Ask 20 people to agree on Washington's best dish, and you'll find them more conflicted than the incoming Congress.

Does one of the new arrivals, such as khachapuri, an oblong, gluten-licious butter bomb at Compass Rose, qualify as the city's most memorable morsel? What about the fried chicken at Boss Shepherd's, a dish Post food critic Tom Sietsema describes as so heavenly that it "stains your fingers and puts all conversation on hold"? The sweet, garlicky little tapioca pearls at Doi Moi, or the adventurous fried smelts at Pop's Sea Bar?

Or should it be something established and wonderful but found off the beaten path, like the utterly perfect dan dan noodles at Rockville's dim-sum staple A&J?

But the big question in this region flush with new dining establishments and excellent older staples: Why stop at just one? Each year, The Post picks 40 of the area's best dishes, as nominated by readers.

So, if you will, forget about your resolutions and help us settle the ongoing battle of the biscuit.  And as more restaurants spiff up their dessert offerings beyond the now-standard house-made cookie plate, is it a fiery baked Alaska or a simple chocolate salami that you'd order in a heartbeat?

Tell us who has the best burger, torta, taco, cocktail or Ethiopian platter.  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 by e-mailing (please include an e-mail address or phone number so we can reach you), or hit us up on Twitter at @goingoutguide (#40eats).

See lists from previous years below:



40 dishes every Washingtonian must try in 2013

WASHINGTON (Feb. 22, 2013) -- The bacon gorgonzola mac n cheese at Kangaroo Boxing Club. The side dish ($4) is one of Washington's Essential Eats 2013. (Lavanya Ramanathan/The Washington Post)