A few of our favorite things. Clockwise from top: Red Hen's gnocchi; Rose's Luxury's pork and litchi salad; and Astro Doughnuts' creme brûlée. (Stacy Zarin Goldberg for The Washington Post; Astrid Riecken for The Post; Anne Farrar/The Post)

A handful of sublime dishes  wooed our staff and venerable food critic Tom Sietsema in the past year: Rose’s Luxury’s heavenly pork and litchi salad. Daikaya’s Japanese take on chicken and waffles. Red Hen's unusual semolina gnocchi with fragrant hazelnut pesto.


With such addictive little morsels flying out of the kitchens of Washington area restaurants -- and with so many superlative new dining options, from conventional eateries to food trucks, bars and pop-ups -- it’s impossible to choose a singular “best thing we ate” in the past year.

We prefer to pick 40 mouthwatering, mind-altering eats with a little help from you. It’s time to name the dish that every Washingtonian must try in 2014.

So tell us: Was it Astro Doughnuts’ creme brulee number that satisfied your sweet tooth? Or Duke’s Grocery’s salt-beef sandwich, when your cravings veered toward the savory? Which new restaurants turned out the city’s hands-down best dish? Which sorely overlooked favorite deserves a spot on the list?

Name your essential eats, leaving out none of the finger-licking details, and we might feature your pick in our annual list. Make your nomination in the comments, by e-mailing goingoutguide@washpost.com (please include an e-mail address or phone number so we can reach you for a quote), or hit us up on Twitter at @goingoutguide (#40eats).

Look back at our previous Essential Eats: 

40 Dishes Every Washingtonian Must Try in 2013

40 Dishes Every Washingtonian Must Try in 2012