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New Dining Guide Shows Tom Sietsema Freaking Loves a Tasting Menu

Plus, a new soul food spot that serves West African food in Southeast

A dish from Pineapple and Pearls
A dish from Pineapple and Pearls
The Washington Post via Getty Images

Wearing fancy pants for two decades

Esteemed Washington Post critic Tom Sietsema has been revealing his top 10 list of best restaurants bit by bit over the past couple of weeks leading up to the publication of his 20th annual fall dining guide. He completed the list yesterday, ultimately devoting half his picks — and three of the top four — to tasting menu restaurants. Seven Reasons, the artsy Latin American newcomer that landed in the top spot, is a notable exception.

A couple of those come with exorbitant price tags that, depending on diners’ sensibilities, border on obscene: $325 per person (including drinks, tax, and tip) at No. 3 Pineapple and Pearls, and $200 per person (tip included) at No. 4 Métier. Second-ranked Rooster & Owl is a more reasonable option $65 per person. No. 8 Three Blacksmiths runs a tasting menu starting at $128 per person. The fifth-ranked Restaurant at Patowmack has a “progressive menu” that starts at $110 and an a la carte brunch. Both of those last two picks stretch the limits of the D.C. area with respective locations in the tiny Virginia towns of Sperrryville and Lovettsville.

To mark the milestone dining guide, Sietsema also got the chance to play matchmaker for the Post magazine’s Date Lab feature. He appears to have done the impossible, pairing a couple that seemed destined for a second date. In Date Lab terms, that means both parties rated their night highly but had to postpone a follow-up because of a work conflict.

Here’s Sietsema’s full list in order of ranking:

  1. Seven Reasons
  2. Rooster & Owl
  3. Pineapple & Pearls
  4. Métier
  5. The Restaurant at Patowmack
  6. Poca Madre
  7. Mama Chang
  8. Three Blacksmiths
  9. Anju
  10. Thamee

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