100 Very Best Restaurant 2016: Peter Chang

Peter Chang serves Szechuan specialties like this pan-fried pork belly with garlic and chilies. Photograph by Andrew Propp.

The Szechuan master chef who inspired a Deadhead-like following as he hopscotched from restaurant to restaurant in the American South has settled down and built an empire. These two dining rooms represent his incursion into the DC market. Chang’s greatness is not in doubt, but with expansion comes a streamlined menu for easy replication and a fleet of chefs who lack his deftness. Will you taste the magic that turned Chang into a kind of culinary folk hero? Some nights yes, some nights no. Stick to the greatest hits—the bamboo fish, cumin-scented and tucked into a woven basket; the mapotofu—and you improve your odds of getting a Szechuan meal of unparalleled lightness, depth, and punch.

Don’t miss: Fish soup with cabbage; cilantro fish rolls; scallion bubble pancake; dry-fried eggplant.

See what other restaurants made our 100 Very Best Restaurants list. This article appears in our February 2016 issue of Washingtonian.

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