New York Finally Thinks We’re Cool

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courtesy of ‘Chris Rief aka Spodie Odie’
I’m a big fan of New York Magazine. In fact, I actually subscribe to the print version. But they came out yesterday with an article titled, “Is D.C. the Next Big Food City?” and I honestly wasn’t thrilled. I expected the standard argument that D.C. is cool now that we have Spike, and Top Chef and Eric Ripert, but instead it essentially says that D.C. is cool because it’s finally becoming more like New York.

They cite the introduction of New York chains like Seredipity 3 (opening later this summer) and Carmine’s, and the embrace of New York food trends like cupcakes and food trucks as the impetus for this elevation in the food city caste system.

Though they point out that D.C. has a diverse and vibrant ethnic food scene and seem to be especially in love with Five Guys, they are pretty harsh on the finer dining options in town. And in an explanation I still can’t quite connect, they seem to blame this on the fact that D.C. residents dine out less on average than the rest of America and on the fact that there is “a lack of good bread.”

So what do you think? Is D.C. finally becoming a “food city”? Or have we been one all along?

Ashley Messick

Ashley is a born and bred Washingtonian who left for college but came running back to the District as fast as her little legs could carry her. By day she is a Capitol Hill brat, but by night she is a lean, mean, eating machine. It’s her goal in life to steal Anthony Bourdain’s job…by whatever means necessary. Contact her at Ashley (at) welovedc (dot) com or follow her on Twitter.

7 thoughts on “New York Finally Thinks We’re Cool

  1. It seems that the quality of food corresponds to a city’s latitude. New York is unbeatable (in more ways than one), Philly is next best, and then there’s DC. It’s definitely getting better, but it still has a long way to go.

  2. DC isn’t becoming a food city because NYC trends/chains are coming down here. Rather, NYC trends/chains are coming down here because DC is a food city.

  3. I have lived for many years in both cities. While DC does have some highlights on the high-end places, it does not compare over all.

    The thing about NYC is that in my UWS, just about every reasonably priced, casual, eat twice a week place was better than most food you get in Dc.

    I never realized this, and never considered myself a foodie until I moved back to DC and realized how bad the casual dining is.

  4. I’m not sure I *want* DC’s food scene to become more like New York’s.

    For one, I can actually afford to eat out in DC.

    (That said: Better bread and pizza would be appreciated. In terms of dining options, New York City is unmatched anywhere in the world. The fact that we’re even in the same *league* is damn impressive)

  5. Most New Yorkers I know level their main criticism at DC’s lack of a decent bagel. I can’t disagree with that. Maybe that’s what they mean by “no good bread.”

    I’m not sure about andrew’s comment regarding price, though. I lived in NYC for two months a couple years back. You can get lunch specials at any number of restaurants for 5 or 6 bucks. Try that anywhere in DC. And that gets you something that’s on par with the best in DC in that category (be it chinese, indian, a sub, pizza, whatever).

    Yeah, high-end eateries in NYC are expensive, but they are in DC too. It’s what’s in the middle-low end that makes NYC such a great value. There are limitless options and the quality is often better than the places. We have few options in DC for a lunch under $10 that isn’t fast food or a dinner under $20, and what we have isn’t that good.

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  7. As a native New Yorker who recently moved to DC, I have been hard-pressed to find anything remotely similar to NY (high-end or otherwise).

    Delicious food is available to all at any price in NY and I agree with Jamie’s point that casual dining is very disappointing in this city.

    Also (and I don’t think I am alone here), I do not believe as a New Yorker that Carmine’s and Serendipity are exactly purveyors of NY food culture. Carmine’s caters to the mostly (older) Broadway crowd where Serendipity offers desserts mostly to tourists popping over from Bloomingdales. If one was going to identify the advent of NY dining culture in DC I would argue that it’s the Wine Bar / Bistros that seem to be popping up in my neighborhood. Saying that Carmine’s is a representative of NY food culture is like saying that Lawrence Taylor should still be playing for the Giants. It’s a pretty outdated take on the ever-changing, ever-evolving NYC food scene.

    The point I would like to address is why does there need to be a comparison? Is it impossible for DC to establish it’s own identity in the food and restaurant world without being compared to NY? Look at New Orleans (and yes I realize that New Orleans has other things that have helped it earn this status – ie, the cajun culture). People travel from all over to experience the cuisines of New Orleans and never do you hear it compared with NY. Is it impossible for DC to find a niche of it’s own?