2 more DC-area restaurants added to 2018 Michelin Guide
The nation’s capital still isn’t a mecca for destination dining; that’s according to Michelin, one of the world’s oldest and most recognized restaurant publications. The Red Guide’s anonymous inspectors, during their sophomore year in Washington D.C. couldn’t find a single restaurant meriting three stars, an accolade that signifies “exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey.”
But if that’s the obvious narrative, here’s a more striking one: For a second straight year, every single Michelin-starred head chef in the District is a man, while every starred restaurant serves cuisine that is predominantly European, American, or in the case of Sushi Taro, Japanese. None of Washington’s strong bench of Ethiopian, Vietnamese, Korean, Indian, Thai, Middle Eastern, or Filipino spots are represented on the starred selections; they are rather largely relegated to Michelin’s “cheap eats” Bib Gourmand list.
Komi and Métier are each awarded a star, and the 12 restaurants that earned their distinctions last year will keep them in Michelin’s 2018 guide.
The only two restaurants added to Washington’s single-starred ranks this year were expensive tasting menu venues: Eric Ziebold’s French-American Metier ($200, service-included), and Johnny Monis’ Mediterranean-themed Komi ($150). Those minor upgrades bring the total number of starred restaurants to 14, the lowest for any of the four regions that Michelin covers in the U.S.
Guide director Michael Ellis says seven restaurants have been added to the overall guide — including homegrown The Bird and New York export The Smith — raising the roster of local eateries to 108. But he acknowledged that there’s plenty more work to do.
“I want to see more attention to D.C.,” he tells Eater, citing competing priorities such as unveiling a new guide to Bangkok (scheduled to debut December 6) and revisiting Sao Paolo as logistical stumbling blocks. “We have to go to battle with the army we have, not the army we wish we had,” he says of the constant struggle to allocate time, money, and inspectors.
No new restaurants were admitted to the two-star club this year, whose members remain a trio of expensive prix fixe spots: Aaron Silverman’s Pineapple and Pearls, Patrick O’Connell’s Virginia countryside spot, the Inn at Little Washington, and Minibar by José Andrés.
Washington remains the only U.S. city Michelin rates that doesn’t have a three star restaurant. Both New York and San Francisco have six restaurants apiece with three stars, while Chicago has two. There are only about 100 restaurants worldwide with three stars.
Ellis insists that D.C. is on the right track. “All three of the two-stars are fantastic restaurants. All show signs of moving to three stars,” he says, adding that “the general cooking level in Washington is excellent.”