As per tradition, Eater asked a group of restaurant critics, journalists, bloggers, and friends of the site to weigh in on the year in food. Here are the biggest bummers of 2017.
Laura Hayes, Washington City Paper food editor: “DCity Smokehouse.”
Tom Sietsema, Washington Post restaurant critic: “Everything I ate at the soulless Buffalo Wild Wings Grill & Bar, one of 10 casual, full-service brands I reviewed for a story on chain restaurants.”
Lori Gardner, Been There, Eaten That: “Q by Peter Chang. I was so excited about the flagship opening in Bethesda, but found the best dishes to be those showcased in his previous restaurants, including the scallion bubble pancake and dry fried eggplant.”
David Hagedorn, Arlington Magazine/Bethesda Magazine dining columnist: “The food at the Outback Steakhouse in Bristol, Tennessee off of I-81 on Father’s Day was so bad it should have been held as evidence of first-degree patricide.”
Jessica Sidman, Washingtonian food editor: “Ashby Inn. It wasn't necessarily the worst meal I had in 2017, just the most disappointing (especially the vegetarian tasting menu) given expectations and price. For starters, when you trek out to a more rural destination like that, you expect the menu to be a reflection of the season and land around you. But there was enough kumquat, papaya, cucumber, and watermelon scattered throughout the winter menu that it lacked a sense of place. Another pet-peeve: deconstructed dishes that have too many components, making it impossible to orchestrate the right bite. It doesn't matter how artful a plate looks if it doesn't taste great.”
Tim Carman, Washington Post food writer: “Q by Peter Chang. I’d categorize this as my most disappointing meal in 2017, not because it was terrible, but because it offered little (other than price) to separate it from the more casual restaurants in Chang’s empire. I was expecting more polish with the cocktail program and more refined plating and presentations. Plus, the dining room was so bright; it didn’t feel intimate, and I want my so-called fine dining experiences to feel intimate.”
Nevin Martell, DC Modern Luxury dining editor: “An autumn dinner at Espita [Mezcaleria] was profoundly flawed from start to finish, though the creative cocktails helped soften the letdown.”