I usually use this intro text in Eat Like Me to pontificate ($10 word! I win!) on what part of dining out in DC I’ve been thinking most about recently. This month I’ve been thinking more about styles of restaurants.
I would be the wrong person to be food editor if I didn’t say that I love every kind of restaurant, and have an affection for most styles of restaurants. I can get behind a chinatown hole in the wall, and love a simple stainless steel tea kettle just as much as I can get behind a Georgetown patio with fire pits and fancy cocktails. I’ve been mostly thinking about what draws me in and makes me love a place more than another.
I think it’s in the details. (For me, most things are in the details.) I think about the places that I love eternally – Againn, Et Voila!, Westend Bistro, and have been trying to figure out what strings them together, aside from the obvious good food. At Againn, aside from the seasonal, thoughtful food, I love the details of the restaurant – the tiles that line the walls are the same tiles used in the London Underground. The fox and hound door knockers on the bathroom are something I make sure to point out to anyone who goes to Againn with me. And the details bring me back to Et Voila!, too. They serve coffee with steamed milk, and wrap fries in newsprint. The skylight adds sunlight and charm. Westend Bistro’s pass lets me take a look into the belly of the operation, and makes me appreciate the work that goes into the food. I’m starting to believe it’s the little things that bring me back to a place time and time again. It’s the little things that make me answer my most hated question of “What is your favorite restaurant” with a different answer each time.
This month the details were where it’s at. Birch and Barley’s pastries, an addition of wasabi to mashed potatoes at Zentan, and the perfect whipped frosting on a Georgetown Cupcake. Lovely, subtle details are available at every type of restaurant, but here are the best of the best of April. Continue reading