Pop’s SeaBar: Jersey Dog

Jersey Dog

The Best Thing on the Menu at the newly minted Pop’s SeaBar is a little blasphemous. That’s because it doesn’t come from the sea, and that’s the whole theme at this beachy establishment in Adams Morgan. Rather, the BTM is a Jersey Dog with Taylor Pork Roll, Cole Slaw and Curly Fries. In the dish, a hot dog gets a hug from a slice of Taylor Pork Roll. It’s like a pig in a blanket, only the blanket is even more pig. The coleslaw adds creaminess and crunch. You’ll never want a naked dog again.

The Taylor Pork Roll hailing from Jersey is not the only thing on the plate that should remind you of the Garden State. Served along side Pop’s expertly seasoned curly fries is a little tub of Jersey Sauce. This remoulade of sorts may have super powers. Just try it and you’ll see what we mean. In fact, you probably won’t have a choice about trying it when you step into the casual eatery, because it’s served with nearly every dish. 

Orange Crush

Wash down your Jersey Dog with a Maryland cocktail called an Orange Crush. It’s quite simple: vodka, aquavit, Combier, OJ, and lemon. The only thing that would make it better is if it came in a juice box. There are six other cocktails to choose from including the ice cream luge that’s been getting more attention than the cronut got nationwide. 

Jersey Dog not your BTM? Share your favorites in the comments section.

Pop’s SeaBar is located at 1817 Columbia Road NW. 

G by Mike Isabella: Gnudi

G Gnudi

Expecting to see a sandwich? Sorry to disappoint between-the-bread lovers, G by Mike Isabella is more than a scrumptious sub shop. By night, the casual spot changes over to an Italian restaurant serving a tasting menu. The meal begins with an explosion of antipasti encompassing everything from marinated vegetables to fried arancini, followed by a pasta course, main dish and desserts (all for $40!).

The Best Thing on the Menu at our latest meal was a plate of steaming hot gnudi. The G dish hit the spot (get your mind out of the gutter). Gnudi is an adorable Italian way to describe dumplings made from what would normally be enclosed in a ravioli. In other words, you’re eating the filling, which we suppose could also be considered a fun form of gluten free pasta!

Making Gnudi

The dish has a small piece of my heart since I learned to make gnudi on my honeymoon in Italy. It also has a big part of my admiration, because IT IS DIFFICULT. The little balls of filling are tough to keep together once they hit boiling water. When finished though, they match well with a sage brown butter sauce or a simple marinara.

It’s unlikely that gnudi will be at G when you turnover your menu because things change from week to week based on what’s in season. But not to worry – the other pasta dishes look tasty too like this past week’s pappardelle with lamb ragu, peas and pistachio.

Share your favorites from your G by Mike Isabella meal in the comments section.

G is located at 2201 14th St NW, Washington, DC.

You mint also like Osteria Morini or Alba Osteria.

Fat Pete’s Barbecue: Burnt Ends

Burnt Ends

Ever waste valuable munch time poking at your platter of ‘cue looking for the fattiest, juiciest, smokiest flecks of meat? That’s BBQ blasphemy. Fortunately, DC’s newest smokehouse, Fat Pete’s Barbecue does all the work for you by serving up The Best Thing on the Menu: Burnt Ends. This Kansas City BBQ staple basically amounts to the fatty, charred points of brisket.

Andy

Why do you think Andy Reid has gotten even larger since he arrived in KC to coach Jamal Charles and the like?

Here’s the secret. Fat Pete’s brisket is smoked for 18 hours. This is awesome enough on its own, but the burnt ends are smoked even longer – four more hours to be exact. Be prepared to fight your friends for the last bite, because as with all precious commodities, the number of burnt end orders are limited. You’ll find them in the appetizer section, and even though they don’t need any sauce, this is a good opportunity to audition the restaurant’s six different sauces for your main course. We suppose if you’re desperate to try the burnt ends you can call ahead, and then get your BBQ-loving buns in a seat as fast as possible.

DSC_7779

Even if they’re out, all is not lost. Pete’s pretty much can do no wrong. Another can’t miss dish is the “ABTs,” also known as BBQ Crack. The pit master, Woody, stuffs jalapeños with cream cheese, tops them with little smokie sausages and wraps them with bacon before smoking them and drizzling them in balsamic. Also try the tasty brisket melt sandwich, St. Louis style ribs and locally-made pie for dessert.

Burnt ends not your BTM? Share your favorites in the comments section.

Fat Pete’s Barbecue is located at 3407 Connecticut Ave., NW. 

Gypsy Soul: Grits

Gypsy Soul Grits

The doors to R.J. Cooper’s new restaurant are now open – beckoning people from the burbs to try his adventurous, eccentric cuisine. While most of the Gypsy Soul menu screams of the South, there are dishes that pull from other corners of the world like a Greek-inspired lamb neck entree which was mighty tasty thanks to tzatziki. And yet, this is the very first time in BTM history that a side dish stole the show.

The Best Thing on the Menu: Yellow corn grits with foraged mushrooms and preserved truffle should simply be called holy shit grits. The elevated crock of comfort food can be found under the “Heirloom Grains & Tubers” section of the menu. Our advice? Order two so you can take one home and eat it the next morning for breakfast/brunch. The mushrooms are fairy tale tiny, and then there are truffles. Truffles, truffles truffles.

Fried Chicken Cracklings

Other can’t miss dishes included a big bowl of fried chicken skin cracklings served with snake oil (don’t worry, it’s just hot sauce) and roof top honey; a crazy combination of bone marrow and sea urchin; and a confit pork dish that incorporated Oktoberfesty accoutrements like sauerkraut and a sweet pear butter.

We’re guessing your question is – should I hop in my car and head out there? Is it worth it? Answer: Yea, most def. If you can, try to make the trek from the Dunn Loring-Merrifield metro stop, so you can take full advantage of their cocktail program, which also involves inventive ingredients like an herbaceous marjoram popcorn syrup.

Grits not your BTM? Share your favorites in the comments section.

Gypsy Soul is located at 8296 Glass Alley, Fairfax, Va 22031. 

Etto: Roasted Cauliflower Pizza

Etto Pizza

My father had a unique way of getting boys to steer clear of me in high school. Right before date night o’clock, he would send me to the local pizza joint to pick up his pizza. This sounds innocent enough – a man’s gotta eat. But, he insisted on his favorite topping each time: anchovies. That anchovy stench would seep deep into the seats of my Ford Focus. It even clung to my clothes and my hair. So naturally, I developed an aversion to anchovies that lasted until my most recent trip to Etto.

It was there that I tried the Best Thing on the Menu: Roasted Cauliflower Pizza with capers, pine nuts, anchovies and bread crumbs. The anchovies are so briny that no other salt source is needed, and they add just enough subtle funk to make the pizza memorable. Etto, after all, has a real love affair with these little fishies, as they also serve them as a part of their salads/small plate selections. But back to the pizza, which is like none other in the city (Except maybe 2Amys, which is from the same owners). What differs slightly is the dough and how it’s cooked.

The flour is milled in house. In fact, you can see the mill in the back of the restaurant. What results is a crust with billiard ball sized bubbles that you and your friends will fight over when divvying up slices (also just like high school). The restaurant recently opened up their sweet little patio, so there’s a better chance of getting a table and eating The Best Thing on the Menu al fresco. Also try Etto’s strong selection of small plates, they make a good warm up to the main event.

Roasted cauliflower pizza not your BTM? Share your favorites in the comments section.

Etto is located at 1541 14th Street NW. 

You might also like Casa Luca or Lupo Verde.

Glen’s Garden Market: Loxy Lady

Loxy Lady

Glen’s Garden Market is more than a grocery store. It’s so alive, innovative and community-driven that it practically has a heartbeat. Danielle Vogel, owner and 4th generation grocer, is always dreaming up ways to make Glen’s more exciting, whether that’s a run club, craft beer garden party, or even bootcamp. There are many ways to enjoy this Dupont Circle market, one of which is stepping up to the sandwich counter in the back of the store and ordering The Best Thing on the Menu: Loxy Lady.

This is not the thin, somewhat slimy, overly orange lox you’ll find at a grocery store, or even a Jewish deli. Rather, between two slices of toasted rye, you’ll find full salmon fillets, dill chèvre, red onion and locally grown tomato. The salmon fillets are brined for 12 hours before being smoked and seasoned in house. It’s super smoky and provides for an incredibly fulfilling meal. In fact, it may have you subbing goat cheese for cream cheese forever.

Glen's

There’s another top way to glean the most out of Glen’s Garden Market: The last consecutive Thursday and Friday of each month, Chef Travis Olson, prepares a multi-course meal to be enjoyed around a communal table supper-club style. The stars of the meal are both the local produce and proteins Travis utilizes as well as his technique (he once cooked at the #1 restaurant in the world – Noma in Copenhagen!).

Click here for more pictures from the tasting table experience.

August 28 and 29 are already sold out. However, set a calendar alert because seats for September 24 & 25 (which are a Wednesday and Thursday this time around) go on sale September 1st at 10:00am. Visit http://glensgardenmarket.com/ or sign up to receive updates.

Loxy Lady not your BTM? Share your favorites in the comments section.

Glen’s Garden Market is located at 2001 S Street, NW. 

Food Wine and Co.: Fried Tater Tots

Tots

Load up that SmarTrip card because Food Wine & Co. in Bethesda is definitely worth visiting. Chef Michael Harr pushes the boundaries just enough to have slightly daring food in the suburbs. That being said, The Best Thing on the Menu is not so fancy but still frickin delicious: Fried Potato Tots with Gruyere Cheese and Spicy Ketchup.

The tots are more like mashed potato squares than the typical basket weave tots you find at fast food establishments (or that Napoleon Dynamite subsists on). Chef Harr must spoon out the silkiest, smoothest mashed potatoes, lace them with cheese and drop them straight into the deep fryer – definitely not something to try at home. They’re comforting, funky thanks to the gruyere, and of course warm & gooey. Nevin Martell digs them too, and other tots in the area.

Calamari

For something a little more refined (but not quite as sinfully satisfying) opt for the grilled calamari appetizer because of its layered flavor profile. Chef Harr combines tender grilled calamari with arugula pesto, pickled raspberries, pine nuts, peppercress and croutons for crunch.

As far as entrees, you can’t go wrong with either their decadent truffle burger or the lamb burger topped with a biting tomato harissa jam.

Click here for more photos from the meal.

Fried Tater Tots not your BTM? Post your favorites in the comments section.

Food Wine & Co. is located at 7272 Wisconsin Ave, Bethesda, MD 20814

Rural Society: Bife de Chorizo

Bife de Chorizo

Having demolished some delicious meals at Jose Garces’ flagship restaurants in Philly like Amada and Tinto, we expected big things from Rural Society. The restaurant is so damn handsome, you want it to take you on a date. It’s masculine vaquero cowboy chic, making it a setting where you want to manhandle some meat. Enter, The Best Thing on the Menu: Bife de Chorizo – a 12oz platter of Estancia grass-fed beef from Uruguay. Tom Sietsema digs it too, and for good reason.

Parilla

The ribeye is kissed by the flames of Rural Society’s already famous parilla, a wood-burning grill that is often the subject of patrons’ Instagram accounts. The outside of the Bife de Chorizo has an incredible sear, and the inside has just enough fat to speed up the melt-in-your-mouth experience. It doesn’t need any sauce, but if you’re so inclined (and if you brought dental floss) throw a few dabs of herbaceous chimichurri on top.

empanada

But before the steak course comes out, dabble in some starters like these Empanadas Tucamana. The Latin pierogies are stuff with braised Wagyu beef belly and smoked chile. For something a little lighter, try the octopus carpaccio or the morrones (which is not a Spanish word for morons). Morrones are a build-it-yourself stack of grilled bread, creamy eggplant spread, roasted red peppers and anchovies.

Bife de Chorizo not your BTM? Share your favorites in the comments section.

Click here for a few more photos of the meal. Rural Society is located inside the Loews Madison Hotel at 1177 15th Street NW Washington, DC 20005.

You might also like Del Campo or BLT Steak.

KoChix: Hot Honey Spicy Wings

KoChix Wings

Beware BonChon, KoChix is addictive. A corner joint the size of a rich person’s walk-in closet is KILLING it at Korean-style fried chicken in Bloomingdale. Sure, the menu’s small too – but it doesn’t make the Best Thing on the Menu: Hot Honey Spicy Wings any less impressive. Hot honey spicy wasn’t even an original sauce option, but DC demanded something with a little more heat, and owners Karen and Young Park kindly obliged.

Karen Park

The wings come in orders as small as five and as ambitious as 40. As an added bonus, you can choose if you want wings, drums or a combination of both. If you’re on a diet, stop reading here. Otherwise, forge ahead to learn that the secret to these badass bones of bliss is that they’re fried twice. Your teeth cut through two layers of crackling breading before they hit any pollo, and the super sticky sauce is the kind of mess you want to find yourself in on a Saturday night.

Unable to get your wing-craving self to Bloomingdale? Fear not, KoChix is one of many sweet spots to join Caviar, a fun and reliable delivery service. If all of that gushing wasn’t enough to convince you to order a wing (or 40), here’s a ringing endorsement from one of DC’s finest food personalities.

Find KoChix at: 400 Florida Ave NW, Washington, DC 20001

Please nominate Best Thing on the Menu as best local food blog. Voting closes Friday. Cheers!

Hot Honey Spicy not your BTM? Share your favorites in the comments section.

GCDC: Canadian Tots

Tots

Canada. They’re questionably good to us in the US of A. Even though their hockey players play in our National Hockey League, they get to jump ship when it really matters during the Olympics. Then there’s Lululemon, but even they’ve been in hot water due to “see through pants gate.” Enter poutine: A Canadian creation of true perfection originating in Quebec that consists of fries topped with a savory gravy and cheese curds. 

GCDC, the newish grilled cheese bar on Pennsylvania Ave, advances the dish in The Best Thing on the Menu: Canadian Tots. Instead of fries, flying saucer shaped tots are coated with cheese curds, a mushroom gravy and most importantly…bacon. That hint of smoke plus the crispy, squishy tater tot texture means they’ve one-upped Canada on this one.

GCDC

Since GCDC specializes in what’s between the bread, it’s worth noting that their best grilled cheese option is none other than the Kim-Cheese-Steak. This is NOT what results when Kim Kardashian heads to Philly for a cheesesteak. Rather, the sandwich gets its name from the kimchee that commingles with cheddar cheese and Korean-style roast beef. It’s vibrant colors and even more vibrant flavor will keep you coming back to this zippy fast casual spot that’s been crushing it since they opened. 

Canadian Tots not your BTM? Share your favorites in the comments section.

You might also like Bub and Pops or Stachowski Market.