As summer continues to sizzle in Washington, the dining scene feels as hot as ever. Here are nine new restaurants to check out, vetted by Washington Post food critic Tom Sietsema.
The owners of Nido are doing the same thing for Spanish food in Mount Pleasant as they did for Mediterranean fare in Woodridge. In other words, expect satisfying plates — fried goat cheese, paella, pureed chickpeas with lamb — in a stylish, small space. 3155 Mount Pleasant St. NW.
Frederik De Pue's bungalow-style restaurant in West Annapolis is home to three dining areas, each with their own charms. “To pass on a snack is to miss some of De Pue’s wit,” Sietsema writes. Go for the spread of escargots or blue crab pastry cigars. In warmer weather, try the cooling, grass-green gazpacho, made with spinach and cream, served with tender mussels and a curry “crumble.” 17 Annapolis St., Annapolis.
Restaurant Eve owners Cathal and Meshelle Armstrong fill the light-filled dining room in the Hotel Indigo with many a crowd pleaser: The standouts include crab cakes with just enough mayonnaise, bread crumbs and Dijon mustard to keep them together; whole grilled red snapper served with four sauces; and a roast chicken brined in orange and star anise, served with double-fried french fries. 220 S. Union St., Alexandria.
The Bethesda outpost of the Arizona-based company is a block long and averages 800 people on a weekday. Go for dumplings stuffed with pureed edamame or a pizza with a crust made crispy (and healthier) from nutty flaxseed. 7100 Wisconsin Ave. NW, Bethesda.
You'll have to be persistent to get a seat at this slim Japanese spot in Alexandria. But you'll be rewarded by a bargain $48 tasting menu with such gems as “Tokyo-style tuna tartare,” dashi with soft-shell crab and udon noodles, and ice cream with coconut jelly and red beans. 1209 King St., Alexandria.
Chef Kyle Bailey's ode to New England has a bevy of appealing seafood attractions, including fresh oysters, “Nashville hot” soft-shell crabs and bucatini with uni. Don't miss the towering fluffernutter milkshake from Bailey's wife, Tiffany MacIsaac of Buttercream Bakeshop. 79 Potomac Ave. SE.
Sip the best sangria in town along with some beautiful, well-executed Spanish plates: grilled Iberian pork shoulder and mashed potatoes, smoked salt cod with gazpacho, and crawfish topped with fried eggs. 660 Pennsylvania Ave. SE.
Former Chinese Embassy chef Peter Chang shows no signs of slowing his empire-building down. His 200-seat flagship offers some different dishes to enjoy, including fried snapper with a peppy red sauce, a “vegetable box” reminiscent of a meatless meatloaf and weekend dim sum. 4500 East-West Hwy., Bethesda.
The sprawling brasserie import from New York can satisfy many appetites. Highlights on the large menu include zucchini flatbread, bibimbap and a juicy flatiron steak with hot and crisp french fries. 901 F St. NW.