As 2011 draws to a close, we are proud to celebrate our first full year of content by listing the top dishes we have encountered over the last twelve months. The task proved difficult as we have come across some thrilling, creative, and downright delicious foods across the DC area. So, without further ado, here are our absolute favorites from 2011:
Graffiato – Roasted Potato Gnocchi: Graffiato was one of the most anticipated restaurant openings of the year, and it did not disappoint as Chef Isabella’s gnocchi was one of the best pastas we had come across this year. Incredibly delicate, it was accompanied with braised pork shank and burrata. Just exceptional.
Fishnet – Fish Tacos: I have already been to Fishnet twice since they opened just last month and I can’t wait to return once they reopen next week. I was fortunate enough to have their fish tacos on my most recent visit, which were comprised of pieces of fried salmon, coleslaw, sour cream, garlic, and lime wrapped in a freshly-grilled tortilla. Between the fresh ingredients and terrific execution, it’s one of my top new restaurants of the year.
Obelisk – Burrata: The homemade burrata at Obelisk was simply heavenly. Drizzled with olive oil, it’s one of the best cheeses you’ll find in DC. Soft and creamy with just a hint of salt, I wish I had a plate of it in front of me right now.
Komi – Roasted dates stuffed with mascarpone cheese: While Komi might have been our top dining experience of the year, I always think back to this dish when recalling this wonderful meal. A perfect balance of sweet and salty.
Inn at Little Washington – Tuna Pretending to be Filet Mignon: Sheer decadence. Topped with seared duck foie gras and accompanied with charred onions and a burgundy butter sauce, it doesn’t get much better than Chef O’Connell’s signature dish. This flawlessly cooked piece of fish makes the visit to the Inn worthwhile by itself.
Palena – The Palena Cheese Burger: The best burger in DC. ‘Nuff said.
Jerry’s Seafood – The Crab Bomb: Ten ounces of pure jumbo lump crab meat, no filler. It’s a rite of passage for any resident in the DC metropolitan area.
Marathon Deli – Gyro: While there are a multitude of places where one can buy a gyro in the area, Marathon Deli in College Park serves up the best. Between the blend of lamb and beef, feta, tomatoes, onions, and homemade tzatziki, it’s one delicious gyro. The combo meal is a hell of a value, too.
Central – Lobster Burger: There were lots of things I wanted to try at our first visit to Central this summer, but I couldn’t resist ordering Michel Richard’s famous lobster burger. Between the combination of the warm bun, the crunch of the parmesan crisp, and the incredibly juicy lobster, this was certainly one memorable burger.
Atlas Room: Chicken Wonton Soup: When we asked our friends what to get at Atlas Room, their first response was, “get the wonton soup.” Generally, soup isn’t the most standout item in a meal, but it was the best decision I made that night. The soup featured chicken dumplings, shitake mushrooms, and a savoy cabbage broth with crispy onions. I’ll go back to Atlas Room again for the soup alone.
Kushi – Black Sesame Gelato: We had so many wonderful bites during our dizzying meal at Kushi, but I have to say the best was the black sesame gelato to end our meal. It was such a distinct and unique flavor that I nearly forgot all the sushi and grilled items we consumed that evening.
Trummer’s on Main: The Titanic Drink: Trummer’s holds a special place with us since we went there during the weekend of our one-year anniversary. They have many tasty cocktails there, but the signature drink of champagne and vodka was truly outstanding, let alone the witty presentation. With a mound of ice floating in the glass with muddled grapes sunk at the bottom, it’s easy to see why this cocktail is so popular.
Fiola – Lobster Ravioli: I just went to Fiola a few weeks ago and haven’t been able to stop raving about this dish. One and a half pounds of lobster meat, some in wonton-like dumplings, and the rest floating in a lobster sauce. May be my favorite dish of 2011.
America Eats Tavern – Hush Puppies: We just tried America Eats this week (review forthcoming), and I’m still thinking about those wonderful hush puppies we ate there. They were warm, buttery, and somehow incredibly light and crispy. They tasted even better dipped in the corn butter that accompanied it. Yum.