Monica Bhide sussed the best places for 2006 from one of the city’s top foodies
WE ARE conspirators. Each time the wait staff approaches our table, I stop taking notes and my companion quiets down. The waiter grins and replenishes my glass of wine; I try to interpret the grin – have I blown our cover? Does he know us? The waiter moves on and my dining companion resumes talking. I pick up my pen.
We are seated in the demure Corduroy restaurant, in the heart of downtown Washington DC, “the best place in town to have a lunch meeting” in my dining companion’s opinion. He should know. His opinions can mean the difference between nights when even a reservation might not guarantee a seat and a dining room echoing with the occasional clinking of an “off night.”
His reviews are exacting, he has an uncanny ability to tease out flavors. People hang on each word he pens, unforgiving. He is held accountable for details down to the color of the walls. At 44, this charming, handsome man is one of the most recognizable names in DC and much to his relief, one of the least recognizable faces.
Tom Sietsema, a veteran food reporter and current restaurant critic for Washington’s best selling newspaper is well aware if he is recognized it would compromise his reviews. He dons heavy disguises, carries alternate forms of identification and sends in friends to check out places – to ensure that his reviews are unbiased.
The full piece is at the Economic Times’s epaper. Registration is needed and is free.
Restaurants discussed – Restaurant Eve, Corduroy, Chef Jose Andres’s Minibar, Palena, Tallula, Charlie Palmer Steakhouse, Maestro and much more.