By Stefanie Gans
I screamed a curse word really loudly. That act, actually, is not all that uncommon in my office. Those whom I share a space with—my editor, the online editor, the fashion and beauty writer and the millions of people who pop in every hour—have gotten quite used to these swollen swear words. I cursed, this time, because as I’m editing the 50 Best Restaurants issue, I find out that Tallula is closing. It made the list. With days before the issue went to print, I had to find another. I won’t reveal which restaurant slipped in, but I will say that I already miss Tallula, its kickass sister, EatBar, and really hope that Rob Rubba continues cooking in Virginia. (Hear that Neighborhood Restaurant Group?)
But that’s how it goes. Restaurants open and close. Restaurants bring such joy and compel such ugly Yelp rants. It’s what makes food a sport and what makes eating in Northern Virginia so much fun. And, by the way, I said Northern Virginia.
Recently Esquire‘s new restaurant critic Josh Ozersky named Virginia the food region of the year, yet, he did not list one Northern Virginian restaurant, winery, distillery, brewing company or food maker in his reasons why. He named a cocktail bar in Washington, D.C. instead. (No offense to the magnificent Derek Brown.)
I requested an interview from Ozersky, but he never responded. Maybe he was embarrassed of his many oversights? Let me tell you, Josh, you missed a lot. You ignored a journey of foraged finds at the enthusiastic Restaurant at Patowmack Farm. You never realized how well Cajun and Korean mingle on a menu at Mokomandy. You couldn’t laugh at the clever and hilarious descriptions of wine on menu at The Wine Kitchen.
I, however, have not missed out. I have eaten at a Northern Virginian restaurant most days this year, as an anonymous critic, with an independent budget. I reserve tables under names that are not my own and pay for it with a credit card, also with someone else’s name attached.
Does this mean I miss a friend’s barbecue in the summer? Yes. Does this mean I can’t take two weeks to taste around India? Yes. But what it does mean is (1) I realize how ridiculous it is to complain about a job where I get to write about the food I eat for a living and (2) I can help you find a place to eat in our part of the world.
Throughout the year I hope I have guided you to delicious dinners and I hope November’s 50 Best Restaurant issue—on newsstands today—encourages you to eat something new, try something mysterious and savor time around the table.
Besides Tallula closing, and therefore not making it into the issue, here are some items that may interest you and are not reflected in the issue.
Openings, Closings, Updates, Etc.
Will Artley is no longer the chef at Pizzeria Orso in Falls Church. Bertrand Chemel, of sister restaurant 2941, is stepping in until a permanent replacement is secured.
Curry Mantra 2 and Curry Mantra 3 close today, as Asad Sheikh builds a new, bigger Indian restaurant set to open in Rosslyn early next year.
From the team behind Maple Ave Restaurant and Water & Wall, welcome Chase the Submarine, a sandwich shop scheduled to open in Vienna next fall.
The owner confirmed a July opening for the Fairfax location of Peter Chang China Bistro. No more schlepping to Fredericksburg.
Early next year in Gainesville, Stefan Trummer, of Trummer’s on Main, will open a casual ode to the European cafes of his childhood: Trummer’s Coffee & Wine Bar.
I’d like to thank my designer Mike for letting me think I’m in charge and to Lynn, Bobes and Carten for troubleshooting my insane attempts at celebrity-driven metaphors. I’d also like to thank those who have dined with me this year, especially Warren, Eleanor, Sidman, Sarah, my dad—and my husband, because, shit, you should get paid for how much time and stomach space you’ve gladly donated to my profession.