The Ten: Best New Restaurants of 2012

So many choices, so little time. The Ten is your guide to the best of the best that D.C. has to offer.

For the last twelve months, I’ve been dining in and around to D.C. to ferret out the finest new places to eat. Competition was fierce, but ten competitors stood tall when all was said and done.

Range/Family Meal 

Bryan Voltaggio officially earned the title empire builder this year. First there was Family Meal, a modernist diner perched on the outskirts of Frederick, then came the sprawling, Eataly-styled Range in Chevy Chase.

Stachowski’s Market 

Phenomenal pheasant pâté with pinot onions? Check. Mind-blowing duck prosciutto? Check. The best pastrami sandwich in town? Check. This spot-on corner butchery is all hits and no misses.

Mesob on Wheels 

One of freshest, most flavorful meals I enjoyed all year was at this MoCo Ethiopian food truck. The key sig wot(spicy beef stew) deftly balanced intensity and subtlety, while the spicy split pea stew (alecha ater kik) was simply straight up delicious.

Green Pig Bistro

Comfort food king Scott Harlan takes a tip to trotters approach at his debut eatery. There’s a whole lot to appreciate here, from crispy pig ear tacos to pork belly and all points in between.

WTF 

The baby brother to Jeffrey Buben’s Woodward Table next door, this delicatessen produces stellar sandwiches worth the wait. Right now, my favorite is the Chick Chick – spiced fried chicken coronated with bread and butter pickles, cranberry spread, and house-made mayo on a freshly baked potato bun.

Find out my other five picks by clicking over to CityEats’ Plate blog now.

Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Parker.

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Eat By Numbers: Rasika West End

When you dine out, you might think about the ingredients that go into your food, but you probably don’t think about all the numbers that make your meal happen. Restaurants are filled with interesting figures that might not be apparent when you bite into an enticing entrée or take a sip of a signature cocktail, but they’re all around you.

This week we take a trip to modernist Indian mecca Rasika West End to get the lowdown on how much rice they cook up and how many chilies they burn through every week. Plus, a quick primer on how to correctly pronounce the restaurant’s name.

 

Rasika West End

Seats in restaurant: 160

Books in the library room: 300

Palika window booths: Three

Indian whiskeys on the menu: One, Amrut

Indian beers on the menu: One, Kingfisher

Get the rest of the numbers by clicking over to CityEats’ Plate blog now.

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Dirty Dishing: Rasika West End’s Ashok Bajaj and His Sculpture Snafu

Tragicomic insider stories about the trials, tribulations, and just plain weird stuff that happens when you run a restaurant.

Restaurateur Ashok Bajaj is a seasoned pro when it comes to opening up new hotspots. Over more than two decades, he has built an empire that includes long-loved and well-lauded dining destinations such as Rasika, the Oval Room, and Bibiana.

Despite this record of success, he still runs into some problems. When it came time to design a sister location to Rasika located in the West End, Bajaj didn’t want it to be a carbon copy of the original. So he worked with designers to create a singular space full of grand gestures – literally.

Finish reading this story on CityEats’ Plate blog now.

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