The D.C. melting pot: Three reasons to jump into the Swamp
Allow me to join the growing chorus of critics who finally are recognizing Washington, D.C., as a great food city, said Brett Anderson in The New York Times. Though the nation’s capital has a reputation for catering to the bland tastes of power brokers, “its personality lies in its multiculturalism.” Because D.C. has always attracted both wealth and immigrants, it is “particularly hospitable to new voices and innovations.” Below, three tone-setters.
Poca Madre The concept is upscale Mexican, but chef Victor Albisu brings a “wide-angle vision” of Latin American cooking to bear at his year-old restaurant in Chinatown. Albisu is the son of a Cuban father and Peruvian mother, and you might detect those influences in Poca Madre’s whole duck, cooked al pastor, or in his deft use of chiles, citrus, and mole to draw out the flavors of seafood. 777 I St. NW, (202) 838-5300
Seven Reasons So many Washingtonians were traveling to Baltimore to enjoy Enrique Limardo’s cooking that he finally gave in to their requests that he move south. Building on his success at Alma Cocina Latina, he shows “an impressive command over an array of influences,” including the Spanish, Indian, Chinese, and Italian strains in the cuisine of his native Venezuela. Think swordfish belly and trout roe served on a tostada over green mango salad. 2208 14th St. NW, (202) 417-8563
Thip Khao Chef Seng Luangrath now owns four restaurants in D.C. and its suburbs, with each location showcasing “the herbal, funky, often spicy cooking of her native Laos.” At her “stylishly casual” café in Columbia Heights, don’t miss the red goat curry, “famous for its furnace-blast heat.” 3462 14th St. NW, (202) 387-5426
Julie Soefer, Jennifer Chase/The New York Times/Redux ■