Now that we’ve all had a chance to click through Tom’s 40-restaurant Fall Dining Guide , let’s talk stats. (And for you visual types, play around with this network graph of the guide’s star and price ratings.)
• In total, the list includes 27 restaurants in the District, five in Maryland and eight in the Commonwealth. This year, there are four 4-star restaurants, down from six last year (more on that in a bit), while there are five 3.5-star restaurants, up from only two last year. And of those 3.5-star restaurants, only the Oval Room repeats, with Palena Cafe having fallen off the list completely.
• The guide has mix of price ranges, with 17 inexpensive ($) or moderately-priced ($$) restaurants. The best value? Look to Toki Underground (as if that place needed more hype), which combines a 2.5-star rating with inexpensive entrees.
• The list includes several familiar faces, including all four 4-star restaurants, which return from last year’s book with perfect scores intact. It also includes a few entries, like Liberty Tavern in Arlington, Gamasot in Springfield and Red Truck Bakery in Warrenton that are not only making their debut appearances in Tom’s guide, but are being awarded stars for the first time (a commendable two for each).
• Two Ethiopian restaurants make the list, with Ethiopic on H Street and newcomer LacoMelza in Silver Spring. And Ashok Bajaj continues his dominance of the city’s Indian cuisine scene as all three of his Indian restaurants make the list. Yes, that includes both Rasikas.
• A large number of young restaurants are not only making the guide for the first time, but are doing so in their first year of existence. These precocious youngsters include Family Meal, Mintwood Place, Rasika West End, Izakaya Seki, Little Serow and Chez Billy.
• On the other end of the spectrum, you have L’Auberge Chez Francois, the classic French stalwart that has graced the D.C. area since 1954 but appears in the dining guide for the very first time.