As per tradition, Eater asked a group of journalists, bloggers and friends of the site to weigh in on the year in food. Here are those restaurants they’ll miss the most.
Tom Sietsema, food critic, The Washington Post: “Up until its last year or two, Vidalia was a sterling example of southern cooking.”
Nevin Martell, freelance food writer and cookbook author: “I was a big fan of Food, Wine & Co. in Bethesda, especially when Michael Harr helmed the kitchen and Eva Kronenburg handled the pastries. I will always remember their Gruyere stuffed tots, lamb burger and dark chocolate brioche bread pudding with the utmost fondness.”
Svetlana Legetic, founder, Brightest Young Things: “Crane & Turtle, hands down”
Ann Limpert, food critic and editor, Washingtonian: “Restaurants obviously have lifespans, and my last few meals at Vidalia proved that the place was long past its prime. Still, I was bummed to see it close (goodbye epic happy hours, goodbye amazing bread basket). But! What a year for many of the talents that came through Jeff Buben’s kitchen: Bad Saint’s Tom Cunanan, Kinship/Metier’s Eric Ziebold...”
Jessica Strelitz, freelance food writer: “Vidalia: it’s where my now husband and I first discussed engagement rings and I enjoyed many wonderful meals since it opened. I've purchased many gift cards for weddings and birthdays and often brought out-of-town guests to revel in the shrimp and grits and chess pie. However, I’m also, sadly, not surprised, as my last meal there — for our 4th wedding anniversary — was fairly miserable, from the grainy foie to the ultra-dark lounge and rushed service. Definitely looking for a new place to get a chess pie fix.”
Laura Hayes, food editor, Washington City Paper: “This goes all the way back to January, but the Rogue 24 closing stung a little. Sure its big personality boss, R.J. Cooper, rubbed some people the wrong way, but a meal at the Blagden Alley restaurant always brought surprises, innovation, killer cocktails, and memorable desserts. I still think about Cooper’s sugar toad dish and Bryan Tetorakis' cocktails.”
Dan Silverman, PoPville (i.e. the Prince of Petworth): It's a toss up between Millie & Al's, Stetson's and Angles/Little Fountain Cafe
Jessica Sidman, food editor, Washingtonian: Crane & Turtle. Its life was too brief. That said, Himitsu might actually be better.
Stefanie Gans, food editor and critic, Northern Virginia Magazine: Radius Pizza. I haven't been there in years, but I used to live around the corner and remember fondly the $5 slice-and-pint deal. Also, they charged for grated Parm cheese. Fifty cents. I won't forget that, either.
Jody Fellows, Burger Days/Falls Church News-Press: I'm really bummed about Vidalia closing. Had many memorable meals there over the years. Oh and Grevey's! The first bar where I could ever be considered a regular was right up the street from my first post-college apartment.
Tim Carman, The $20 Diner Columnist, The Washington Post: I knew the day would come, but I still hate that Jeffrey Buben, one of the city's best and most demanding chefs, had to close Vidalia this month. During its prime, Vidalia turned out some great dishes and produced a number of chefs who went on to do great things themselves.
Maura Judkis, The Washington Post: Domku! Oh, how I miss Domku. I just have so many good memories from that place, over the years. It was really lovely. I would be thrilled to see another Slavic/Scandinavian restaurant pop up somewhere in D.C.
Eun Yang, NBC: Long before Bad Saint and Rose’s Luxury, people stood in line for giant bowls of pasta at Pasta Mia in Adams Morgan. The proprietress wouldn’t let you split the huge portions and she’d arbitrarily close for days. But the food was straightforward and you always left feeling full.
Rebecca Cooper, reporter and columnist, The Washington Business Journal: I have to go with Vidalia, only because that was one of my first "fancy" restaurant meals in D.C., and a restaurant that I revisited happily over the years. Whether it was for a biz lunch or restaurant week, the food and execution never faltered, at least when I was there.
Becky Krystal, reporter, The Washington Post: GBD – man, I loved their doughnuts and biscuits.
Anna Spiegel, food editor, Washingtonian: Seasonal Pantry was a sad closure. I always had wonderful and memorable dinners there. Dan O’Brien was ahead of his time in Shaw—if that caliber of restaurant opened this week with the same concept, people would line up for seats.