With the plethora of great restaurants in Georgetown, one could argue that there’s no reason to dine elsewhere, but consider what you’d miss. Washington, D.C., has been having a city-wide restaurant renaissance over the past few years, with new concepts popping up alongside old classics, creating a thoroughly modern patchwork.
Take the highly lauded Rose’s Luxury on 8th Street SE, along Barracks Row, which snagged Bon Appetit’s prestigious “Best New Restaurant in America” award this year. At Rose’s Luxury, the service is warm and welcoming, the cocktails are lovingly crafted, the family-style menu is playful and ever changing, and the overall experience is bliss.
Chef Aaron Silverman, the mastermind behind Rose’s, has succeeding in creating a menu of small plates that encourage noshing and sharing (think warm challah bread with wildflower honey, charred broccoli with caesar dressing, pork sausage and habanero lychee salad, pickle brined fried chicken glazed with honey, fresh raw Toro sashimi, pasta with eggplant and tomato). The restaurant is housed in an eclectic building with a spirited neon “Awesome” sign, walls of exposed brick, a bustling open kitchen and strings of twinkle lights that give off a warm, cheery glow. Arrive early (as early as 4:30 or 5 p.m.) and prepare to wait, but rest assured, you’re in for a night of gastronomic greatness.
Just north in the historic Bloomingdale neighborhood on First Street NW, is the Red Hen, an Italian-influenced American restaurant that is equal parts relaxed, experimental and comfort-driven. Michael O’Malley, Sebastian Zutant and Michael Friedman are general manager, sommelier and chef, respectively, who came together as friends to create a laid back, indie-dining destination for the emerging Bloomingdale neighborhood. Their menus change seasonally, taking advantage of all the best flavors and ingredients over the course of the year. Currently, you will find everything from a smoked ricotta crostini with balsamic brown butter and truffle honey to a wild mushroom soup with crispy sunchokes, thyme and truffled mascarpone for starters.
Pastas like spinach fettuccine with braised duck, sweet potato, mint and Parmigiano-Reggiano grace the menu. Large plates like caramelized scallops with grilled kale, bacon, roasted cauliflower and polenta delight as do wood-grilled chickens with fingerling potatoes, currants and preserved lemon. Spiced pumpkin cakes and maple brown butter gelato sugarcoat the dessert menu and an impressive wine and cocktail list awaits your arrival.
On 14th Street NW, near Logan Circle, the Pig, a prodigious pork-centric restaurant continues to rake in the accolades along with bacon-loving patrons. The Pig features a local, seasonal menu with vegetables grown on its farm in nearby La Plata, Md. The concept is a celebration of the pig and all the flavors that accompany it, with rustic dishes from around the world inspiring much of the menu. There’s a focus here on respecting food, and the Pig uses only humanely raised animals, while wasting little. Diners can chomp on starters like shaved Brussels sprout salads and crispy sweetbreads. The Face Bacon is the melt-in-your-mouth favorite. Pig Boards are a popular sharing item with fresh bread, pickles, charcuterie, olives and mustard dipping sauces. For supper, enjoy dishes like stuffed suckling pig, crispy pork shanks and Korean barbeque for two. They also offer a unique menu of eco-friendly wines and American craft beer. Venture to the Pig for a totally unique dining experience that’s quite literally hog heaven.