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D.C. Dining Authorities Share Their Most Disappointing Meals This Year

Edible sadness

Provision No. 14
R. Lopez
Missy Frederick is the Cities Director for Eater.

As per tradition, Eater asked a group of journalists, bloggers and friends of the site to weigh in on the year in food. Here, learn about their dining letdowns.

Tom Sietsema, food critic, The Washington Post: “Easy: All seven lunches and dinners I endured at Founding Farmers”

Nevin Martell, freelance food critic and cookbook author: “I had a dinner at Provision No. 14 featuring a dish with three components never intended to share a plate: lamb held together with meat glue, brûléed bananas and coffee soil. That being said, when I ate with chef John Levitt again after he had moved over to Water & Wall, he put out a tremendous meal, including tender taro gnocchi with rabbit and tiger figs, which rank as one of my favorite dishes of the year.”

Svetlana Legetic, founder, Brightest Young Things: “I try not to have disappointing meals.”

Ann Limpert, food critic and editor, Washingtonian: “My parents aren’t big brunchers, and our late morning meal at Et Voila! did nothing to change their minds on the subject. Charming as the place can be, we encountered hardened yolks, stale bread, bland onion soup, and worse—nearly everything we ordered was blanketed in congealed cheese that tasted mostly of the fridge. Yikes! As my mom would say, ‘Not worth the cals.’”

Steph Covello, D.C. Co-Editor, Bitches Who Brunch: "RPM Italian, and that terrible brunch at L’Hommage Bisro Francais.”

Jessica Strelitz, freelance food writer: “Room-service weiner schnitzel during a business trip to Austria that I should have reported to cultural authorities. It was old-shoe level inedible. I threw it out and ordered more Gruner Veltliner.”

Laura Hayes, food editor, Washington City Paper: “Politics aside, dinner at BLT Prime in Trump's DC hotel. Everything that was supposed to be hot was cold and vice versa. Oysters with too many blobs on top came out suspiciously fast to have been freshly shucked. Bacon arrived on a clothesline with peculiar sidekicks like gold scissors, a lemon wedge, and a pickle. Their idea of playful was dubbing a heap of cold fries with wisps of beef jerky "hipster fries." Worse yet, the restaurant's greying steak tartare came topped with a two inch thick hockey puck of cold, veiny foie gras. The sad pile was accompanied by *cold* fried grapes in a puddle of hotdog mustard and weird almond covered crisps.”

Dan Silverman, PoPville (i.e. the Prince of Petworth): I don't like to name names but I had a pretty disappointing seafood meal in Navy Yard.

Jessica Sidman, food editor, Washingtonian: Earlier this year, I tried the new "evenings" menu at Starbucks, and that was by far one of the most depressing meals of all time. The leathery meatballs came with a dried-out, caked-on tomato sauce. The mac and cheese was burnt in the toaster oven. And the poor barista could not for the life of him figure out how to open a bottle of wine. Plus, it's sad drinking in an a place where the only other customer is working on his laptop.

Stefanie Gans, food editor and critic, Northern Virginia Magazine: Zahav in Philly. Sure, it's hard to live up to insane expectations and some of the dishes were wonderful, but that lamb shoulder...My husband and I looked up at each other and we're just like, "Ugh. That is over-cooked. Sucks."

Jody Fellows, Burger Days/Falls Church News-Press: I took my wife and kids to the "new" brunch at Sea Pearl for Mother's Day. It was not a good choice. The restaurant was packed and it was near impossible to find a plate — and the ones that were available were often dirty. Once we did manage to secure clean dishes, we had to deal with a horde of people at the buffet table who were battling for picked-over food like it was the end of days. But, hey, at least the ice cream was good.

Tim Carman, The $20 Diner Columnist, The Washington Post: All the Kind bars I had to eat for lunch because I couldn't pull myself away from my desk to dine at some place decent.

Maura Judkis, The Washington Post: It was at Palette 22, where one cocktail tasted like melted candy corn, and a ceviche seemed as if it was doused in ketchup. I made multiple trips to that restaurant, and my favorite thing was the bathroom wall art.

Rebecca Cooper, reporter and columnist, The Washington Business Journal: An old-school Italian spot in my neighborhood where I reluctantly agree to go because my dad likes it. They served my 90-year-old grandmother dry chicken and I will never forgive them.

Becky Krystal, reporter, The Washington Post: I had a shockingly bland lunch from an Indian food truck whose restaurant I used to patronize. Really bummed me out.

Anna Spiegel, food editor, Washingtonian: The one where I landed in the ER after the worst food poisoning of my life. I’d eaten out for three consecutive meals, so who knows. The doctor asked me if I’d eaten anything “exotic”, and when I rattled off a list (lamb steak, uni, clam pizza), he said “Oh, you’re like Anthony Bourdain!” I wish.