Young and Hungry

Critic Robert Sietsema: D.C. Food Scene Doesn’t Suck Any More

Gee golly, they like us!

Holier-than-thou New York foodies, be humbled: Village Voice restaurant critic Robert Sietsema (fifth cousin to Washington Post critic Tom Sietsema) has officially bestowed upon D.C. his stamp of approval. In fact, he says D.C.—gasp!—"beats New York in a few categories."

Here's a taste of what he had to say about some local spots he visited last week:

Little Serow: "like a Thai answer to our own Mission Chinese"

Fast Gourmet: "You won't be able to walk back to your hotel after that."

Stachowski's: "The homemade pastrami, sliced thick and put on dark rye with mustard, is similarly incredible."

Ben's Chili Bowl: "Any reservations you might have about how good the food actually is vanish once you take a bite."

Toki Underground: "Toki avoids the pretentiousness that pervades many contemporary hipster noodle parlors." And on Twitter: "DC's Toki awesome, easily outdoes Ippudo."

Wagshal's: The "bodacious" pastrami sandwich is "absolutely scrumptious."

Twitter pic from Robert Sietsema

  • KRH

    This a joke right? DC is horrendous; except for Pearl Oyster and Toki Underground.

  • BW

    I don't understand the snarkiness here. A Pretty well renowned NY-based food critic highlighted some great spots in DC, and in general stated how DC's food scene has become exciting, and memorable. No longer a city of off shoots and blandness. This is a good thing.

    It's not like DC is seen as an amazing food city by everyone but snooty New Yorkers who refuse to get down from their ivory tower of belief that NY is the epicenter and end-all-be-all of all things. Ask most people to list great American food cities, you won't see DC named very often.

    So why look down your nose at this? Why kick Seitsema in the shins for doing nothing more than write an earnest piece about DC's new energetic food scene?

  • jose

    Nice to see that @wcp is keeping up its 'doesn't suck' sensibilities in the post-Shott era

  • David

    DC has always had good food, comparable to any city its size. Being "discovered" by whites or by pretentious foodies is not a requirement for great food, in fact that might be its death bell.

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  • El Perro Sato de la Esquina

    I disagree about DC having always had good food. DC had a few choice spots you could pick out, but 10 years ago, this was a city who's food was $30 a tab quality with $100 tabs.

    It was all steakhouses, chinese corner carry outs and NASTY popuserias that claimed to have "Mexican and El Salvadorian food." We didn't even had decent spots for chicken and waffles.

    It's been a great decade in DC and we've finally got more than just "a handful" of great dining options, no matter what your style or flavor. If you don't see a restaurant you like, wait until noon the next day and one of the city's gadjillion food trucks will have what you seek.

    That was NO WHERE NEAR the case in DC 10 years ago. It's not just some "white" thing either. DC's now got several spots that serve Puerto Rican, Cuban and Dominican food. Up until recently "Caribbean" in DC was code word for "half assed Jamaican take out/likely drug front."

    I don't know what's more annoying. Haters from out of DC who claim this city's not as good as theirs, or locan haters from within who actually think this city was a better place in the 1980s and 1990s.

  • Beth

    Am happy to see this, but "our own Mission Chinese"? He does know New York's Mission Chinese is a new outpost of a San Francisco restaurant, right?

  • Rob Thornton

    I tweeted the Fast Gourmet recommendation to Mr. Sietsema and actually linked to the CP's "Best Uruguayan Sandwich" entry for Best of 2011. It seemed to me that the chivito was his kind of thing and evidently it was.