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Unique/ Signature Dishes in DC

Trip Klaus Oct 21, 2010 11:38 AM

Recently I came across the TV show Unique Eats which was featuring the pasta dishes of Mark Verti of Veti's in Philadelphia who recently won a James Beard award and I believe (based on two phenomenal meals) would earn two Michelin stars if the guide covered Philly.

It got me thinking about DC. Do we have any truly unique or signature dishes?

Two that came to mind were Michel Richard's 72 hour sous vide ribs, but these were created before sous vide became all the rage, and Jose Andres' foie gras cotton candy. But again this has been around for a while and has been exported to LA among other places.

Is it Komi's goat dish?

Is its something Cathal Armstrong is doing at Eve or RJ Cooper was doing before he left Vidalia?

I have been to Volt many times and cannot think of a signature dish.

I don't mean something like Ben's chili dog. Likewise, while we have among the most or best Ethiopian restaurants in the country we can only compare whose Doro Wat or Berbere is better. We have great versions of Parisian or Belgian cafes, steakhouses and pizza parlors but none are doing something truly unique.

Often we have one off novelties like the mac and cheese sticks at Churchkey, or the wonderful homemade products of people like Red Apron or Copper Pot.

But, what are our unique or signature dishes here?

1509 17th St NW Ste 1, Washington, DC 20036

1990 M Street, Washington, DC 20036

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  1. ktmoomau RE: Trip Klaus Oct 21, 2010 12:39 PM

    Of all Michel Richard's signature dishes, I would pick the faux gras and rillettes from Central as the signature dish (or fried chicken or lobster burger). And from Citronelle certainly the breakfast dessert or the lobster beluga pasta.

    I know he says the short ribs are his signature, but when I think what dishes are chronicled the most in the media, those are what I see.

    I think Rasika's Palaak Chat certainly is a signature dish.

    The sablefish at Proof.

    Cowboy cut perhaps at Ray's the Steaks. Ray's Hellburger with foie gras.

    Anything pork belly at Vidalia when RJ Cooper was there.

    Roast Chicken at Palena. I would also think the consomme there would be on the list.

    The Boudin Blanc at Marcel's.

    Grasshopper Taco- Oyamel.

    Bone Marrow at Blue Duck Tavern.

    Soft shell crab at Corduroy.

    I think with newer restaurants the menus are changing more and more often with seasonal ingredients so there aren't as many dishes that stay on the menu to become signatures for instance at Equinox, New Heights or Trummer's, which certainly have exceptional dishes that are extremely unique and I think would be signatures if kept on the menu. But I am sure there are more signature dishes, I just can't think of them at the moment.

    3529 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008

    Rasika Restaurant
    633 D Street, NW, Washington, DC 20004

    3000 M Street NW, Washington, DC 20007

    New Heights Restaurant
    2317 Calvert St. NW, Washington, DC 20008

    1990 M Street, Washington, DC 20036

    Blue Duck Tavern
    1201 24th Street NW, Washington, DC 20037

    1 Reply
    1. re: ktmoomau
      katecm RE: ktmoomau Oct 22, 2010 10:39 AM

      I like the Rasika idea. Others for me would be Michel Richard's lobster burger or his very famous Kit Kat bar dessert.

      Rasika Restaurant
      633 D Street, NW, Washington, DC 20004

    2. c
      ChewFun RE: Trip Klaus Oct 21, 2010 01:34 PM

      This seems like an unanswerable question. What is New York's unique or signature dish? What is Paris'?

      6 Replies
      1. re: ChewFun
        fudizgud RE: ChewFun Oct 22, 2010 06:39 AM

        Gray's Papaya and Ray's Pizza for New York. Thee are enough of them! Haha!

        1. re: fudizgud
          little audrey RE: fudizgud Oct 22, 2010 10:52 AM

          Then our counterparts are Five Guys and Ledo's.

          Ledo Restaurant
          4509 Knox Road, College Park, MD 20740

          1. re: little audrey
            hill food RE: little audrey Oct 22, 2010 05:34 PM

            that's a sad thought.

            1. re: hill food
              fudizgud RE: hill food Oct 23, 2010 05:45 AM

              But true!

              1. re: fudizgud
                Dennis S RE: fudizgud Oct 23, 2010 06:30 AM

                I tried thinking along lines to dispute and could not find an argument.

                To the OP, and along the lower lines - Peruvian Chicken. Outside of Peru, I haven't really see it at all, but certainly not like what we have here. Not LA, not NY, Not ATL, not the midwest (which does have a plethora of great Mexican thanks to the workers).

            2. re: little audrey
              ktmoomau RE: little audrey Oct 25, 2010 12:27 PM

              Or Two Amy's and Ray's Hellburger... not quite as sad.

              Two Amys
              3715 Macomb St NW, Washington, DC 20016

        2. s
          Steve RE: Trip Klaus Oct 21, 2010 02:36 PM

          The firecracker crab bombe at Jerry's Seafood in Lanham would qualify under your parameters.

          Jerry's Seafood
          9364 Lanham Severn Rd, Lanham, MD 20706

          6 Replies
          1. re: Steve
            flavrmeistr RE: Steve Oct 22, 2010 08:03 AM

            The Lefty Special at Mario's. Lobster mashed potatoes at the Tasting Room in Frederick. The fish sandwich at Horace and Dickie's.

            Tasting Room
            101 N Market St, Frederick, MD 21701

            1. re: flavrmeistr
              Steve RE: flavrmeistr Oct 22, 2010 11:50 AM

              I'll see you with a cheeseburger sub with everyhting (except mayo) at Mario's. Outrageous.

              And I'll raise you the Fuhgeddaboudit sandwich at Chutzpah. If I had a picture of it I could instantly convert anyone to Judaism.

              1. re: Steve
                monkeyrotica RE: Steve Oct 22, 2010 12:56 PM

                That's a good sandwich. The chopped liver really pulls it all together. I'd add the G-Man at Mangialardo's and the 3/4lb Crabcake Sandwich at Sullivan's Seafood.

                1. re: Steve
                  chowser RE: Steve Oct 25, 2010 02:28 PM

                  Or maybe the Oops at Chutzpah. I have to say, overall, I'm not super impressed with Chutzpah but what they do well, they do very well.

                  1. re: chowser
                    Dennis S RE: chowser Oct 25, 2010 05:23 PM

                    Well said about Chutzpah. And this statement applies to many places often rec'd and later ridiculed (because advisements weren't followed).

                    1. re: Dennis S
                      chowser RE: Dennis S Oct 25, 2010 06:51 PM

                      That's so true. There are places that do a few things well but no place, or very few places, do everything well.

            2. monkeyrotica RE: Trip Klaus Oct 22, 2010 04:31 AM

              I think Eve's "OOO" soup has always been on the menu.

              1 Reply
              1. re: monkeyrotica
                ashleyrar RE: monkeyrotica Oct 22, 2010 12:50 PM

                its not a soup, but i agree that it is one of their signature dishes. oysters, osetra caviar, and cippolini onions. And i also second the Le Kit Kat and lobster burger from Michel Richard.

              2. o
                Ootek1 RE: Trip Klaus Oct 22, 2010 01:17 PM

                I'd say Komi's oven-roasted date with mascarpone cheese qualifies as a signature dish. I can't recall ever not receiving it, and I can't recall someone not being blown away by it despite its apparent simplicity.

                PS7's tuna tartare sliders. Lots of restaurants do tuna tartare, but these always stood out as unique both for presentation and flavor. One could add the Matchbox miniburgers here, but I'm not sure any miniburger really qualifies as a signature dish, even one that comes with unbelievably delicious onion strings.

                Suppli a telefono at Two Amy's.

                Fully agree about the Palaak Chat at Rasika. I'd love to add the filet al balsamico at Acqua al 2, but I'm pretty sure Firenze has dibs on it.

                Amongst the dearly departed: The original foie gras "sandwich" at Indibleu; Amernick's donuts; the Duke salad (and the liver) at Duke Zeibert's.

                PS7 Restaurant
                777 I Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001

                Two Amys
                3715 Macomb St NW, Washington, DC 20016

                Rasika Restaurant
                633 D Street, NW, Washington, DC 20004

                1509 17th St NW Ste 1, Washington, DC 20036

                2 Replies
                1. re: Ootek1
                  hill food RE: Ootek1 Oct 22, 2010 05:39 PM

                  fully give a strong third to Rasika's Palaak Chat, I might add RIS' lamb chops and the Kitfo found at various places (I'll have mine raw thanks).

                  Rasika Restaurant
                  633 D Street, NW, Washington, DC 20004

                  2275 L Street NW, Washington, DC 20037

                  1. re: Ootek1
                    flavrmeistr RE: Ootek1 Oct 25, 2010 08:28 AM

                    How about Duke Ziebert's famous "Nothing Burger"? A hamburger bun with a slice of raw onion and a dab of mustard. He also had the "Cannibal", a raw hamburger patty paved with capers and green onions. Try getting either of those at Five Guys.

                  2. Mister Big RE: Trip Klaus Oct 26, 2010 02:50 PM

                    Yum watercress at Ruan Thai.

                    Ruan Thai Restaurant
                    11407 Amherst Ave, Silver Spring, MD 20902

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