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Unique/ Signature Dishes in DC

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?

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

Vidalia
1990 M Street, Washington, DC 20036

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  1. 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.

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    Palena
    3529 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008

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

    Citronelle
    3000 M Street NW, Washington, DC 20007

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

    Vidalia
    1990 M Street, Washington, DC 20036

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

    1 Reply
    1. re: ktmoomau

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

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

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

      6 Replies
      1. re: ChewFun

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

        1. re: fudizgud

          Then our counterparts are Five Guys and Ledo's.

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          Ledo Restaurant
          4509 Knox Road, College Park, MD 20740

              1. re: fudizgud

                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).

            1. re: little audrey

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

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              Two Amys
              3715 Macomb St NW, Washington, DC 20016

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

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

          6 Replies
          1. re: Steve

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

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            Tasting Room
            101 N Market St, Frederick, MD 21701

            1. re: flavrmeistr

              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

                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

                  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

                    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

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

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

              1 Reply
              1. re: monkeyrotica

                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. 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.

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                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

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

                2 Replies
                1. re: Ootek1

                  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).

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

                  RIS
                  2275 L Street NW, Washington, DC 20037

                  1. re: Ootek1

                    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.