Letter from the Editor: The Shifting Food Worlds of DC and Virginia Vol: 67
- Chef Rubén García of minibar by josé andrés and ThinkFoodGroup – Washington, DC
- Chef-Owner Nora Pouillon and Chef Benjamin Lambert of Restaurant Nora - Washington, DC
- Chef Nick Stefanelli and Pastry Chef Doug Hernandez of Bibiana - Washington, DC
- Chef David Varley and Sommelier Julian Mayor of Bourbon Steak - Washington, DC
- Chef David Varley of Bourbon Steak - Washington, DC
- Chef Nobu Yamazaki of Sushi Taro - Washington, DC
- Chef Jason Alley of Comfort - Richmond, VA
- Chef Bertrand Chemel and Pastry Chef Anthony Chavez of 2941 - Falls Church, VA
- Chef Clayton Miller, Pastry Chef Chris Ford, and Mixologist-Owner Stefan Trummer of Trummer's On Main - Clifton, VA
- Chef John Shields and Pastry Chef Karen Urie Shields of Town House Restaurant - Chilhowie, VA
- Chef Bryan Voltaggio and Sommelier Neil Dundee of VOLT - Frederick, MD
- Chef Spike Gjerde, Pastry Chef Isaiah Billington, and Mixologist Corey Polyoka of Woodberry Kitchen - Baltimore, MD
- Chef Dean Maupin formerly of Clifton Inn - Charlottesville, VA
- Pastry Chef Tiffany MacIsaac and Beer Sommelier Greg Engert of Birch & Barley – Washington, DC
- Mixologist Gina Chersevani of PS 7's - Washington, DC
- Chef Rachael Harriman and Sommelier Carlton McCoy of Sou'Wester - Washington, DC
- Chef Wes Morton and Beverage Director Caterina Abbruzzetti of Againn – Washington, DC
- Chef Eric Ziebold and Sommelier Andy Myers of CityZen – Washington, DC
- Chef Logan Cox of New Heights Restaurant – Washington, DC
- Chef Damon Gordon and Sommelier Michael Scaffidi of Plume – Washington, DC
- Chef Nicholas Sharpe of Sonoma – Washington, DC
- Chef Alexander Bollinger of Urbana – Washington, DC
- Chef Mike Isabella formerly of Zaytinya - Washington, DC
- Mixologist Chantal Tseng of Tabard Inn - Washington, DC
- Chef Glenn Babcock of Nage Bistro - Washington, DC
- Chef Scott Drewno of The Source by Wolfgang Puck - Washington, DC
- Chef Tony Conte and Sommelier Brent Kroll of The Oval Room – Washington, DC
- Chef Victor Albisu of BLT Steak – Washington, DC
- Chef Julien Jouhannaud, Pastry Chef Fabrice Bendano and Sommelier Ramon Narvaez of Adour – Washington, DC
- Chef Santosh Tiptur of Co Co. Sala - Washington, DC
- Chef Dan Giusti and Pastry Chef Travis Olson of 1789 - Washington, DC
- Chef Michel Richard and Chef David Deshaies of Michel Richard Citronelle - Washington, DC
- Chef Dan Singhofen of Eola - Washington, DC
- Chef Ralf Hofmann of The Jockey Club - Washington, DC
- Mixologist Jon Harris of The Gibson - Washington, DC
- Mixologist Adam Bernbach of Proof - Washington, DC
- Mixologist Francesco Amodeo of Bibiana - Washington, DC
- Mixologist Derek Brown of The Columbia Room - Washington, DC
- Mixologist Erik Holzherr of Wisdom - Washington, DC
- The Fairfax at Embassy Row - Washington, DC
- Hotel Helix - Washington, DC
- Chefs Move to Schools Event at The White House - Washington, DC
- Pastry Chef David Nolan of The Ritz-Carlton Tysons Corner – Tysons Corner, VA
- Chef John Shields and Pastry Chef Karen Urie Shields of Town House - Chilhowie, VA
- Chef Melissa Close Hart and Sommelier Alessandro Medici of Palladio - Barboursville, VA
- Chef Liam LaCivita of The Liberty Tavern - Arlington, VA
- Chef Shannon Overmiller of The Majestic - Alexandria, VA
- Mixologist Clinton Terry of PX Lounge - Alexandria, VA
- Chef Gael Cruchet of Entyse at The Ritz Carlton Tysons Corner – Tysons Corner, VA
- Chef Charlie Palmer and Executive Chef Matt Hill of Charlie Palmer Steak – Washington, DC
- Chef Haidar Karoum and Sommelier Sebastian Zutant of Proof - Washington, DC
Like most sensible Americans, we stay as far away from government business as possible. But it’s been a while since our last Rising Stars in DC, and the capital city continues to evolve its culinary scene. This year’s Rising Stars Award Winners are shining proof that more than scandal keeps the Capital City a sizzle. In fact, we were so blown away by the ever-expanding culinary scene that we ventured into Maryland and Virginia to make this year’s Rising Stars a Washington DC Area Rising Stars. From farm-to-table, sustainable, and organic restaurants like Restaurant Nora to reinvented oldies but goodies like 1789, to a whole slew of thriving craft cocktail bars, to innovative counterculture in shifting neighborhoods, DC is a city of passionate foodies (even among the most dour politicians). And nearby Virginia and Maryland has its own reason to boast—a whole smattering of world-class destination restaurants beckons not just to Washingtonians anymore, but to diners from around the country.
In a restaurant world that has seen a lot of recent newcomers, a few standard-setters have withstood a rocky year of recession rough-and-tumble and are still flourishing. Organic may be a buzz word now, but when DC’s first organic restaurant Restaurant Nora opened, that wasn’t the case. Chef-Owner Nora Pouillon keeps organic and farm-to-table alive in DC, overseeing a constantly changing menu crafted and executed by Rising Star Chef Benjamin Lambert. 1789 has long been a haunt for special occasion diners but in order to keep the dining scene vibrant and a new stream of customers coming through the door, Chef Dan Giusti and Pastry Chef Travis Olson made a bold move to revive the menu and ditch the jacket requirement. With slashed entrée and dessert pricing and a smaller appetizer menu, they keep food cost manageable by also featuring off-cuts and whole animals from local farms. At established restaurant BLT Steak, Chef Victor Albisu does some reinventing of his own with Basque, Spanish and Mediterranean influences all coloring the modern American steakhouse in dishes like Pata Negra Pork Chop, Garlic Vinaigrette, and Blood Sausage Whipped Potatoes.
DC neighborhoods have changed a lot since our last trip and brave pioneers into the world of counterculture restaurants are taking full advantage. At beer temple Birch & Barley Chef Kyle Bailey uses his ingenuity to craft a small food budget into inventive dishes that manage to both complement the rotating craft beers and stay modern. His cuisine straddles comfort food and innovation, with inexpensive off-cuts and fish in the mix, like Skate Stuffed with Grilled Radicchio, Ham Hock-Parmesan Broth, and Brown Butter. And the restaurant’s standard-setting beer program sets up the meal for dead serious sudsy bliss.
With its growing landscape full of new destination restaurants and a wine industry that is fast gathering accolades and fans alike, Virginia’s culinary scene screamed (with country charm, of course) for attention. At award-winning Barboursville Vineyard’s Italian restaurant Palladio, Chef Melissa Close Hart tailors hearty dishes influenced by annual trips to Italy—like Housemade Pappardelle, Local Braised Rabbits, Porcini Mushrooms, and Blackberries—to the vineyard’s own wines, overseen by Luca Paschina from Piemonte.
The outskirts of DC had their fare share of stand-out restaurants too. Chef Liam LaCivita’s Italian roots shine through at upscale casual, seasonal American restaurant Liberty Tavern. At this Arlington hotspot, LaCivita creatively works in local produce from regional farms, and keeps meat lovers porkily-pleased with his house-made salumi.
Over in Old Town Alexandria, Chef Shannon Overmiller serves up piled-high plates of bountiful, rustic American dishes at The Majestic. Old Town may seem like an odd place for an on-trend speakeasy with house-made syrups and tinctures, but at 2006 DC Rising Star Todd Thrasher’s PX Lounge Mixologist Clinton Terry whips up quirkily named craft cocktails in this tiny hidden gem. If only the colonials could have sampled any of this upscale mixology.
In DC, of course, (where drinking is practically a professional requirement) the mixology scene has blossomed. Jon Harris of The Gibson shows his mixology chops, serving up each drink with a side of history. Custom-made gelato flavors from Dolcezza make boozed-up ice cream floats worth a second look. Harris’s mentor Mixologist Derek Brown sets the bar high for classic cocktails, and shows us what they should really taste like in the zen-like retreat of The Columbia Room, complete with jarred spices and hand-sawed ice. Mixologist Adam Bernbach at Proof shows DC diners that wine isn’t the only reason to come to by-the-glass wine central. This well-informed mixologist is one of the growing number of major players in the DC scene. With its ivy-covered walls and historic feel Tabard Inn boasts the ever-humble Mixologist Chantal Tseng mixes both historically accurate cocktails and original inventions—she makes a Pimm’s Cup like no other!
We’re headed to Chicago next to scout for next year’s Rising Stars, and Houston, and Portland are on the horizon for 2011, too. Don’t forget to submit your nominations for chefs, pastry chefs, sommeliers, and mixologists.
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