The place D.C. Restaurant Specialists Beloved to Order Takeout and Supply in 2020
Following the Eater tradition, we asked a group of restaurant critics, journalists, bloggers and – as a novelty this year – some industry professionals to weigh up the year of food. Your responses to an annual “Year of the Eater” survey will be published in multiple posts this week. First of all, the gastronomy experts will share their “restaurant stands” for take-away and delivery in 2020.
Tom Sietsema, Washington Post Food critic: Offbeat dinner, Baan Siam, and Reveler’s Hour (that fried chicken!) Never failed to please, and on special occasions, Rooster & Owl reminded me of the talent we have in Chef Yuan Tang.
Ann Limpert, Washingtonian Food editor and critic: I returned regularly to the convivial burger, the Detroit pizza by Red Light, the wank wings at Comet, and the cheesesteak at Ghostburger. And for nights when we felt like it, the butcher’s steak and a piece of wedge from St. Anselm as well as buttermilk biscuits for the next morning. PS I swear I eat vegetables.
Tim Carman, Washington Post Food Columnist: I ate my fair share of Indian dishes this year. You travel well. Comfort you. My contact was Jewel of India, a shopping center in Silver Spring that always delivers in at least two directions.
Jessica Sidman, Washingtonian Food Editor: I’ve definitely ordered Makan more than any other restaurant in the past few months. Even my 16 month old daughter can’t get enough of her chicken satay. Rasa for days when I miss lunch in the office. Sushi Taro or 2Amys for days when the pandemic is just too big and I really have to treat myself to something.
Lenore Adkins, freelance food writer: I kept it mostly local because of the pandemic, which meant splitting my time between NoMa and Ivy City. So I kept bumping into Gravitas and Baker’s Daughter in Ivy City and Stellina Pizzeria near Union Market. When I ventured outside that bubble it was usually swinging to Mélange for those juicy burgers. My boyfriend and I love this place and we go up there quite often, at least three times a month; I always get the classic burger, not a salad.
Anela Malik, Feed the Malik Blogger: Both takeaway and delivery options this year was full of Ethiopian food. It’s going well and I’ve reached out to Chercher, Habesha Market, and Ethiopic more times than I can count.
Takera Gholson, Flights and groceries Blogger: Full Yum 2 (4940 South Dakota Ave NE) is my takeaway Chinese restaurant in the neighborhood. The food is always good and fresh. They shorted out but we were excited to have them back as soon as they opened again.
Raman Santra, Locked in DC Blogger: In general, we order almost exclusively for takeout from places a short walk or bike ride away to help support my neighborhood restaurants and to avoid filling the pockets of predatory third-party suppliers. Maketto, Mangialardo’s, Bullfrog Bagels, DC Harvest and Duke’s Grocery were places we supported the most for take-out in 2020.
Paola Velez, Head pastry chef for Maydan, Compass Rose and La Bodega: Albi (especially the soft ice cream), Maydan, ABC Pony, Kuya Ja, Little Coco, Coconut Club [heartbreak emoji], Cane, Wiseguy Pizza, Taqueria Xochi, Queen Mother’s, Unconventional Diner (Chix Dinner forever!) And so many more, but these are my rotations right now.
Simone Jacobson, co-owner of Thamee:: I have to say that while I’ve always been excited about supporting women owned companies and BIPOC, 2020 was the year I made it my own personal quest, with my dollar as a diner, not just a cheerleader the industry to vote for people I love. I’ve been keen to support small, independent restaurants whose employees and owners come from marginalized communities.
With that in mind, while there are tons of great restaurants and bars in DC, all of my 2020 favorites are owned and operated by BIPOC.
Take Away – Before March 2020, I ate at Pho Viet at least once a week, sometimes up to three or four times. When the pandemic broke out, I knew it was important to keep visiting Michael and Nina (the owners) and Lorena (our favorite server) as often and as consistently as possible. While my industry colleagues and I try to keep Pho Viet off lists like this one (fearing that they will be inundated with new business and then we can’t just stand up for our hangover cure), they all deserve our praise and support. Of course, her photo is second to none, but the # 37 combo with honey-lemongrass pork is my favorite takeaway item (subreis for rice noodles for a super fragrant and satisfying hot meal).
Delivery – When I finally broke my once-weekly delivery rule and got tired at home, I started exploring new restaurants and found Momo’s Cafe to satisfy my cravings for Taiwanese home-style cooking (which I blame a Taiwanese-Japanese man and American business partner). Unfortunately, I never got the chance to eat on site, but I was blown away by how good the Taiwanese flavorful pot was and the popcorn chicken traveled. The spicy pot is worth each of the $ 22 I reluctantly spent it at first packing both hearty comfort and warmth into one bowl.
Gabe Hiatt, editor of Eater DC: I can’t go back to my favorites as often as I want, but my neighborhood standby has long been El Sol (for impressive salsa verde, tacos dorados, carnitas quesadillas with made-to-measure tortillas, and even a firm ribeye steak). One take-away option that I absolutely had to revisit this year was Your Only Friend, where Columbia Room drinks manager Paul Taylor created the tallest sandwich pivot in town for me. The giant chicken nugget that is held together with the help of transglutaminase is an achievement in poultry. The delivery from Baan Siam made a number of impressions. A sweet and tangy grapefruit salad, Chef Jeeraporn “P’Boom” Poksupthong’s signature Chicken Khao Soi and Kanom Krok (small coconut milk pancakes) were the most recent highlights.