Last year, Michelin began gradually adding restaurants to its city guides versus their usual highly-anticipated annual reveals for Bib Gourmand (“good value”) and Michelin star recipients. The restaurants are still eligible for those accolades, as well as the less-prestigious “plate” awards given to all others. After announcing four new additions in December—Caribbean spot Bammy’s in Navy Yard, the Wharf’s modern Vietnamese Moon Rabbit, New Orleans-style Dauphine’s downtown, and plant-based Oyster Oyster in Shaw—Michelin has added 16 new names. The full 2022 selection with the big winners will be announced Wednesday, May 4.
“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.”
This recent announcement includes the most restaurants added DC’s “little red book” of late. Last year, Michelin added five new starred restaurants to its DC guide, and removed none, despite some temporary pandemic closures. Meanwhile they added six Bib Gourmands, yet removed nine—both due to closures and the review process. While many food critics and publications paused their standard reviews during the pandemic—including Washingtonian—Michelin inspectors continue to move forward.
“Our inspection team is fully committed to support and promote restaurants by being flexible, respectful and realistic as recovery takes shape,” Michelin spokesperson Lauren McClure told Washingtonian.
The most recent 16 additions, highlighted as “new” in the online guide, are meant to preview some of the gems Michelin’s anonymous inspectors discovered before awards are bestowed. The list includes a mix of neighborhood destinations like Petworth ramen spot Menya Hosaki and Indian-accented Daru on H Street, Northeast; fine dining newcomers (Philotimo in downtown DC, L’Ardente at Capitol Crossing, La Bise by the White House); lounge-y destinations with enticing food, such as Apéro in Georgetown and Mt. Vernon’s Bar Chinois; classics such as Georgia Brown’s downtown, and more more.
Here’s the full list, and what Michelin inspectors have to say.
This relative newcomer is a beacon of Levantine cooking. These dishes are refined versions of traditional delicacies and products are immaculate, as evidenced by the mezze, complete with pickled red cabbage, tahini and refreshingly tart yogurt.
Champagne and caviar are the menu’s mission, and owner Elli Benchimol and team nail it. It is typically offered with a host of classic accoutrements, like chopped egg, capers and chives, as well as batons of crunchy waffles.
The team here has envisioned a swanky and hip French wine bar with delectable Asian bites — and so this fantastic haunt was born.
The kitchen team takes classic Indian cuisine in a novel direction. Is that blue cheese on your tandoor-grilled chicken kebabs? Yes, indeed. Matched with sour cherry reduction and popcorn cashews, it’s as enticing a preparation as the boldly spiced minced bison momos.
This large Richard Sandoval operation, spread over two floors, serves up the likes of guacamole de bonito, uplifted by smoky charred tostadas — a thrilling way to begin proceedings.
El Secreto de Rosita
Chef Cristian Granada’s dynamic menu certainly leans Peruvian, but it also embraces the nation’s wide terrain — from the coast all the way to influences from Europe and Asia. Behold the tiradito, featuring sashimi-grade ahi tuna with a passion fruit-and-orange sauce.
Everyone is here for the classic Southern cooking that is likely to conjure up many a nostalgic memory. Start off with the fried chicken livers accompanied by a mustard-soy emulsion. Then tuck into a steaming and fragrant bowl of Carolina gumbo floating with chicken, andouille, okra and shrimp.
Chef Rob Sonderman of the Federalist Pig has expanded to chicken — well, an updated version of fried chicken to be precise. This Petworth perch resembles a modern diner with old-school vibes.
With soaring ceilings and windows to match, this Italian kitchen has plenty more to offer. A wood-burning grill and pizza oven allude to its strengths. At no point does any dish want for flavor, down to the charred cabbage buried under a riot of trout roe, tarragon and currants.
The menu is loosely French but with a number of detours, from steak tartare and Rohan duck breast to black truffle risotto and Maine lobster with pineapple.
If the name wasn’t already a giveaway, the large comal by the window and row of golden corn husks hanging along the wall should tell you what matters most to this restaurant — corn. Heirloom varieties sourced from Mexico are nixtamalized, ground into masa, pressed into tortillas and griddled at all hours.
Carefully composed bowls of ramen feature thin, chewy, house-made noodles accompanied by delicate broths with nuance and depth. The signature bowl is a smoky, triple-threat combination of tonkotsu, chicken chintan and dashi.
The Eaton Hotel, which also houses Chef Matt Baker’s casual café and bakery, is fortunate to play host to such an accomplished team — one that sources well and seasons with panache, all the while running an impressive bar that is as large as the dining room.
The Greek cuisine reflects Chef Nicholas Stefanelli’s heritage and features a contemporary accent. Meals begin and end with carefully crafted dishes that are presented as a prix-fixe.
John Snyder, Kiran Saund and Nick Hopkins are the brains behind this unique tasting concept that shines the light on street food from around the world.
The Wafu cooking flaunts a certain uniqueness while remaining balanced and precise. Dishes may be best described as Japanese-influenced Italian. This mix is unfussy and seamless in the likes of spaghetti with Kurobuta sausage and a refined Tabasco-ketchup sauce.