An elite group of high-end DC restaurants that hobbled through all of the stops and starts, public health protocols, plumbing theater, staff challenges and changing needs of their customers in 2020 are receiving a huge reward today as the Michelin Guide coveted Stars.
Five restaurants have received their first stars in the fully digital guide for 2021, including a two-star rating for Jônt, where customers can use Chef Ryan Ratino’s blend of continental luxury and Janese fermentation techniques in dishes such as Dungeness crab with donabe rice, Truffle and maitake mushroom. According to a press release from the restaurant, 30-year-old Ratino is the youngest chef in the U.S. to oversee a two-star restaurant and the youngest chef to ever create two different-star companies.
Other newcomers include Rooster & Owl, where Chef Yuan Tang presents tasting menus with an eclectic mix of American, Asian, Italian and Middle Eastern flavors. Xiquet, the Valencian-style Spanish spot by chef Danny Lledó in Glover Park, full of luxurious paella pans and suckling pig, cooked on a spit over orange wood; Cranes for Spanish-Janese small plates by chef Pepe Moncayo; and El Cielo, an existing brand of Prix Fixe restaurants owned by Chef Juan Manuel Barrientos, who added a location in northeast La Cosecha market to their Colombia and Miami properties.
Michelin has already determined that restaurants that are temporarily closed don’t have to lose their stars, which means that two two-star tasting rooms – José Andrés Minibar and Pineple & Pearls – have retained their elite status. The one-star Plume, which served haute cuisine in the mid-Atlantic at the downtown Jefferson Hotel, has also remained closed. Komi, the Greek-influenced Mediterranean Prix Fixe place known for the kitchen of Johnny Monis and the service team of Anne Marler, stuck to its star despite its comprehensive hub for the casual, vegetable-centric Hpy Gyro. The Inn at Little Washington, a high profile American travel destination in the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia, remains the only three-star restaurant in the DC travel guide.
No restaurants that won stars in 2020 were removed from the list. An omission by the anonymous inspectors of the French tire manufacturer is particularly noticeable. Albi, Chef Michael Rafidi’s Levantine restaurant in Navy Yard, wowed local and national critics with bold Middle Eastern flavors and a subtle twist of pitas, kebabs, hummus, and whole chickens demonstrating Rafidi’s prowess with a wood-burning stove. The price and the high-profile wine program both seem to satisfy Michelin’s sensibility, but apparently there was only room for one fancy restaurant in the Arab world: Maydan, a new choice in 2020. Pan-Latin Seven Reasons, called Esquire’s The # 1 Best New Restaurant in America at the end of 2019 is also prominently missing. As does Kevin Tiens Moon Rabbit, the only venue in DC where Vietnamese cuisine can enjoy fine dining.
Bad Saint, a pioneering Filipino restaurant that has been under pressure for years, was again struck off the starred dining list and not included in the Bib Gourmand list, which highlights value-based choices for diners $ 40 or less each Person want to spend. Michelin announced the winners of this group on Tuesday April 20th. The Michelin inspectors denied chef Amy Brandwein, a multi-year finalist in the James Beard Awards for her seasonal Italian cuisine at Centrolina, a star. Brandwein’s new café and bakery, Piccolina, seems to be an ideal fit for the Bib Gourmand’s list, but Michelin has passed it on.
Michelin will follow the DC guide update and publish its guides for Chicago and New York on May 29th and 6th.
Here is the full list of the 23 starred restaurants in the district.
Michelin’s 2021 Starred Selections for DC
The Inn in Little Washington
Pine wood & pearls
Rooster & Owl (new)
Heaven DC (new)