Rose’s Luxury: Burnt Romaine

Rose's Luxury Burnt Romaine

Rose’s Luxury on Barracks Row is raking in the accolades. On top of the small honor of winning a BTMMY award for Best New Restaurant, Rose’s Luxury just received a positive review from the Washington Post’s sometimes star stingy Tom Sietsema. The food is innovative, labor intensive, creative, global and for lack of a better word, full of pizzazz.

The menu changes often (bring back the crispy octopus!!!!), but that means all the more reason to visit frequently. One dish that made it through menu reincarnation number one is The Best Thing on the Menu: Burnt Romaine with Avocado, Poblano & Cotija Cheese. If you haven’t had grilled lettuce of any sort, you’re missing out. It’s delicious. The green pool on the plate is spicy and zesty, and the creamy cheese is all that’s needed to complete this standout dish.

DC diners are also going crazy for the Pork Sausage, Habanero and Lychee Salad, so get that too. The chef says that a table of four may be able to make their way through the whole menu. Do I hear a challenge?

Rose's Luxury

There are lots of adorable nooks and crannies to dine in inside Rose’s Luxury. Many look like Anthropologie exploded on them. But, the best seat in the house is at the bar looking into the kitchen, where you can check out Chef Aaron Silverman in action. He is a beacon of calm inside organized chaos.

You can see bits of the chef’s personality throughout the place, and especially on the menu. We particularly enjoy his claim that “all unattended or misbehaving children will be given a shot of espresso and a free puppy.”

Rose's Luxury Bathroom

Just in case you haven’t already seen the most Instagrammed bathroom in DC, here you go. A nice little mantra by the sink to get you through the holidays.

Burnt Romaine not your BTM? Post your favorites in the comments section.

The Arsenal: Sweet Potato Gnocchi

The Arsenal

We’re not as dense as a shiksa’s matzo balls. We know you schleped to Bluejacket for the house-brewed beer – all 25 of them. But stick with us for a minute because the Neighborhood Restaurant Group dining destination located inside the brewery – The Arsenal – has a lot to offer. Head over to the Navy Yard early, grab some brews and snacks in the bar area before sitting down for your reservation in the adjoining restaurant that focuses on pairing food with beer.

The Best Thing on the Menu: Sweet potato gnocchi, duck meatball, tallegio fonduta and greens is perfect for winter. And, lets face it with one and half underwhelming snow days under our belt, winter is here. It’s rich, comforting and super salty, which normally would irk me but it goes so well with beer.

Other top picks, the humble rotisserie half chicken thanks to its pretzel stuffing; the eighteen hour short rib because of the melt-in-you-mouth parmesan spaetzle; and the merguez burger because lamb’s got game. Rumor has it they recently added gluten-free burgers.

The Arsenal Restaurant

Let me be the 443rd person to tell you that Bluejacket and The Arsenal are housed inside an expansive factory where workers once built boilers for ships. It’s an impressive space. Check it out if you haven’t yet and wash down The Best Thing on the Menu with The Butcher: A dunkles dopplebock inspired by Red Apron’s half smoke. It features a dark and strong lager that is brewed with Red Apron-smoked malt and half-smoke spice mix. Gotta love drinks that taste like food. …

Sweet potato gnocchi not your BTM? Post your favorites in the comments section.

Proof: Duck Confit with Scallion Hush Puppies

Proof Duck Confit

Proof is so much more than the place foodies eat before a Caps game. It’s a dining destination all on its own. The wine and food programs seem to compete for the role of the lead dancer. Is Proof a wine bar with food or a gastronomical, food-focused delight that has a solid wine list? Whichever you decide to be true, don’t order a beer here. It just wouldn’t be fair. We recommend an Oregon pinot from our favorite winemaker Patricia Green.

Back to the food from Haidar Karoum. The Best Thing on the Menu: Warm Duck Confit with Scallion Hush Puppies, Pickled Beech Mushrooms and Tomatillo Salsa Verde is rich, bright and light at the same time. The tart tomatillo salsa cuts the confit – you know duck cooked in duck fat. What could be better?

We’ve also never met a hush puppy we didn’t like. Some of our favorites are at Garden District and Lincoln. Proof’s hushies are a little on the lighter side, with very little grease and some tangy onion flavor.

Proof

There’s another dish on the menu that made a real impression. Let’s say you’re Santa Claus fueling up for a trip around the world. Or, Rob Ryan. Or Rex Ryan pre-weight loss surgery. Order the Cassoulet of Duck Confit, Crispy Pork Belly & House Made Duck Sausage. The meatiest, manliest entree we’ve ever seen with a calorie count that is likely higher than the entire contents of a Cold Stone Creamery. Order it anyway.

Duck confit not your BTM? Post your favorites in the comments section.

BTMMY Award Winners

We’re pleased to present the winners of the first ever BTMMY awards. Not to get foodie sentimental, but this has been such a fun year of openings, trends, expansions and events. We’re really lucky to be District diners. Thanks to everyone who voted for their favorite restaurants, bars, chefs, etc.

Now, for the winners:

BTMMY Best Restaurant

Best Restaurant— Rasika

It seems we are curry craving, truffle nan hoarding, palak chaat junkies that can’t get enough of upscale Indian with a twist courtesy of Ashok Bajaj’s culinary empire. Congrats to Executive Chef Vikram Sunderam and his team for churning our consistent, flavorful food that has found a home in the hearts of DC foodies.

Here’s what to get when you go.

BTMMY New Restaurant

Best New Restaurant— Roses Luxury

DC can’t get enough of this Barracks Row newcomer that doesn’t take itself too seriously—between bold instructions on the menu to uncommon food combinations like strawberry pasta—it’s a blast. But, make it a Monday/Tuesday kind of thing because with all the accolades pouring in, and a no reservation policy, it’s bound to be packed. Order the octopus and the brisket. Better yet, bring a group of four and see if you can conquer the whole menu.

BTMMY Best Chef

Chef that is Absolutely Crushing it—Bart Vandaele

Yes, DC is a sucker for celebrity chefs. But we’re willing to bank on Bart Vandaele gaining your votes for other reasons—like his pulled pork stuffed cornbread waffle topped with avocado and a fried egg at B TOO or his Hoegaarden mussels at Belga Cafe. Fun fact, B TOO now does breakfast, just dodge the morning construction taking place out front.

Here’s what to get when you go B TOO.

BTMMY Cocktails

Best Cocktails—The Passenger/Columbia Room

Derek Brown is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to what’s in his shaker. From unique creations to a knack for personalizing cocktails with a guest’s preferences in mind, he continues to come out on top of the imbibing scene. His bar bartending team at The Passenger/Columbia Room is top notch. Make a reservation for the cocktail tasting menu so you can check an item off your DC imbibing bucket list.

BTMMY Beer Garden

Beer Garden— Biergarten Haus

H Street wins out in this category. Biergarten Haus decidedly came in as the beer garden you spent your summer at. And, it doesn’t have to end. The patio is open all year long, thanks to some sturdy heaters. So make your way through some Paulaner, Hofbräu, Franziskaner and other favorites.

BTMMY Sandwich

Hangover Curing Sandwich—Taylor Gourmet

Want to reverse the damages from last night and set yourself up for a great ‘lil Sunday? Start your day with a breakfast hoagie, or just about any hoagie, from Taylor Gourmet. There’s just something special about a sloppy, saucy sandwich with Philly roots that gives you back the spring in your step.

Here’s what to get when you go.

And finally, special congratulations to Julia H. for winning the random drawing for the $200 gift card to Jose Andres restaurants. Next year we’ll be back with bigger and better prizes. Thanks again to everyone who voted.

Graphic design by Curtis Rogers. 

Mockingbird Hill: Manchego, Honey and Chocolate Covered Corn Nuts

Mockingbird Hill Manchego

Sherry and food pairing may be a new frontier for DC, but Mockingbird Hill, that Shaw Sherry bar, has you covered. This is especially impressive because Sherry has more aromatic compounds (307!) than regular old wine. You can expect to taste notes of everything from hazelnuts and lemongrass to oyster shells and hay. So our number one snack, a.k.a. The Best Thing on the Menu? Manchego cheese that you slip and slide through honey and finish off with a dip into chocolate covered corn nuts. Classy and corn nutty all at the same time.

Mockingbird Hill Pork

A close second is their pork rillette. Who doesn’t love rich, luscious spreadable meat? It’s served with buttery toast and pickled vegetables and goes great with any variety of Sherry – Amontillado (Edgar Allen Poe’s fave), Oloroso, Palo Cortado, Amoroso, Fino, etc. See, there’s way more than Manzanillo! Obviously, since it’s a Sherry AND ham bar, you can’t go wrong ordering a ham sampler, our favorite of which was the lomo.

Mockingbird Hill Sherry Flight

Probably the best way to experience Derek Brown’s Mockingbird Hill is by ordering a flight. It comes with snacks, and premium Sherry education. Sherry wizard Chantal Tseng or one of her handsome young bartenders will explain everything you need to know – like the fact that Sherry can only be called Sherry if it’s from three specific towns in Spain, or that it’s produced using a complex solera system that involves mixing of different vintages to add complexity and balance. Visit their Facebook page for special flight offerings.

Manchego, Honey and Chocolate Covered Corn Nuts not your BTM? Share your favorites in the comments section.

You might also like Cork, Boqueria, or Estadio.

Duke’s Grocery: Lomito ‘Completo

Guest Post by Cassia Denton and Devin Maier

Guest Post by Cassia Denton & Devin Maier

Perhaps one of the greatest aspects of Duke’s Grocery is that the Best Thing on the Menu is bound to change; the menu switches daily and is entirely dependent upon what the chefs find at the market that morning. In a refreshing nod to a truly sustainable table, once an item on the menu is sold out, it is finished for the day.

On a particular chilly night, the Best Thing on the (ever-changing) Menu: Lomito ‘Completo was a tasty pile of schweinebraten roast pork, spicy sauerkraut, smashed avocado, tomato, and garlic aioli on a brioche bun. A German take on the Chilean fave, it is the perfect ratio of pork to vegetables to bread, with everything cooked to tender perfection.

All of Duke’s sandwiches come with a hefty pile of fresh greens to balance the savory meat. Plus, pairing our sando with their extensive craft beer collection left us feeling as though we were in the German/Chilean countryside (that’s a place, right?).

The guys at Duke’s have modeled themselves after the neighborhoods of East London, where you’re likely to find global fare like an Indian curry or Bahn Mi, a Vietnamese classic. They have achieved this funky food cultural melting pot admirably, serving items like white truffle mac & cheese (gruyere AND gouda!) alongside hummus (which our Lebanese companions assured us is top notch). It makes for a unique meal. Definitely visit with friends to maximize how much of the menu you can cover in one night.

Lomito ‘Completo not your BTM? Post your favorites in the comments section.