five others earned stars. Anonymous inspectors have continued to judge restaurants based on quality of ingredients, cooking technique, consistency, value, and the chef’s personality expressed in the cuisine. They say they have never officially factored service into their ratings.
Take a look at what inspectors had to say about DC’s newest Michelin restaurants below.
There is an ace lineup of sips; while the Caribbean fare by ex-Maydān duo (Gerald Addison and Chris Morgan) and Jamaican-born Chef Nico Leslie is spot on. Red snapper escovitch was a recent high point — perfectly tart from the marinade that permeated its crisp skin. Rice and peas are wonderful for spicy sauce mopping; while collards get a gulp of coconut milk to offset the heat.
There is no denying Chef Kristen Essig’s immense skill, as she prepares a delicious tapestry of New Orleans dishes — with zero fuss and maximum flavor. Dive into a platter of silky oysters Dauphine, tailed by blackened soft-shell crab (when in season) with creamed Prairie Ronde rice.
Chef Kevin Tien draws on personal inspiration to create eye-catching, sophisticated plates like scallop crudo with tom kha and pickled patty pan squash, or skewered grilled prawns with Thai basil and garlic butter. Portions are designed for sharing, especially the show-stopping lemongrass pork blade, which could feed an army, thanks to a forest of lettuce wraps, fresh herbs, crispy scallions pancakes, and house-made sauces.
Chef Rob Rubba’s creations are delicious insights into what is possible with vegetables. Thin strands of fried celery root weaved around smoked tofu and garnished with onion powder is delicate and replete with umami. Roasted lion’s mane mushroom with spring onion mole and black eye peas is a combination you didn’t know you were craving.