Young and Hungry

Ben’s Chili Bowl Ranks Higher Than Palena On ‘101 Best Restaurants’ List

Never underestimate the power of the half-smoke. The Daily Meal has released its list of "101 Best Restaurants in America for 2012." Various D.C. locations earn mentions, most notably including the iconic Ben's Chili Bowl, ranked No. 83. The site clearly acknowledges the subjectivity of the final results: "Ben’s Chili Bowl made it but Meadowood didn’t?" Perhaps more surprising to local diners than Ben's leapfrogging one of Napa Valley's most esteemed haute dining destinations, however, is that the half-smoke mecca ranks higher on the list than Frank Ruta's acclaimed Palena. Which sort of begs the question: Which would you rather eat right now? Ben's signature Bill Cosby-endorsed chili half-smoke? Or, Ruta's truffled Palena burger?

  • Name

    In all seriousness, are there people out there that think Ben's serves good, and by good I mean quality, food? I like the experience as much as the next guy, but I've never, ever found myself thinking, "Wow this is some flavorful chili." Instead, I only find myself wondering how they get away with serving Hormel.

    And while I'm here, "begs the question" does not mean what the writer thinks it means. For example, one question begging to be answered is what criteria they used to define "best" restaurant.

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  • Jane

    Agreed: Ben's has no place on here. It's not a real down-home classic restaurant as the article seems to imply. It just sucks.

    And yes, "begs the question" refers to proving an argument with an assertion (i.e. A = A).

  • Lori Gardner

    When I saw Ben's on this list, it made me question how much stock to put into these rankings. It's fine for what it is, but obviously no comparison to Palena.