As is the tradition at Eater, our closeout of the year is a survey of friends, industry types, bloggers, and readers. This year, we asked the group eight questions, from Meal of the Year to Top Newcomers — and we've already covered Top Standbys. All will be answered by the time we turn off the lights at the end of the week. Responses are related in no particular order; all are cut and pasted herein.
[Photo: Toki Underground]
Q: What are the top newcomers of 2011?
Anna Spiegel, assistant food and wine editor, The Washingtonian: I love the whole experience at Toki Underground — the food, great ambiance — and call me crazy, but I even like the wait. It's a fantastic excuse to drink bourbon for an hour or two (as if you need an excuse), preferably at the Pug, or Church and State for something swankier.
Kelly DiNardo, freelance writer: Little Serow. Hands down, best new restaurant. I absolutely love everything about it. Sundevich is another new favorite. The sandwiches are creative and and I love the space. It's not a new restaurant for 2011, but the sandwiches at Estadio are fantastic and one of my favorite additions.
Todd Kliman, restaurant critic, The Washingtonian: Fiola, Little Serow, Pearl Dive, Graffiato.
Nycci Nellis, publisher, The List Are You On It: Top newbies on the scene include: Elisir, Fiola, Graffiato, Little Serow, Pearl Dive & Rogue 24.
Chris Shott, food editor, Washington City Paper: Toki Underground, Graffiato, Fiola, Pearl Dive (the usual suspects) and I've got to say that Smoke & Barrel is a huge boon to Adams Morgan, where City Paper headquarters are located. I only wish it would open for lunch.
Tom Sietsema, food critic, The Washington Post: In no particular order: Fiola, Elisir, Virtue Feed & Grain, Rogue 24, ShopHouse SouthEast Asian Kitchen, Pearl Dive Oyster Palace, Little Serow, Elizabeth’s Gone Raw, Graffiato.
Missy Frederick, reporter, Washington Business Journal: One of my favorite meals this year was at ramen shop Toki Underground. Fiola probably made the biggest "wow" impression on me this year. I think Pearl Dive had the most fun vibe of the new 2011 places.
Mike and Elizabeth Bober, editors, Capital Spice: Little Serow blew us away. Everything about it — the space, the service, and especially the food — made for a great experience. Toki Underground on H Street Northeast is well worth the wait you're almost certainly going to have. Pearl Dive on 14th Street has a great atmosphere and a terrific menu.
Tommy McFly, Morning Show Host, 94.7 FreshFM: Watershed, Ripple, Medium Rare, The Hamilton.
Dan Silverman, editor, Prince of Petworth: Luke's Lobster, Toki Underground and Graffiato.
Alejandra Owens, freelance writer: Graffiato and Little Serow. No frills, no diners contracts — just good food, plain and simple.
Mary Kong, editor, Girl Meets Food: I've been thrilled with Graffiato, Toki Underground, and Pearl Dive Oyster Palace/Black Jack.
Rachel Tepper, assistant editor, The Huffington Post: Pearl Dive Oyster Palace, Ripple, Shake Shack.
Jessica Sidman, dining editor, Bisnow Media: Toki Underground, Standard, Fiola.
Jeff DuFour, editor, UrbanDaddy: Fiola, Pearl Dive, Graffiato, Hill Country.
Amanda McClements, editor, Metrocurean: America Eats Tavern, District Commons/Burger, Tap & Shake, Fiola, Little Serow, Pearl Dive Oyster Palace, Rogue 24, Standard, Toki Underground, Virtue, Watershed.
Svetlana Legetic, editor, Brightest Young Things: Little Serow, Pearl Dive, Toki Underground, Sundevich, Rogue 24 (all for very different reasons).
Do feel free to add your own answers in the comments.