In the days between closing the issue, the magazine going to the printer, it arriving at the office and subscribers’ doors and then filling newsstands, well, a lot happens. But mostly nothing happens.
There’s nothing I can do. The list is final. The commas are in place. The hourslong discussion of how to interpret varying prix fixe menus into the entree-based dollar sign key is over (until next year).
And then news hits. It always does. A chef leaves (Requin). A restaurant discontinues dinner service (Stomping Ground was pushed off this year’s list because it had already limited its dinner service, but continues as a coffee shop and neighborhood hub).
It’s an odd time of relief that my life is back, sort of. I can finally get to the most recently opened restaurants that wouldn’t have qualified to make it on the list (considered restaurants usually must open in the first half of the year), and I can see my own kitchen a bit. I can concoct an impromptu soup with my 2-year-old and teach her the difference between acorn and delicata squash.
But that’s me.
For you: there’s a new best restaurant this year and it is the exhilarating, but also humble, Nasime. It’s cozy, eclectic, exciting. The food is unfamiliar in some ways, but always wonderful and satisfying. It’s like a snuggle with someone new: a familiar embrace from a fresh face.
Before reading the full list, as always, here’s what’s new, what we couldn’t fit in print and the superfluous information on the 50 Best Restaurants list.
Updates from the IN list
Though Clarity lost co-founding owner and chef Jason Maddens to his forthcoming AhSo in Brambleton, the Vienna restaurant is in expansion mode. Jonathan Krinn is working on building two new private dining rooms and a fireless kitchen to service the additional diners, plus adding more themed boozy dinners. [Northern Virginia Magazine]
Dolce Vita Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar
The kitschy, old-school feel of Dolce Vita and the modern, airy vibe of the wine bar are staying disparate entities, but as the newly joined name implies, the two are becoming one. The owners are building a hallway to connect the two rooms and serving both menus in both dining areas, including that pizza cone (!).
Sous chef Billy Riddle recently left (for more on that see Requin) and as this is one of Mike Isabella’s concepts, the Greek restaurant will turn into a market with grab-and-go items for the forthcoming Isabella Eatery. [Eater]
As part of Nam-Viet’s makeover this summer, it scored a cocktail list from D.C. mixologist Fabian Malone, who is currently recovering from a shooting incident. [Washington City Paper, Washington City Paper]
Top Chef Jennifer Carroll who moved to the region to lead The Wharf (D.C.) location of Requin never made it to that restaurant’s launch. She was helming Requin in Mosaic and, in the midst of a rebranding from French-Mediterranean to its new menu and name, Requin Brasserie, announced she is resigning from Mike Isabella Concepts. Her fiance Billy Riddle of Kapnos Taverna (and Yona and Pepita) also announced his departure.
The Requin brand will also be a stall at Isabella Eatery in Tysons Corner. [Eater]
Though it’s no longer on the printed menu, after fact checking with chef and owner Cathal Armstrong, Restaurant Eve will still serve the Asian Tasting menu with call-ahead reservations and full-table commitment. It’s three courses (plus bread and Kerrygold butter service) for $65 and absolutely worth it. Armstrong dropped the Asian Tasting menu in Alexandria in deference to his Wharf restaurant, Kaliwa.
Updates from the OUT list
The restaurant group behind Lyon Hall is debuting two new restaurants in Falls Church: Liberty Barbecue and the second outpost of Northside Social. [Falls Church News-Press]
Late last week Stomping Ground announced it is discontinuing regular dinner service (it had previously been open only two nights a week). It is shifting into bi-monthly fried chicken dinners, extended daytime hours, expanded to-go options, including multi-course dinner packaged for at-home eating, and bingo. Yes, bingo. [Facebook]
As part of the Mike Isabella group of restaurants, Yona will be replicated at the forthcoming Isabella Eatery inside Tysons Galleria but will shift to a sushi focus.
*This post has been updated.