Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Washingtonian's 100 Best Restaurants

You know, it seems as if every month Washingtonian magazine -- sometimes called The Washingtonian by us locals -- has some restaurant list in its pages.

This month's issue has the 100 Very Best Restaurants of 2008 and I've only been to about 10 of them for those of you keeping score at home.

See, that's why I don't consider myself a "foodie" -- I'm an adventurous eater within certain cuisines but I'm just not inclined to spend $100 on a steak, or on French food at a place in the city, but I would spend $100 on sushi, or $50 on Korean barbeque, so to each his or her own, I guess.

When you read a list like this, there are certain restaurants you know will be in there because they are famous and get written about a lot -- it's a self-perpetuating thing, really. And there are rarely any big surprises with a list like this.

And it goes without saying that The Washingtonian magazine is even safer with its choices than The Washington Post when it comes to restaurant reviews.

I may sound like a Luddite for saying this but my theory has always been that the high-end, haute cuisine places are designed for once-a-year type dining experiences, meaning that they are not designed for repeat business.

I guess if I made a lot more money, I would go to high-end places more than once-a-year but that's another story.

So the trick is to find solid better-than-average places that depend on repeat business.

A few of my friends would consider Penang a tiny bit pricey but in my book it's reasonable and interesting with a big enough menu that I'm not bored yet.

And my loyalty to Mandalay is legendary among my friends. They have yet to disappoint and their prices and menu still meet my approval after some 5 years now.

But some high-end places, like Makoto, are worth seeking out and it's only my laziness that prevents me from going to a place like that more than once-a-year.