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Apr 18, 2014 11:27 AM

"Cutting edge" Restaurants in Washington?

Hi all,
is there a fine dining scene in Washington that is comparable to, say, Chicago or San Francicso or even Los Angeles?
For some time I heard that Washington would be the "next big thing" with regards to "avant garde" or cutting edge restaurants like Manresa, Providence or L2o. Is that so?


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    1. re: chowser

      I would add Komi and Rose's Luxury to that list as cutting edge.

      1. re: Worldwide Diner

        There are quite a few. I thought the question was odd, as if DC didn't have any but was on the edge of it.

        1. re: chowser

          Well, as far as I know, DC isn't regared as a culinary destination like NYC, SF, CHI or even LA. And even though the mentioned restaurants certainly look very interesting, the don't seem on par with Alinea, EMP and the like. Correct me if I'm wrong.

            1. re: Virginian

              Good. Surprising, then, that those restaurants hardly get any attention by the usual suspects on the web.

              1. re: kai.m

                Which is why you shouldn't listen to the "usual suspects on the web" because that's not where you'll find great food. I'm surprised you haven't heard of Volt (Bryan Voltaggio), Rogue24, Minibar (Jose Andres?). If you want to start at the beginning, try the Inn at Little Washington. It might not be "cutting edge" but like French Laundry is worth trying.

                1. re: chowser

                  "Which is why you shouldn't listen to the "usual suspects on the web" because that's not where you'll find great food"

                  That is not true, of course. Iam talking about people like Bonjwing Lee, John Sconzo and Adam Goldberg here, pretty reliable guys in my book.

                  And Iam from europe, that is one reason why Iam not so familiar with the DC dining scene.

                  But seriously: how does it come that the DC places are not as internationally known (aprta from the "Inn" maybe) as the ones from the other cities?

                  1. re: kai.m

                    I don't know. Maybe it hasn't entered their radar yet. If you do want good restaurants for a visit, try starting another post and you'll get a plethora of suggestions. You'll get better recommendations from people who are familiar w/ an area than those who attempt to cover the world.

            2. re: kai.m

              Did you watch the Minibar video about making the almond cups?

              1. re: Steve

                Yes. Fantastic! Iam actually happy to get all those recommendations, since I plan a trip to DC.

              2. re: kai.m

                You're wrong.

                But, let's look at this objectively-- imagine a list of reasons people move to DC vs. reasons why people move to "NYC, SF, CHI or even LA." Tons of rationales.

                Geographically, DC is pretty small and life is heavily influenced by the dominant "business" -- US Politics.
                The "metro DC" area is about the 10th largest in the US, whilst NYC, CHI and LA are 1-3-2 [SF being ~15th].

                I'm now into my 3rd year in Metro DC, and I can tell you, people take those borders Va/ DC/ MD/ WVa pretty seriously. They may "drive in" to work, but the rest of life is centered where they live.
                It certainly could be the same for NYC, SF, CHI or even LA... but there is a crucial difference -- those other cities don't expect substantial elements of their population and funding to shift every 2-4 years.
                It's just a different world.
                But it's "good eatin'"

                1. re: kai.m

                  I personally believe there are many delusional blowhards in any city, especially DC.

                  1. re: Worldwide Diner

                    These people are known as "Yelpers" and can by identified by their use of phrases like "very unique" and "not uninspired."

                  2. re: kai.m

                    I've eaten several times at Alinea and a few times at Komi over the last few years (my wife and I basically just trade high end dinners for birthday gifts). The style and presentation and atmosphere are very different but the food/wine/service levels are remarkably similar and amazingly high. I have no idea why a place like Komi that has been excellent for years and years doesn't get more notice in national and international press apart from, perhaps, not having a dedicated PR person/team? I honestly don't know if they have one but I'm pretty sure that Grant Achatz and Thomas Keller have someone doing PR on their staffs.

            3. the food has become great, except often in DC the most desired table is in the back by the kitchen - not noticed.

              1. The original comment has been removed
                1. Best cutting-edge restaurant I've been to: Berlin. DC...ummmmmmmmm :( ...there's a small place called The Three Little Pigs along Georgia Ave in DC, a few tables and leading food in their incredible showcase, which of course, they hand-make. Trained in NYC.