Michelin released its 2020 guide for D.C. today, awarding four restaurants their first stars.
Maydan, the Middle Eastern restaurant in the U Street corridor that has seduced diners with a theatrical, blazing fire pit in the center of the dining room, was a big winner, claiming one star after being snubbed last year, its first year of eligibility. The three other newcomers are Gravitas, chef-owner Matt Baker’s Mid-Atlantic tasting room in Ivy City; Little Pearl, the casual companion to Aaron Silverman’s Roses’s Luxury in Capitol Hill; and Sushi Nakazawa, the controversial omakase destination housed in the Trump International Hotel downtown.
High hopes for Bad Saint to become the first Filipino restaurant to win a Michelin star proved to be unfounded. Chef Tom Cunanan took home the James Beard award for Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic this year, but Bad Saint was snubbed for the fourth year in a row. Dropping from the Bib Gourmand list offered a glimmer of optimism that Bad Saint would join the the elite group. Doi Moi also dropped from Michelin’s budget-friendly list but couldn’t garner a star.
The Inn at Little Washington retained its year-old status as the only restaurant in the D.C. guide with three stars.
Minibar, José Andrés’s super-luxe tasting menu restaurant that doles out meals of 20-plus courses for a minimum of $275 per person, held fast at two stars. Given Andrés’s activism feeding victims of natural disasters through World Central Kitchen and his nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize, it was fair to wonder of Michelin would bump him up to three stars. Silverman’s Pineapple and Pearls retained two stars, too.
Michelin inspectors did little to improve their reputation for shunning restaurants that aren’t Euro-centric. Kith/Kin (Afro-Caribbean) and formidable newcomer Mama Chang (homestyle Chinese) were both left off. Centrolina, led by perennial Beard award finalist Amy Brandwein, went unrecognized by an organization that seems to favor men in the kitchen. Restaurateur Ashok Bajaj, celebrating his 30th year in the District, saw Rasika (modern Indian) left off again.
Michelin Washington D.C.’s 2020 Starred Selections