Michelin Guide to Publish First D.C. Edition
D.C. will join New York, San Francisco and Chicago when the holy grail of dining guides, the Michelin Guide, releases its first D.C. edition on Oct. 13.
Initially, the guide will cover only restaurants in the District proper due to limited resources, Michael Ellis, international director of the Michelin Guide, said during a press conference on Tuesday. He expects to add restaurants in Virginia and Maryland suburbs next year.
“D.C. was a logical choice. It’s a very cosmopolitan city. It has a growing and thriving food scene,” Ellis told The Washington Post. Other criteria that contributed to the decision were the diversity of cuisines and the city’s stature.
The French tire manufacturer introduced its guide in 1900 as a way to encourage people to take road trips and wear down their Michelin tires. The company listed hotels, mechanics, gas stations and restaurants. It introduced the star rankings in 1926. The guides cover 27 countries and nine individual cities, with D.C., Shanghai and Seoul being added. Restaurants are evaluated for their creativity, personality, ingredient quality, value and consistency, among other factors, to determine their star rating.
Fewer than 120 restaurants worldwide have received Michelin’s coveted three-star rating. There are 14 restaurants in the U.S. that have received three stars. Most three-star restaurants are expensive and exclusive. Michelin also rates “Bib Gourmands” or affordable restaurants.
Michelin inspectors, who are trained in France, have been secretly dining in city restaurants since last fall and will continue making visits throughout the summer. Most are trained chefs. Most of the inspectors in D.C. have been Americans, although others have come from around the world. To maintain their anonymity and objectivity, inspectors pay for their meals and never dine at a restaurant more than once in the same year.
Restaurants being considered for stars receive multiple visits throughout the year to test their consistency and creativity. Inspectors rate restaurants on five criteria: product quality; preparation and flavors; the chef’s personality as revealed through his or her cuisine; value for money; and consistency over time and across the entire menu.
The guide will feature an undetermined number of restaurants, but not all will receive a star.
Restaurants participate in Negroni Week
The third annual Negroni Week begins on Monday, June 6 and local restaurants are celebrating with creative Negroni offerings throughout the week.
The classic Negroni is Campari, gin and vermouth, but area restaurants are offering their take through June 12 while raising money for charity,
Alphonse Italian Market & Osteria, 1212 U St. NW, will offer an icy cold and whimsical variation on the Negroni in addition to their already extensive Negroni list. Their new summer-inspired Negroni & Grapefruit-Campari Float features house-made fresh grapefruit and bittersweet Campari sorbet with a classic Negroni pour-over. The float is priced at $12, with $1 going towards pancreatic cancer research.
Beuchert’s Saloon, 623 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, will have a section of its cocktail menu dedicated to the Negroni with six variations including the classic made with gin, sweet vermouth and Campari; the Drier Than Eva… with gin, dry vermouth, Campari and, orange bitters; the Stage Fright with Hat trick botanical gin, thyme, Cocchi Americano, Campari and Angostura; the Well Rested with Hat trick rested gin, Camparno Antica, Campari and barrel aged bitters; the Light & Bright with vodka, Aperol, Cocchi Barolo, lemon and cava; and the Something Like a Negroni with bourbon, Campari, vermouth three-ways and rhubarb bitters. All are priced at $13 and sales benefit Friends of the American University of Afganistan.
BLT Steak, 1625 I St. NW, will serve its Even Count Negroni Loved Champagne for $16 made with Damrak gin, Aperol, house-made spiced grapefruit cordial and a splash of sparkling wine.
Just as Bonfire, 1132 19th St. NW, incorporates smoke into a variety of its dishes and cocktails, it will offer a Smoked Tequila Negroni made with Herradura Reposado, Campari and Carpano Antica vermouth. It will be smoked in-bottle, served with coffee beans and poured into a snifter for $14.
The Buffalo & Bergen cocktail counter in Union Market, 1309 Fifth St. NE, will offer five versions in addition to the classic ($11/$9 during happy hour) .which is on tap and made with Greenhat gin, Campari, sweet vermouth and orange. The Rye Not Negroni, $13, is made with Wild Turkey 101 rye, Campari, sweet vermouth, blueberry and orange; the Mezcali Negroni ($12) is made with Don Amado mezcal, Campari, sweet vermouth, orange, lemongrass and cinnamon citrus salt; the Arrivederci ($14) with hibiscus infused Green Hat Spring Summer gin, Campari, Lillet and grapefruit; the Rhu the Day ($15) with Hendrick’s gin, Campari, lime, rhubarb tonic and mint; and The Spritz ($10) with gin, Campari, Cava and your choice of syrup flavor. Sales will benefit the National Research Center for Women, & Families, Inc. Cancer Prevention and Treatment Fund.
Neal Place Tap & Garden, 1300 Fourth St. NE, will offer the Ace in the Hole ($10) made with Plymouth gin, pineapple, bourbon vanilla bean syrup, Campari and Punt e Mes vermouth. Proceeds benefit the National Research Center for Women, & Families, Inc. Cancer Prevention and Treatment Fund.
Nonna’s Italian Kitchen is stirring up dueling cocktails, offering guests a chance to sample a classic Negroni alongside their seasonal reinterpretation. The classic Negroni will feature Sapphire gin, sweet vermouth and Campari, and the seasonal Blood Orange Negroni will feature blood orange flavored vodka, sweet vermouth and Campari. The cocktails are $12.
The Prospect, 1214 U St. NW, will highlight its cider program with its Prospect Sbaglia with sweet vermouth, Campari, a crisp and bubbly cider and an orange peel garnish for $9.
At Provision 14, 2100 14th St. NW, will serve a Popcorn Negroni made with VSOP Armagnac, Campari and Carpano Antica vermouth with a popcorn fat wash that adds a silky mouth feel and a unique, nutty flavor. Also, the Pearoni will offer a sweeter option with pear brandy, Campari, Cocci di Torino vermouth and a dehydrated Asian pear garnish. Both cocktails are $14.
Suburbia in the Airstream trailer outside Union Market, 1309 Fifth St. NE, will feature a frozen Negroni made with gin, Campari, sweet vermouth, orange and basil; and NegronME Lemonade, sage Negroni lemonade. Both are $9 and benefit the National Research Center for Women, & Families, Inc. Cancer Prevention and Treatment Fund.
Ambar debuts new cocktails; expands Rakia challenge
Ambar, 523 Eighth St. SE, has introduced new summer cocktails on its bar menu and extended its Rakia Tasting Challenge.
Guests can sip cocktails on the restaurant’s 10-seat sidewalk patio or four-season rooftop terrace. Every Wednesday, guests can enjoy half-priced signature cocktails from 4 p.m. to close. New cocktails being featured this summer include Ultimate Gin & Tonic with Hendricks and Fever Tree tonic and garnished with peeled cucumber; Rakija Gimlet with lemon-infused grappa, lemon juice and simple syrup garnished with a sugar rim and candied lemon wheel; Visnja Sour with cherry infused plum rakia, lime juice, simple syrup infused with cherries and a spray of absinth garnished with a maraschino cherry; Negroni Punch, house-made aged Negroni with strawberry infused grappa, lime juice, ginger syrup and mango puree topped with ginger ale and garnished with strawberry; and the Berry Daisy with rail vodka, mixed berry puree and sour mix garnished with a lemon wheel. Cocktails range from $9-$13.
Diners can also participate in Ambar’s Rakia Tasting Challenge featuring classic versions of the beverage, produced by distilling fermented plums or apricots, as well as varietals made from cherry, pear and even honey. Over six months, guests complete a rakia tasting card. Those who finish 1.5 ounces of all 52 Rakia flavors are eligible to win a special 750 ML Rakia bottle. New additions include Gruzanska nit Plum; Gruzanska nit Quince; Kruna Grape; Zaric Quince; Zaric Plum; Zaric Raspberry; Zaric Pear; Zlatna Apricot; Zlatna Quince, and Zlatna Plum. Prices range from $8-$12.
Macon Bistro features rosé wines in June
Macon Bistro & Larder, 5520 Connecticut Ave. NW, is serving four bottles of rosé, which will be available only during month of June.
Guests can choose a flight of three rosés (excluding the magnum) for $18 or try a rosé by the glass for $12 or by the bottle for $48. Magnum bottles of 2015 Mas de Cadenet, AOC Sainte Victoire will also be available for $80.
The featured rosés include the 2015 Domaine Aureillan, Cotes de Provence, 70% Grenache/30% Cinsault; the 2014 Alphonse Mellot Sancerre ‘La Moussiere’ Rosé, 100% Pinot Noir; the 2015 Domaine du Pas de l’Escalette Coteaux du Languedoc “Ze Rosé”, 35% Cinsault/35% Carignan/30% Grenache; and the 2015 Mas de Cadenet, AOC Sainte Victoire, 40% Grenache/40% Cinsault/20% Syrah.
HipCityVeg offers free lunch on Wednesday
Philadelphia’s HipCityVeg will open its first D.C. location at 712 Seventh St. NW in FroZenYo’s former Chinatown location at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, June 8 with free lunch from noon-2 p.m..
The vegan restaurant, which serves a plant-based menu of burgers, fries, salads, shakes and desserts, will offer free rides in a fleet of HipCityVeg pedicabs. It will also serve samples of its Groothie, a green smoothie made with organic apples, organic leafy greens, bananas and seasonal fruit.
In lieu of payment, it will accept donations to Get Real Get Raw, a Philadelphia non-profit that provides access to, and education about, nutritious foods in schools, homeless shelters, nursing home and poor, inner city neighborhoods.
Fainting Goat serves summer “picnics”
The Fainting Goat, 1330 U St. NW, is bringing back last year’s “Picnics at the Goat,” a series of monthly-rotating, Monday night casual family-style suppers focused around different iconic summer foods.
The series kicks off on Monday, June 6, with a fried chicken feast complete with family-style sides of coleslaw, smoked gouda mac and cheese, peel and eat shrimp, cornbread and a riff on a classic pretzel salad made with mascarpone and macerated strawberries. The meal will also be served June 13, 20 and 27.
July’s picnics on July 11, 18 and 25 feature BBQ spare ribs dry rubbed with a mix of spices then smothered in a tangy, spicy BBQ sauce and served alongside coleslaw, corn pudding, baked beans, peel and eat shrimp and fruit cobbler. August’s picnics on Aug. 1, 15, 22 and 29 feature Chesapeake Bay blue crabs served with coleslaw, corn on the cob, French fries and peach melba. Finally, September’s picnics on Sept. 12, 19 and 26 feature a classic lobster boil with fresh Maine lobsters and all the fixin’s, such as coleslaw, summer corn, red potatoes, mussels and cornbread.
The picnics are priced from $25-$50 per person, with a minimum of two people.
BLT Steak unveils new bar menu
BLT Steak, 1625 I St. NW, has launched a new bar menu featuring seasonal produce such as red and green tomatoes, green garlic, ramps and peas.
The restaurant’s bar bites menu will include dishes such as “Sticks and Stone,” a dry-aged beef kefta kabob marinated in a custom spice blend with preserved blood orange, ramps and dill yogurt for $12; shrimp tiradito with aji amarillo, ginger, peanut and lime for $13; and fried green tomatoes with pickled salsify, spicy peas and remoulade for $9. Other new dishes include Kennebec potato chips and spring onion dip for $7; green garlic and espelette herb fries with cilantro-mayonnaise for $8; green chile beef tartare with queso cotija, fried shishito peppers and a baguette for $10; and a chef’s country terrine with hers, mustard, radishes and country bread for $10. Also, Rappahannock oysters, big eye tuna avocado “poké” with chile and lime for $9; the BLTDC with bacon, cress, tomato “vinaigrette,” dijonnaise and Virginia colby for $12; and a dry-aged black Angus burger with oyster mushrooms, pickles, arugula, Morbier AOC and steak sauce for $16.
Editor-in-Chief Mark Heckathorn is a journalist, movie buff and foodie. He oversees DC on Heels editorial operations as well as strategic planning and staff development. Reach him with story ideas or suggestions at dcoheditor (at) gmail (dot) com.