There’s no denying it now: Washington, D.C., has become a big-time food city.
On Tuesday, Michelin announced that the nation’s capital will join such global gastronomic destinations as London, Paris and Tokyo in earning its own standalone edition of the company’s world-famous dining guide, which will go on sale in October.
Washington is one of only four U.S. cities to have the honor. Chicago, New York and San Francisco currently get the Michelin treatment. Los Angeles and Las Vegas used to be part of the club, but Michelin discontinued those editions several years ago.
— Michelin Guide (@MichelinGuideNY) May 31, 2016
D.C. restaurateurs — many of whom have grown quite weary over the years of the opinions of outside arbiters, particularly The New York Times, with its repeated put-downs of the capital’s dining scene — are understandably elated. Perhaps the best response came from Aaron Silverman, the James Beard Award–winning chef of the District’s ultra-popular Rose’s Luxury, who acted very surprised when the Washington Post called him up for comment. “Are you serious? That is crazy…. People ask me [when Michelin will come], and I’m like, ‘Maybe one day.’ ”
It’s worth noting that the forthcoming D.C. guide will stick to restaurants within the District itself. Surrounding suburbs in Maryland and Northern Virginia, which are often included as part of the greater D.C. area, will be out of bounds for Michelin inspectors. That means no Michelin stars for some of the area’s most hallowed dining rooms, such as the Inn at Little Washington, located in Virginia.
While this border-drawing will undoubtedly upset the suburban set, the distinction speaks volumes about the rise of the District as a city (and dining destination) unto itself.
Of course, not everyone is pleased by Michelin’s choice to zero in on Washington. Former New York Times restaurant critic Frank Bruni, for one:
No knock on D.C., but it gets into current Michelin Guide while L.A. doesn’t? As 4th U.S. city in guide? Nuts, https://t.co/cIQDRqqfVB
— Frank Bruni (@FrankBruni) May 31, 2016