There's a good bit of bite inside the Beltway.
While international eyes are focused on the upcoming election, we're throwing our support behind the thriving dining scene here, which is more exciting and inventive than ever before. Here, our nominees for a culinary tour of the nation's capital.
Little Serow: A basket of herbs and raw vegetables launches your dinner at this no-reservations, basement-level Thai restaurant in Dupont Circle. Meticulous chef Johnny Monis (of Mediterranean-influenced Komi upstairs) showcases Isaan cuisine in seven prix-fixe courses. Ask the vintage-clad servers to pick your drinks: They'll likely pair courses like whiskey-glazed ribs and catfish tom kha soup with red vermouth over ice, sparkling Falanghina or a malty stout.
Rasika West End: A bright, window-lined space that is half-library and half-banyan tree, this new sibling to Penn Quarter's beloved Rasika splits its menu between modernized Indian classics and new combinations. Chef Vikram Sunderam's standouts include lemony florets of cauliflower fried with mustard seeds, curry leaves and chiles, and flounder in a tangy peri-peri masala sauce, with destination-worthy cocktails to match.
Mintwood Place: Deviled eggs are as red as rubies at this Adams Morgan bistro, helmed by Cedric Maupillier, a longtime chef de cuisine to Michel Richard. The chef brines his eggs in beet juice, and offers a towering tangle of tagliatelle Bolognese under a peak of grated Parmesan, a boast-worthy burger and desserts that would make pastry king Richard proud.
Union Market: Perhaps following in the footsteps of San Francisco's Ferry Terminal Building and Seattle's Pike Place Market, this weeks-old space brings together some of the city's best purveyors. The opening collection includes Peregrine Espresso, Lyon Bakery and an oyster bar from Virginia's Rappahannock River Oysters, with all-local beers. The coming months will welcome a charcuterie store, soda shop, butcher and tabletop boutique.