The Ten: Best New Restaurants of 2012

By Nevin Martell

Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Parker

So many choices, so little time. The Ten is your guide to the best of the best that D.C. has to offer.

For the last twelve months, I’ve been dining in and around to D.C. to ferret out the finest new places to eat. Competition was fierce, but ten competitors stood tall when all was said and done.

Range/Family Meal 

Bryan Voltaggio officially earned the title empire builder this year. First there was Family Meal, a modernist diner perched on the outskirts of Frederick, then came the sprawling, Eataly-styled Range in Chevy Chase.

Stachowski’s Market 

Phenomenal pheasant pâté with pinot onions? Check. Mind-blowing duck prosciutto? Check. The best pastrami sandwich in town? Check. This spot-on corner butchery is all hits and no misses.

Mesob on Wheels 

One of freshest, most flavorful meals I enjoyed all year was at this MoCo Ethiopian food truck. The key sig wot (spicy beef stew) deftly balanced intensity and subtlety, while the spicy split pea stew (alecha ater kik) was simply straight up delicious.

Green Pig Bistro

Comfort food king Scott Harlan takes a tip to trotters approach at his debut eatery. There’s a whole lot to appreciate here, from crispy pig ear tacos to pork belly and all points in between.

WTF 

The baby brother to Jeffrey Buben’s Woodward Table next door, this delicatessen produces stellar sandwiches worth the wait. Right now, my favorite is the Chick Chick – spiced fried chicken coronated with bread and butter pickles, cranberry spread, and house-made mayo on a freshly baked potato bun.

Mintwood Place

Central Michel Richard vet Cedric Maupillier steps out on his own with an AdMo venture that puts a French accent on iconic American dishes. The five star food has already earned a loyal following that includes the Obamas, who stopped in for dinner before the election.

DGS Delicatessen 

New York comes to D.C. at this forward thinking tribute to the classic Jewish deli. Chef Barry Koslow outdoes himself with a blue ribbon matzo ball soup and best in show latkes.

Menomale  

Brookland breaks out with this burgeoning Neapolitan pizzeria. It rises above its many competitors by putting out an excellent crust that’s patched artfully with blisters, springy on the sides, and just chewy enough.

Rasika West End

A fraternal rather than identical twin of the Penn Quarter favorite, the new West End location possesses its own distinct personality. You’ll still find a couple of the classics on this menu, but it’s the new stuff that really wows, like the sweet and aromatic duck narangi seekh spiked with candied orange, ginger and garlic.

Fuego Cocina y Tequileria

Truly spicy Mexican + a killer tequila selection = #winning.