Oyster Oyster’s Rob Rubba Is a Food & Wine Best New Chef in America

The plant-forward Shaw tasting room is an award-magnet.

Chef Rob Rubba at Oyster Oyster. Photograph courtesy of Oyster Oyster.

Oyster Oyster chef Rob Rubba has earned a slew of awards since opening the micro-seasonal, vegetable-centric Shaw tasting room last year—including a Michelin star and Esquire “Best New Restaurant” award. Now Food & Wine is joining the chorus of praise, naming Rubba as one of the magazine’s annual “Best New Chefs in America.”

The award, now in its thirty-third year, was given to 11 chefs who are pushing culinary boundaries in visionary ways. Restaurant editor Khushbu Shah explains: 

“As I ate my way through 24 cities across the country, I saw chefs running bold, visionary concepts that held nothing back. They were unapologetic about the style of food they served and uncompromising in the workplace culture they wanted to cultivate. They’d dropped the shackles of customer expectations: Instead of bending over backward to please every possible customer, they focused on creating the kinds of places that they wanted to see most in this world.”

Rubba’s deeply sustainable, multi-course ode to the plant world fits the bill—as Shah says, “his vegetarian dishes will make diners question if they really ever need to eat meat again” (you can read Shah’s profile of Rubba here). The feature also includes a DC city guide from Rubba, who shares his love of Pearl’s Bagels, Bold Fork Books, Hana Japanese Market, and more. 

The Food & Wine award comes on the heels of another glossy mag release last week: Bon Appetit’s “Best New Restaurants in America,” which hyped Indian hotspot Daru near the H Street Corridor, and family-run Palestinian flatbread joint Z&Z Manoushe Bakery in Rockville.

Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.