|Homemade duck pho|
Included in this best-of-worst-of are meals that we both had this year (so, minibar, Rasika, I still love you, just not here), and that we posted about this year (thus the mad rush this week). We're also using a similar formula to measure Hype as last year (though, this time we're only using Washingtonian rankings). And yes, I fully admit that most of these metrics are completely arbitrary.
Anyway, it being that time of year after all, the Official DCWD 2011 Best and Worst Lists:
|Drinks at The Cajun Experience|
Let's just get this over with. Being bad is one thing, lots of places suffer from the disease of meh. We had some terrible service at Urbana (though they later shaped up) and not-so-good food at Vento (man, shape up P Street!). We had restaurants that came nowhere near their past performance (Bibiana), or their lofty Washingtonian hype (Cafe du Parc)
But the winner (or loser, I guess) by far is Montmartre. Awful service, mushy food, but with the added burden of expectations; you wouldn't know it, but the place has been in the Top 100 four years running now.
|Dessert at Cafe Boulud|
Honorable mention goes to Bar Pilar, but by far our favorite cheap but awesome date was Comet Ping Pong. Sit aside, 2 Amy's, there's a new best pizza in town. Comet also wins points for also being the most fun waiting-for-your-table experience: grabbing a beer, and playing some ping pong before dinner = freaking awesome.
Now for the also-rans. This year, we went to plenty of places that gave us great times but also nearly broke the hype meter: the two devastatingly cool 14th Street relative newcomers with delicious food but no space at the bar on a Tuesday night in Pearl Dive Oyster Palace and Estadio. And the granddaddy of hype: the up-and-down flavors but definitely fun-with-food experience that was Rogue 24. Both were great, but not enough to break into the Top 7.
|Radish carpaccio at Obelisk|
So without further adieu then, the Top 7 for 2011 (Best Food Dates in the D.C. Area):
|Comet Ping Pong|
6) Posto - Official Girlfriend of DCWD Texas, for obvious reasons, has most often been my dinner companion for the second half of the year, and she would literally slap me across the face if I didn't include Posto on this list. Sure, you can have a slightly more white-cloth experience at its big brother Tosca. But our service there was legendarily good. Thoughtful, friendly, and made the fresh pasta that much better.
5) Trummer's on Main - It's sad that some of the most beautiful dining rooms in the area are out in the middle of nowhere, Virginia. This is especially the case for Trummer's, a gorgeous roadside inn with three levels of handsome modernized-country-decor space. Throw in a kitchen that knows how to work its flavors, and a selection of local wine that's actually delicious, and it's well worth the Zipcar reservation.
|Beer sampler at Lyon Hall|
3) Fiola - In any other year, Pearl Dive would have run away with the Best Opening of 2011. This was no ordinary year. Fiola is an instant Top 10 challenger, and marks Fabio Trabocchi's grand return to D.C. A cute dining area with a fairly large bar area, an excellent drink program, and the best overall pasta this year.
2) Komi - There isn't much to say. It's a little more expensive than your average meal. It's a decently hard reservation to get. It has the burden of three straight #1's in the Washingtonian Top 100. And yet, it's also the best meal in D.C., with the coolest sommelier on the planet, and food that just literally blows your mind.
|Amuse bouche at Eola|