CITY GUIDES | Washington, D.C.

CITY GUIDES | Washington, D.C.

The best possible outcomes in the City of Magnificent Intentions.

January 7, 2019
CITY GUIDES | Washington, D.C.

CITY GUIDES | Washington, D.C.

The best possible outcomes in the City of Magnificent Intentions.

January 7, 2019
Interviews by Cassandra Landry | Art by ChefsFeed

Politics might be one endless chyron-tapeworm in the fusty, forgotten passages of our sanity, but I'll tell you what: The food in the nation's capital is straight FIRE. So there's that. 

Part of our goal with these shiny new City Guides is to show you exactly how to fall in love with a place, straight from food people who have done it. We want to know where they'd blow rent money if there were no repercussions, where they go when they want to people-watch and take a few breaths away from the kitchen. Where the best coffee is, so you're not eyeing the powdered creamer in your hotel room and thinking, I mean, I guess that's basically the same thing, right? 

We try not to forget all the good stuff that fills the hours between meals—the way the light hits a certain street corner, or the walks that make you feel like a part of something bigger. All those the quirks and hidden gems that make any great love story worthwhile.

 This round: Washington, D.C. (and its surrounding environs, if you're fancy).


Kevin: This is super casual, but I like going to CHIKO. They do fast-casual, but the food is done by Scott Drewno and Danny Lee. Danny Lee opened up the first Korean restaurants in D.C. and Scott Drewno was a chef at The Source. They opened up a place together doing Chinese-Korean food you order at the counter, but it's two very well-trained chefs doing food in a super casual setting, which I love and everything's just absolutely delicious.

Everyone always feels like there's so much pressure to perform and to live up to a certain hype or whatever people think about us. I think at the end of the day, we're all cooking because we love it and we're having a lot of fun—but I think doing that format reminds us of why we started cooking in the first place. We're just doing crazy awesome tasty food, it's just ... you're not doing it for this award or that award or recognition, you're just doing what you originally meant to do. 

Cable: CHIKO is badass.  The dumplings are really fucking good. Jeremiah [Langhorne] is just killing at The Dabney. That's one of the best meals I've had in a really long time. I used to live in Atlanta for a while, and it just reminded me of good Southern food, which I didn't expect to find in D.C. It has that homey feel to it, but it's simultaneously super creative. The service is fantastic.

We really like to go to a place called Beuchert’s on the hill. Andrew Markert is the chef there and he just makes really solid, simple food. They have really great cocktails and it feels cozy, especially in winter. One year, we had a crazy snowstorm here and everything was closed down. We walked to Beuchert's and they were playing The Shining on a TV that you roll in, like you're in class. Kevin's restaurant Himitsu is really good.

Tim: Rose's Luxury is a go-to place. You know exactly what you're gonna get, you know it's always going to be good. I think some people just land on certain combinations of things that work, and Aaron just hit it at the right time with the right design, with the perfect service. Then on top of that, the food was good, the press leading up to it was right, and then his choices on no reservations made it a place to be. Everything was just good.

[The menu] changes frequently, but I've never had anything bad. I've even had a very good play on a Caesar salad. Everybody's going to say the go-to dish is the pork and lychee salad, but it's a very solid dish. 


Hot Spot
$$$, Cocktail Bar, Japanese, Reservations, Lounge, Peachtree Heights West
1 Recommendation
The Dabney
Hot Spot
$$$, Happy Hour, Outdoor Seating, Reservations, Full Bar, American, Downtown


Kevin: I'd probably go to the LINE Hotel because I can get the best of a bunch of different things. Erik Bruner-Yang at Brothers and Sisters does a really awesome interpretation of Asian-American cuisine. At one point, we had a crudo on our menu [at Himitsu] that had a coconut milk-based sauce on it. And it's really good, people actually loved that dish on our menu; it was one of our top five dishes. But when I went to the LINE, they had a crudo that had a coconut sauce on it. Exact same dish and flavor profile: ginger, chilies, coconut milk, lime. I thought it was so much better, I took ours off the menu. There was no point in me making my sauce anymore because Erik's was so good.

Then, I'd go upstairs to A Rake's Progress by Spike Gjerde. It doesn't get more local than what Spike does. He doesn't source out of a certain mile radius. It's so local he doesn't have lemons and limes. For super late night, there's a place called Spoken English, which is standing-room only. And then I would go back to the hotel lobby and order dessert from their pastry chef because their dessert is really big. They do things like a seven-layer cake or a meringue six inches high. 

Tim: Being in the industry is different from being outside of the industry [around] the perception of value, especially at that level, but there's a restaurant called Pineapple and Pearls by Aaron Silverman, which is ... you know, they have two Michelin stars and all that. He's one of the most respected people here. Some of my chefs have splurged and gone there and they're just like, yeah, that's like the most avant-garde we can do here in D.C., and it's awesome.

Cable: I would want to try Pineapple and Pearls, just see what they do.


Kevin's Got The Only Sweet Tooth

Kevin: Sometimes I just sneak into José Andrés's Oyamel and grab any dessert off the menu and a café de olla, which is a cinnamon and spice-based coffee drink.

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