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Logan Circle’s Bresca Joins the Michelin Family on Thursday

The modern American restaurant was just awarded its first star

Bresca DC duck
A duck dish at Bresca.
Rey Lopez/Eater DC
Tierney Plumb is the editor of Eater DC, covering all things food and drink around the nation's capital.

Chef Ryan Ratino just got the call every chef waits for over their career: Michelin inspectors just let him know his year-old restaurant Bresca is getting a coveted star.

The D.C. Michelin guide’s full 2019 list of starred restaurants is expected to be announced to the public on Thursday, September 13, but Ratino made the news public on his social media feeds two hours prior:

Last year, two newcomers joined D.C.’s Michelin list: Eric Ziebold’s Metier and Johnny Monis’ Komi. D.C.’s 2018 Michelin list, which includes 14 restaurants, which was refreshed on Thursday for 2019 — marking D.C.’s third straight year with a guide.

Michael Ellis, the international director of the Michelin guides, says he’s followed Ratino’s work closely over the years, both in New York and at the now-shuttered Ripple in Cleveland Park.

“He been exposed to interesting kitchens and concepts,” says Ellis of Ratino, who’s also cooked at fusion restaurant Masa 14, gastro playground Minibar, and exurban retreat L’Auberge Provencale. At Bresca, inspectors encountered “well-executed food with great ingredients,” says Ellis.

What elevated Bresca to star status was the fact Ratino’s “also got his own personality and turns dishes inside out. He does things you wouldn’t expect to see — but he pulls it off,” says Ellis.

The RAMMY award-winning chef’s “riff” on surf and turf — a squab and lobster dish — impressed inspectors, notes Ellis. As did Ratino’s commitment to sustainability — though Ellis stressed that’s not part of Michelin’s award criteria.

Bresca is D.C.’s first fine dining restaurant to go “carbon neutral,” joining San Francisco, Calif.-based nonprofit Zero Food Print’s newly updated list of 18 like-minded restaurants going green across the globe.

Ratino’s 60-seat stylish restaurant has already collected a steady stream of accolades since opening nearly a year ago to the day, named Eater DC’s 2017 dining Sensation of the Year and Washington City Paper’s best new restaurant of the year.

The innovative eatery recently followed through on its mission to incorporate a vintage duck press into its dinner service, with Ratino putting his spin on a traditional canard à la rouennaise this summer.


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