Following an Eater tradition, we asked a group of restaurant critics, journalists, bloggers, and friends of the site to weigh in on the year in food. Their answers to the annual “Year in Eater” survey will be revealed in several posts this week. Next up, the dining experts share their top restaurant newcomers from 2018.
Tom Sietsema, Washington Post food critic: I’m editing myself here, because there were a *lot* of exciting additions to the dining scene. But if someone held a corkscrew to my head, and I could only choose five, they would be Chloe, Ellē, Fancy Radish, Kuya Ja’s and Three Blacksmiths. All added something novel to the mix.
Jessica Sidman, Washingtonian food editor: I know a lot of people who refuse to step foot in the Trump hotel, but they’re really missing out on Sushi Nakazawa. The sushi is superb. Other top newcomers: Ellē, Spoken English, and Kaliwa.
Tim Carman, Washington Post food writer: It was a good year for affordable eating in the D.C. area. Among my favorite newcomers were Momo Yakitori in Woodridge/Brookland, Little Sesame on L Street NW, Xi’an Gourmet in Rockville, and Philly Wing Fry at the South Capitol Hill Whole Foods and at Union Market.
Lori Gardner, Been There, Eaten That blogger: So many great new restaurants this year. St. Anselm, Poca Madre, Fancy Radish, Spoken English, Nama, Reverie, Gravitas, Ellē. I should probably stop, but I’m sure I’m forgetting some.
Nevin Martell, food writer and co-author of Red Truck Bakery Cookbook: Three Blacksmiths out in Sperryville, Virginia, is an unqualified smash, well worth the drive. Chef John MacPherson puts out a seasonally inspired, locally driven five-course tasting menu built on classic technique, while his wife, Diane, handles the front of the house with warm grace and a light touch. Here in D.C., Ellē stood out thanks to chef Brad Deboy’s unconventional, but winning, flavor combinations, like toast topped by grilled kimchi, yogurt, and XO sauce, and maple marinated feta crusted with dehydrated olives. Call Your Mother superseded the intense hype and totally delivers (once you get to the front of the line). And Nama wowed with stellar sashimi and nigiri, flavorful small plates (the Kobe sliders with umami flavors are a must-order), and desserts from Alex Levin.
More from the Year in Eater:
- D.C. Food Writers Predict Headline News for 2019
- D.C. Food Writers Share the Best Meals They Had in 2018
- The Most Annoying D.C. Food Trends of 2018, According to the Experts
- What Surprised D.C. Food Writers the Most in 2018
- D.C.’s Best Dining Neighborhood of 2018, According to the Experts
- The One Word That Defines the Restaurant World in 2018
- Where D.C. Food Writers Loved to Eat in 2018