The 33rd Rammys are going down this Sunday to honor the best of the metro area’s restaurant industry. Of the 21 categories up for grub — er, uh, grab — four of them will be selected by the voting public. The rest will be selected by a panel of judges from the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington, the presenter of the awards.
As one might expect, there are a number of contenders from Georgetown, including: Seasons at the Four Seasons — for Upscale Casual Brunch; Bourbon Steak — for both Cocktail Program of the Year and Service Program of the Year; Pizza Paradiso — Beer Program of the Year; LaGina Lewis, of Farmers Fishers Bakers — for Employee of the Year; Agnes Chin, of the Grill Room at the Capella Hotel — for Pastry Chef of the Year; and Fiola Mare — for New Restaurant of the Year.
Rather than attempt to poll the public in advance, and because I’m a big fan of brunch anyway, “upscale” or “everyday casual,” I thought I’d give you my own choices for the categories the public gets to pick. Drum roll, please …
Favorite Gathering Place of the Year: Evening Star Café
While it requires a trip across the river to visit this Alexandria neighborhood gem, the friendly service staff and cozy, small-town-diner ambiance make it worth the trip. Evening Star’s two separate bars stocked with craft beers make it an excellent spot to meet friends and enjoy a brew.
Upscale Casual Brunch: Seasons at the Four Seasons
When a waffle just won’t cut it, or I’m feeling a little “upscale” for brunch, Seasons at the Four Seasons delivers the best Ropa Vieja Shredded Flank Steak Chachapas (translation: Venezuelan Corn Pancakes) this side of the Potomac. And let’s be fair, the “upscale” category belongs to Georgetown …
Everyday Casual Brunch: Liberty Tavern
Liberty Tavern is a favorite of mine for many reasons — excellent food and great service, with a tavern ambiance. Try meeting some friends for brunch and order the house-smoked salmon or the thick-sliced French toast with banana and pecan maple syrup, then stick around awhile for a fresh-fruit Bellini or a manmosa or two … or three … You’ll come back.
Favorite Fast Bites: Pete’s New Haven Style Apizza
It’s a short trip up Wisconsin Avenue to Friendship Heights, and Pete’s is my favorite spot for a fast and delicious bite of New Haven Style Apizza. It’s served cafeteria-style: order at the register, wait to be served on a tray, then select a seat. In addition to New England-style pizza, Pete’s offers antipasti, pastas and brews.