$14; Momofuku CCDC, 1090 I St. NW; ccdc.momofuku.com
During a long (and at times uncomfortable) interview with Washingtonian magazine in October, chef David Chang declared the wedge salad his favorite item on the Momofuku CCDC menu. Of course you should try the ramen, but don’t overlook this stunner, which is available only at the CityCenterDC location, one of the year’s hottest openings.
$8; Bad Saint, 3226 11th St. NW; badsaintdc.com
With the arrival of Purple Patch, Urban Heights and Bad Saint, Filipino food had a bit of a moment in 2015. Those formerly unfamiliar with the cuisine now have their pick of Pinoy classics like lumpia, adobo and bitter melon. In particular, chef Tom Cunanan of Bad Saint wowed with his ukoy made with shrimp fritters, sweet potatoes and leeks.
Chocolate layer cake
$6.99; Crumbs & Whiskers; 3211 O St. NW; crumbsandwhiskers.com
Though it is delicious, the taste of this cake is less significant than where it’s served: Crumbs & Whiskers, D.C.’s first cat cafe. After navigating uncharted health code regulations (which must have made her feel like she was chasing her tail), Kanchan Singh successfully founded her feline-friendly hang, where you can cuddle with adoptable cats.
$4; Halsa, 655 Michigan Ave. NE; eathalsa.com
Plenty of people had a bone to pick when Halsa, a heath-focused fast-casual restaurant in Brookland, began serving bone broth in January. In particular, haters had serious doubts about bone broth’s taste and the claims that it is good for you and wondered, “Isn’t it just stock?” Maybe so, but the lively discourse surrounding the dish earned it a spot on this list.
Booze made in Ivy City
Jos. A. Magnus & Co., 2052 West Virginia Ave. NE; josephmagnus.com
New Columbia Distillers, Atlas Brew Works and One Eight Distilling all call Ivy City home. The emerging, trending Northeast neighborhood got a little more crowded in 2015 with the opening of Jos. A Magnus’ production facility. It doesn’t stop there: In 2016, the area will become home to Republic Restoratives, a whiskey distillery owned by two women.
$11.75; Buredo, 825 14th St. NW; eatburedo.com
Our condolences if you’ve already had it with oversized sushi rolls. With Maki Shop on 14th Street and Buredo downtown, it’s looking like this trend is here to stay. Our favorite is the Sofie roll from Buredo, made with tempura-fried shrimp, avocado, pickled cabbage, carrot, sesame seeds, red tobiko and Sriracha mayo. We hardly feel any shame for eating it in public.
$4; A Baked Joint, 440 K St. NW; abakedjoint.com
Fancy toast was another trend people loved to hate in 2015. We get it: Who wants to pay for something you can make at home? But as A Baked Joint proves, it’s not that simple. The sister bakery to Baked & Wired slathers toppings like peanut butter, Nutella and Maldon sea salt on loaves baked daily, pulled straight from its commercial oven. You’re telling us you have that same setup at home?
Fresh ice cream
$4; Sally’s Middle Name, 1320 H St. NE; sallysmiddlename.com
Local sourcing is nothing new, but restaurants like The Dabney and Sally’s Middle Name took the practice to new heights this year. On its website, the latter lists all of the farms it works with. Additionally, Sally’s Middle Name updates its menu every day (often with gluten-free and vegan options), including a daily ice cream made with whatever’s freshest.
$5; Maketto, 1351 H St. NE; maketto1351.com
After what felt like years of anticipation (oh, wait, it was years), Maketto opened on H Street. The food-meets-fashion concept is unlike anything else you’d find in D.C. The multilevel playground mixes high-end retail (sneakers, notebooks, clothing) with chef Erik Bruner-Yang’s Southeast Asian cuisine. Don’t forget to grab some locally roasted coffee courtesy of Vigilante.
You may also enjoy: