DC gets shiny new Michelin Stars

At just 30 years old, Ryan Ratino today became the youngest ever chef in the U.S.  to hold two Michelin stars for a single concept (Jônt) and the youngest ever chef to have 2 starred concepts under his belt (Bresca and Jônt).  Moreover, Jônt has set a record for being one of the fastest restaurants in the U.S. to go straight to receiving two Michelin stars just over 5 months after opening.

The Michelin Guide celebrated resiliency and culinary talent at the highest level in Washington, D.C., with the announcement of 23 Starred restaurants. Michelin Guide inspectors recognized one new Two Michelin Stars and four new One Michelin Stars in the nation’s capital.

“This starred selection highlights the remarkable strength and innovation of chefs and restaurants who continue to serve D.C.’s community of locals and tourists with high-quality cuisine,” said Gwendal Poullennec, international director of the Michelin Guides. “Michelin inspectors were especially impressed to discover inspiring new restaurant openings, despite the challenges of the global health crisis.”

Here’s the list of new starred restaurants, with inspector notes from each restaurant:

Jônt (Two Star) – This anticipated opening byChef Ryan Ratino of Bresca is a showstopper with impeccable technique and pristine ingredients.

Cranes (One Star) – Spanish kaiseki is a unique concept for Washington, D.C. Chef Pepe Moncayo’s menu is delightful and “unbound by geography.”

Elcielo D.C. (One Star) – With locations in Medallín and Bogotá, this star-worthy tasting menu arrives to Washington D.C. courtesy of Chef Juan Manuel Barrientos. The level of showmanship and flair is admirable.

Rooster & Owl (One Star) – Chef/owner Yuan Tang runs this delightful new venture in partnership with his wife Carey Tang. The menu is contemporary with global influences from Asia to Europe and everywhere in between.

Xiquet (One Star) – Chef Danny Lledo crafts an outstanding paella, but that is only a small part of the menu that focuses on a contemporary take of the Valencia region of Spain. The kitchen cooks with confidence, touches of elegance, subtlety and, of course, flavor.

The 2021 Michelin Guide Washington, D.C., added a new distinction: the Michelin Green Star. Introduced in January 2020 with the Michelin Guide France, the Michelin Green Star recognizes restaurants with a strong commitment to sustainable gastronomy and environmental protection.

Led by Chef Patrick O’Connell, the Inn at Little Washington was recognized as the first Michelin Green Star recipient in Washington, D.C. For more than 40 years, Chef O’Connell and his team have pioneered a regional American cuisine using products sourced from local farmers, ranchers and the Inn’s own garden.

The Michelin Guide also recently released its list of 40 restaurants in Washington, D.C., that earned the Bib Gourmand distinction, featuring six new additions.

Bib Gourmand restaurants offer a full menu of a starter, main course and dessert, making it possible to order two courses and a glass of wine or dessert for around $40 or less (tax and gratuity not included).

Here’s the list of new Bib Gourmands, with inspector notes from each restaurant:

Ellē – In addition to daily bread specials, there are also items such as uni grilled cheese slathered with raclette, caramelized onion and fermented chili and a labneh roasted vegetable salad.

Hitching Post – Fried chicken takes center stage. Like most other items on this menu, it is made-to-order daily and absolutely worth the wait.

Karma Modern Indian – In a city replete with options for Indian dining, Karma Modern Indian stands out, thanks to high-quality ingredients, thoughtful presentation and expert use of spices.

Makan – This kitchen serves cross-cultural deliciousness you expect from Malaysian cooking, which takes its culinary cues from India and China.

Queen’s English – The menu reveals a modern take on Hong Kong plates. The high-heat wok dishes show a blend of fresh ingredients and balanced flavors.

Residents Café & Bar – The menu underscores an array of contemporary plates with Middle Eastern and European elements.

Troy Petenbrink

Troy, also known as The Gay Traveler, is a well known travel and food writer. His has been a regular contributor to a variety of outlets including National Geographic, Travel Channel, DCRefined, CBS Local, and Metro Weekly. He also appears on local Washington news outlets as a travel expert.

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