Best Thing We Ate

The 10 Best Things We Ate in 2015 (So Far)

By Rina Rapuano  |  June 22, 2015

You caught us — we're playing favorites. While we're lucky enough to eat many amazing things on the regular, some dishes inevitably rise to the top. They linger in our memories, and despite our drive to find the next "best thing," they beg for us to come back for another taste. Here are our 10 favorite dishes in the DC area so far this year, in no particular order:

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  • Credit: Barbara L. Salisbury

    Ahi Tuna Tostadas at Summer House Santa Monica

    Price: $12.95

    This appetizer is a juicy, refreshing dice of fresh fish and watermelon accented by Thai chiles, avocado and cilantro crema dolloped atop housemade corn tortillas. Even in January, these bright bites imparted a fleeting feel of summer.

    11825 Grand Park Ave., North Bethesda; 301-881-2381

  • The Filipino Tasting Menu at Restaurant Eve

    Price: $65 for three courses

    What started out as a pop-up at the beginning of the year has morphed into a restaurant within a restaurant. Chef-owner Cathal Armstrong serves the first course of kinilaw and BBQ pork belly family-style, then a few more shared dishes and sides for the second course. But don’t worry — you get your own dessert.

    110 S. Pitt St., Alexandria; 703-706-0450

  • Butterkuchen at Bakers & Baristas

    Price: $4.50

    This brioche soaked in pastry cream and topped with toasted almonds and pearled sugar might be the most relentlessly craveable thing we’ve eaten all year. The recipe was crafted by Blue Duck Tavern pastry chef Naomi Gallego (if you haven’t tried her banana cream pie there, do it now), who gained experience with Viennese pastry while working and studying in Europe.

    501 Seventh St. NW; 202-347-7893

  • Credit: Greg Powers

    Seafood Tower at Kapnos Taverna

    Price: $75-$125

    This three-tiered behemoth goes beyond oysters, shrimp and lobster — although, it has those too. We especially love it for the thoughtful seafood compositions like marinated razor clams with apple and grapefruit and marinated mussels with celery, preserved lemon and pomegranate.

    4000 Wilson Blvd., Arlington; 703-243-4400

  • The Burger at The Grill Room

    Price: $22

    Chef Frank Ruta has resurrected his legendary Palena burger at his new roost in Georgetown. There are four burgers available — including an egg-topped version (pictured) sporting mushrooms, truffle cheese and a housemade bun — but we recommend you start with the original.

    1050 31st St. NW; 202-617-2424

  • Jumbo-Lump Crabmeat Cocktail at SER Restaurant

    Price: $16

    This cool layering of sweet crabmeat folded with salsa rosa atop diced tomatoes and piquillo peppers is a modern riff on a traditional Spanish dish. The edible flower garnish and mismatched vintage plates make it as pretty as it is delicious.

    1110 N. Glebe Rd., Arlington; 703-746-9822

  • Credit: Barbara L. Salisbury

    Crispy Catfish Salad at Mango Tree

    Price: $14

    Also known as yum pla dook foo, this light, bright, spicy salad starts with flaked catfish that’s crispy fried and tossed with green mango salad, lime, fresh red chiles and cashews. Managing director Trevor MacKenzie, who lives in Thailand, tells us this is a “very Thai dish.”

    929 H St. NW; 202-408-8100

  • Tam Tam Noodles at China Chilcano

    Price: $12

    This flavorful take on Chinese dan dan noodles was the hands-down favorite as we tore into the beautifully made, hand-cut wheat noodles topped with ground spicy pork, peanuts and aji panca — a dark-red chile known for its mild spice and smoky flavor — as well as Szechuan peppercorns.

    418 Seventh St. NW; 202-783-0941

  • Credit: Noah Fecks

    Boudin Blanc at DBGB Kitchen + Bar

    Price: $13

    There's a reason this mild truffle and pork sausage complemented by apples and a silky potato mousseline is a staple at Daniel Boulud's Downtown French-American hybrid — it's pretty near perfect. If you're trying it at brunch, there's an option to add two eggs any style for $4.

    931 H St. NW; 202-695-7660

  • Credit: Rina Rapuano

    Naem Khao at Thip Khao

    Price: $10

    We adore the crunchy Southeast Asian flavors of this Laotian dish teeming with crispy rice, coconut, lime, pork and peanuts, among many other ingredients. It can also be ordered with pig ear and ginger, and it's all meant to be wrapped up in lettuce leaves.

    3462 14th St. NW; 202-387-5426