Weeks ahead of its big 2022 reveal, Michelin named 16 new D.C. restaurants that are up for either star(s) or Bib Gourmand status this year.
Incoming adds to the coveted dining guide will include champagne-and-caviar bar Apero, new Eater 38 members Maiz64, L’Ardente, and Daru, and French-Asian hotspot Bar Chinois, as well as casual, more affordable places (Honeymoon Chicken and Ala) that best suit the Bib Gourmand category’s parameters.
Virtually all of the 16 future Michelin members are two years old or less, albeit one: downtown’s long-running Southern stalwart Georgia Brown’s. The newest restaurant on the list is Philotimo, Nick Stefanelli’s Greek prix-fixe showpiece that opened in January. Other pricey and upscale (read: potentially star-worthy) picks on the list include destinations for glitzy French fare downtown (La Bise) and subterranean tasting menus from a Barmini alum (The Setting). The list also covers cuisines like Mexican (dLeña), Peruvian (El Secreto de Rosita), and Japanese (Tonari and Menya Hosaki).
Teasing out choices before the big reveal marks a sharp turn from the little red book’s former format. It’s an attempt at making the guide more relevant. Another step towards relevancy is including cuisines that aren’t European, as seen in this year’s lineup.
Back in December, the guide leaked its first set of choices for 2022 Michelin stars or its Bib Gourmand category: Bammy’s, Dauphine’s, Moon Rabbit, and Oyster Oyster. Michelin’s D.C. announcement is set for Wednesday, May 4.
“By revealing some of the new additions made by our inspectors throughout the year, we enhance our digital tools to further strengthen the ties that bind us to food lovers,” says Gwendal Poullennec, international director of the Michelin Guides, in a statement.
Here’s the list of additions with inspector notes about each restaurant:
This relative newcomer is a beacon of Levantine cooking. These dishes are refined versions of traditional delicacies and products are immaculate, as evidenced by the mezze, complete with pickled red cabbage, tahini and refreshingly tart yogurt.
Champagne and caviar are the menu’s mission, and owner Elli Benchimol and team nail it. It is typically offered with a host of classic accoutrements, like chopped egg, capers and chives, as well as batons of crunchy waffles.
The team here has envisioned a swanky and hip French wine bar with delectable Asian bites — and so this fantastic haunt was born.
The kitchen team takes classic Indian cuisine in a novel direction. Is that blue cheese on your tandoor-grilled chicken kebabs? Yes, indeed. Matched with sour cherry reduction and popcorn cashews, it’s as enticing a preparation as the boldly spiced minced bison momos.
This large Richard Sandoval operation, spread over two floors, serves up the likes of guacamole de bonito, uplifted by smoky charred tostadas — a thrilling way to begin proceedings.
El Secreto de Rosita
Chef Cristian Granada’s dynamic menu certainly leans Peruvian, but it also embraces the nation’s wide terrain — from the coast all the way to influences from Europe and Asia. Behold the tiradito, featuring sashimi-grade ahi tuna with a passion fruit-and-orange sauce.
Everyone is here for the classic Southern cooking that is likely to conjure up many a nostalgic memory. Start off with the fried chicken livers accompanied by a mustard-soy emulsion. Then tuck into a steaming and fragrant bowl of Carolina gumbo floating with chicken, andouille, okra and shrimp.
Chef Rob Sonderman of the Federalist Pig has expanded to chicken — well, an updated version of fried chicken to be precise. This Petworth perch resembles a modern diner with old-school vibes.
With soaring ceilings and windows to match, this Italian kitchen has plenty more to offer. A wood-burning grill and pizza oven allude to its strengths. At no point does any dish want for flavor, down to the charred cabbage buried under a riot of trout roe, tarragon and currants.
The menu is loosely French but with a number of detours, from steak tartare and Rohan duck breast to black truffle risotto and Maine lobster with pineapple.
If the name wasn’t already a giveaway, the large comal by the window and row of golden corn husks hanging along the wall should tell you what matters most to this restaurant — corn. Heirloom varieties sourced from Mexico are nixtamalized, ground into masa, pressed into tortillas and griddled at all hours.
Carefully composed bowls of ramen feature thin, chewy, house-made noodles accompanied by delicate broths with nuance and depth. The signature bowl is a smoky, triple-threat combination of tonkotsu, chicken chintan and dashi.
The Eaton Hotel, which also houses Chef Matt Baker’s casual café and bakery, is fortunate to play host to such an accomplished team — one that sources well and seasons with panache, all the while running an impressive bar that is as large as the dining room.
The Greek cuisine reflects Chef Nicholas Stefanelli’s heritage and features a contemporary accent. Meals begin and end with carefully crafted dishes that are presented as a prix-fixe.
John Snyder, Kiran Saund and Nick Hopkins are the brains behind this unique tasting concept that shines the light on street food from around the world.
The Wafu cooking flaunts a certain uniqueness while remaining balanced and precise. Dishes may be best described as Japanese-influenced Italian. This mix is unfussy and seamless in the likes of spaghetti with Kurobuta sausage and a refined Tabasco-ketchup sauce.