Now that we’re a family of four, it’s more often than not you’ll see us enjoying Thai carryout or Peruvian chicken these days than dining out at all of the newest spots (and let’s admit it, even we can’t keep up with all of these openings). Nonetheless, we were still able to explore some great restaurants in the District during those very precious date nights, so without further ado, here are our favorite dishes of the year:
Pan Seared scallops – Kyirisan
While we haven’t had the chance to write up our fabulous meal at Kyirisan just yet (rest assured, we will!), Tim Ma’s latest restaurant is serving up one of the best scallop dishes in Shaw if not the entire District. The four perfectly seared scallops are placed atop a bed of rich coconut risotto and, get this, basil ice cream. Our server told us to wait until the dollop of ice cream melted before partaking in this amazing entrée. Patience is a virtue but it paid off, immensely. There’s a reason why this is one of the most-ordered dishes off the menu.
Pork bahn mi – Mi Lay Cay
I’m ashamed to admit that after living in Silver Spring for over two and a half years that my first visit to the Vietnamese staple in Wheaton was only a couple of months ago. I sincerely regret not going there sooner. For starters, their bahn mi sandwich is tremendous both in size and value. Stuffed with generous servings of delicious pork and sandwiched by a crispy baguette, the foot long sandwich will run you just a mere $4.50!
Socca – Convivial
While the fried chicken “coq au vin” gets a lot of the well-deserved hype, the socca is just as good and twice as pretty. The chickpea pancake sets the foundation for a tower of beets, citrus fruit, shaved fennel, and picholine olives. The combination, as eccentric as it sounds on paper, works so effortlessly well.
Chicken Himmapan – Thai Taste by Kob
Look, I love the Bamee Moo Deang. I really do. But the chicken himmapan might be my new go-to dish after my last few visits to Phak Duangchandr’s amazing Thai eatery. The stir-fried chicken is served with cashews and dried red chilies that make for a spicy yet satisfying entrée.
Sansa Temple Bibimbap – Seoul Food
Like the aforementioned Mi La Cay, Rachel and I are kicking ourselves for not discovering this Wheaton gem sooner. While neither of us are vegan, the Sansa Temple Bibimbap is a vegan lover’s dream that appeals to carnivores alike. Prepared with sprouts, shiitake mushrooms, avocado, seaweed, and a blend of original and chives kimchi (both prepared-in house), this dish is just one of half a dozen vegan bibimbap preparations Seoul Food makes.
Cauliflower soup with Parmesan – Corduroy
It’s no secret that chef and owner Tom Power makes some of the best soups you’ll find in the District, and his trademark cauliflower soup is no exception. Topped with aged Parmesan, the rich and creamy cauliflower soup is an essential dish especially during these wintery months.
Lamb Ribs – Tail Up Goat
The newly Michelin-starred restaurant in Adams Morgan took a cue from its mentor at Komi by serving up a family-style platter of incredibly succulent lamb ribs. Meant for sharing and accompanied with sumac onions, beets, and a wonderful yogurt sauce, the Mediterranean-style dish is worth the visit alone.
Sweet Corn Agnolotti – RPM Italian
The Chicago import has been highly buzzed about since they opened earlier this year, but Rachel and I were very impressed with the pastas they were churning out of the kitchen, especially the sweet corn agnolotti. Topped with summer truffles and cracked pepper, the pillows of pasta basically melted in your mouth.
Ma Po Tofu – Bob’s Shanghai 66
I’ve been to Bob’s 66 twice this year and have had the Ma Po Tofu each time. And I don’t even like tofu! Yes, the soup dumplings are all the rage but for me to eat tofu and actually enjoy it is quite an extraordinary feat. I guess I really do like tofu. As long as it’s incredibly spicy, that is.
Shack Stack Burger – Shake Shack
I like Shake Shack. A lot. But you know what? A single cheeseburger isn’t filling enough when I’m at a Nats game. So why not throw a fried portabella mushroom patty filled with melted Muenster and cheddar cheese on top of it? Done.