Last night, New York City got a taste of the District as some of the area’s buzziest chefs took part in a “Best of D.C.” dinner at the James Beard House in Manhattan’s West Village. Maketto’sErik Bruner-Yang, Cedric Maupillierof Mintwood Place and Convivial, Centrolina’s Amy Brandwein, Jon Krinn and Jason Maddens of Clarity in Vienna, Va., Masseria’s Nick Stefanelli and pastry chef Alex Levin of Osteria Morini all took part in the event, which was organized by the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington and Events DC.
Participants were chosen based on their recent nomination for the “New Restaurant of the Year” award at the RAMMYs in June, which Maketto ultimately took home. Levin was the “Pastry Chef of the Year” winner.
The evening began with passed canapés in the small backyard garden of the famed cookbook author’s onetime home. Highlights included caramel apple style cherry tomatoes from Levin, Stefanelli’s foienolli—tiny cannoli shells stuffed with foie gras mousse and bookended with shaved black truffles—and a spicy lab shu mai courtesy of Bruner-Yang.
After an hour, guests were invited inside the historic building for a six-course dinner, featuring one dish from each chef, including veal tartare from Maupillier, Brandwein’s black squid ink tagliolini topped with contrasting cubes of pink tuna crudo, and a bacon-like smoked lamb belly with fresh peaches and sweetbreads by Krinn and Maddens.
The crowd was a mix of Washingtonians who made the trip, New Yorkers, and friends of the participating chefs. In the dining room, conversation flowed about Michelin coming to D.C., the growth of the District’s dining scene, and where out-of-towners should nosh when they come visit.
The dinner was especially meaningful for the delegation of D.C. chefs because it was their first time cooking at the James Beard House, save for Stefanelli. “This was a journey 20 years in the making,” said Maddens. “It was incredible.”