As we were making our way around in city a cab, I remarked to my wife that you would probably be able to eat at a different restaurant for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for an entire year straight, and still have plenty of untapped locations for the future. And so it goes in New York City. According to the all-knowing interwebs, Manhattan alone is home to around 24,000 different restaurants, with constant openings and closings. Factor in surrounding boroughs like the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens, and that number skyrockets. Long story short: NYC is, without a doubt, the biggest eating hub in the country. There’s no shortage of options, regardless of what you’re craving.
122 Blagden Alley, NW, Washington, DC 20001 (http://thedabney.com/)
When my wife and I traveled to Charleston, South Carolina (a post is still in the works, promise!), one of the meals that I was most excited about was Husk. Chef Sean Brock’s restaurant did not disappoint, and I look forward to returning again soon. So when word first got out about the opening of The Dabney, a restaurant helmed by one of Brock’s protégées, Jeremiah Langhorne, my interest was peaked. When I read that Langhorne would, as his mentor did for Southern foods and crops, be sourcing and spotlighting ingredients from the Mid-Atlantic, I was intrigued. And when I heard that Langhorne had found a local friend and teacher in Baltimore’s Spike Gjerde, I knew I had to go. The Dabney, I’m happy to report, lived up to and exceeded my lofty expectations.
1412 U Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20009 (http://dcnoodles.com/)
** and 1/2 (Good/Very Good)
“I don’t know about this,” I distinctly remember telling my wife when she led me into DC Noodles for the first time. The small, almost unnoticed restaurant sits on U Street in Northwest Washington, just down the street from the constantly bustling U Street and 14th Street corridors. Given the popularity of the restaurants up and down those streets, I was more than a little nervous about the empty dining room at Noodles. Several meals later, I’m not afraid to say I was wrong. DC Noodles packs some delicious flavors into their dishes; whether serving a sparsely populated dining room, or a full house.
Multiple Locations in DC, MD, and VA (http://www.matchboxrestaurants.com/)
* and 1/2 (Satisfactory/Good)
Matchbox, the original, opened in Chinatown in 2002. That original location remains today; now with six sister restaurants spread throughout the District, Maryland, and Virginia (with a single outpost in Palm Springs, California). The 14th Street outpost, where our most recent dinner took place, maintains strong influences from the original: a long countertop bar, plenty of wood accents and tables, and an open kitchen featuring a wood burning oven. Similar still: the consistency of the food; holding strong more than a decade after the original.
7421 Maple Lawn Boulevard, Fulton, MD 20759 (http://anandarestaurant.net/)
Usually when you hear the words suburban restaurant, your mind will immediately start to see chains, Olive Garden, Chili’s, and TGI McFunster’s (thanks, Anthony Bourdain). But every once and a while, you’ll find something new: an independently owned and operated restaurant, with a fresh take. Enter Ananda, located in a building with no signage in the middle of the mostly residential neighborhood of Maple Lawn.