2018 Restaurant World Summed Up in One Word- Frenetic

When Eater DC invited me to participate in their 2018 year-end survey, I was eager to provide my input.  Answering the questions becomes a delightful journey down memory lane. At the same time, it’s daunting, as I know my answers will appear alongside DC’s established food journalists.  I took a stab at it from my perspective as an amateur observer- with my lens as a Montgomery County resident and someone who writes about Jewish food.

Here are the questions posted by Eater DC, along with my responses.  I’ve filled in more detail, since I was striving to be brief.



The One Word That Defines the Restaurant World in 2018

D.C. food writers sum up the year

My response= frenetic

More:  Last year I made a resolution to do a better “job” (even though it’s not really my job) to keep up with trying new restaurants while continuing to patronize my established favorites. It was just too much to conquer with so many openings this year. I surrender.  See my list of best new restaurants to see what I was able to accomplish.

All responses here 

D.C.’s Best New Restaurants of 2018, According to the Experts

Local food writers pick their top newcomers of the year

My response= So many great new restaurants this year. St. Anselm, Poca Madre, Fancy Radish, Spoken English, Nama, Reverie, Gravitas, Ellē. I should probably stop, but I’m sure I’m forgetting some.

More: Yes, I did forget some.  Most notably:  Kuya Ja’s Lechon Belly- a Filipino fast casual restaurant in Rockville.  I also left out Call Your Mother- but that’s because I included it in two other responses.

All responses here. 

Where D.C. Food Writers Loved to Eat in 2018

Dining experts share their restaurant standbys

My response= I can’t get enough of Himitsu, BrescaMaydan, and All-Purpose. I just made it back to Convivial, and so glad that I did. Inferno Pizzeria Napoletana: I‘m going there tonight and it’s the second time in the last four weeks.

More:  After I submitted my survey responses to Eater DC, I dined at Centrolina, which I adore.  In filling out the survey, I realize I haven’t been to Rose’s Luxury all year, which makes me sad.  I did have a fabulous dinner at its sister restaurant, Little Pearl. It was a night devoted to seafood presented by Chefs Aaron Silverman and BJ Lieberman. 2019 will absolutely include at least one visit to Rose’s Luxury.  I’m also eager to get back to fast casual restaurants Chiko and Rasa, two of my favorite newcomers last year.

All responses here. 

D.C. Food Writers Share the Best Meals They Had in 2018

Professional eaters* pick favorites from D.C. to Richmond to Los Angeles

My response= Pineapple and Pearls. We sat at the bar. It’s all so elegant, but not too serious. Exceptional in every way.

More: I should also have included Kith/Kin, which was such a wow meal.  And I still can’t stop talking about our recent tasting menu experience at OCD in Tel Aviv.

All responses here

*If being referred to as a professional eater means I can get a tax deduction on all the restaurant meals I’ve had this year, I’ll take it.  In truth, all this eating out is just an expensive, but very delicious hobby. 

 The Most Annoying D.C. Food Trends of 2018, According to the Experts

Local food writers share their grievances

My response= I keep hoping for more interesting dining options in Bethesda. So many restaurants, but so few that are truly enticing. Thankfully, things are looking up in Silver Spring and Rockville.

More: I wish I could get more excited about dining in Bethesda.  There are two prime spots open with the vacancies left by Kapnos Kouzina and Redwood Restaurant & Bar. The word from many restaurateurs is that Bethesda is too expensive and risky.  I look forward to seeing what happens with both these spaces.  In the meantime, my Bethesda standbys are Silver, True Food Kitchen, Duck, Duck, Goose, and Barrel and Crow.  What am I missing?

On the plus side, in Rockville we now have Julii and Nada in Pike and Rose, along with Kuya Ja, Akira Ramen & Izakaya, and Xi’an Gourmet. In Silver Spring I like Buena Vida and Urban Butcher, with Dish and Dram as an excellent option in Kensington.

All responses here. 

What Surprised D.C. Food Writers the Most in 2018

Mike Isabella, José Andrés, and new bagels all play a part

My response= Call Your Mother consistently attracting huge crowds of patrons from all over the D.C. area. The bagels are phenomenal, but who could anticipate that a “Jew-ish” deli in a very non-Jewish area would do so well?

MoreIt was hard not to say the Mike Isabella story, but in all honesty, I knew that most of the other writers would include it in their response.  I went with Call Your Mother, which is such a sensation in part due to owner Andrew Dana’s marketing savvy but when it comes down to it, it’s about their terrific bagels.

All responses here.

D.C.’s Best Dining Neighborhood of 2018, According to the Experts

Local food writers share their favorite areas to grab a bite

My response= Shaw has such diversity and quality. It’s hard to beat a neighborhood that includes the DabneyKinshipUnconventional DinerTiger ForkHazelHaikan, and Seylou Bakery.

More: There’s so much happening at the Wharf right now with Kith/Kin, Kaliwa, and the new Tiki TNT, Officina, and Rappahannock Oyster Bar.  Adam’s Morgan is booming too with the trio of restaurants at The Line Hotel, Tail Up Goat, and Lucky Buns to name a few.  But what about NoMa with the just opened St. Anselm, a new location for Shouk, and the upcoming Coconut Club from Chef Adam Greenberg?  This leads me back to my word of the year: frenetic.

All responses here.

D.C. Food Writers Predict Headline News for 2019

It could be a big year for José Andrés

My response= “D.C. gets more Jewish with additional locations of Call Your Mother and an Israeli restaurant from Michael Solomonov.”

More: I leaned into my Jewish perspective.   I would love to see Call Your Mother open in downtown Silver Spring, and Michael Solomonov has hinted that DC is an option for opening a restaurant. But I agree that a Nobel Prize for José Andrés is so well-deserved and would give us all something to cheer about.

All responses here. 

My new year’s resolutions:  More sleep.  More Exercise.  Less food.  Less social media. 

We’ll see how that goes.

And finally, my top most liked posts on Instagram for 2018.

Photos from the top:  1. Tuna poke tartare at Daikaya 2. Assorted dishes at Q by Peter Chang 3. Bouillabaisse at Convivial 4. Hambugu at Daikaya 5. From the Kitchen at Maydan 6. Christmas dinner at Q by Peter Chang 7. Seared Scallops at Ellē  8. First photo as a grandmother (delicious in a different way) 9. Agnolotti at Pineapple and Pearls

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