Comfort food. What does it meant to you? Probably something opposite than it means to us. No other difficulty of food is done so many by personal memories and nostalgia.
The genre has always seemed some-more undying than trendy. And while certain staples such as steep soup or grilled cheese have endured, comfort food is done by what’s going on around us. Take a preference dishes of a ’80s (remember Wolfgang Puck pizzas?), that helped two-income families speed adult cooking and afterschool snacks. Or a inexpensive cuts of pig swell and brief rib that dominated after 9/11 left restaurants reeling. Or a pellet bowls and avocado smoothies that have spelled out self-care lately.
Nowadays, when food is both tellurian and hyper-accessible—it’s probable to have Peking steep or truffled pasta delivered to your door—comforts are so many some-more eclectic. Herewith, a 35 favorite ways to indulge.
Sorry, McDonald’s, though we cite a fries supersized. The thick-cut frites during this Brookland booze bar are brined in saltwater and triple-fried in peanut oil until they’re a ideal golden hue. 3000 12th St., NE.
Rutabaga fondue? We were doubtful until we dipped hunks of pretzel bread into this fluffy concoction. Plant-based pioneers Kate Jacoby and Rich Landau initial began transforming a roasted unfeeling into fromage-like drop during their Philadelphia flagship, Vedge. “Add some white booze and caramelized shallots and a fondue was born,” says Jacoby. The plate hasn’t come off their menus since. 600 H St., NE.
This sandwich competence sound simple—pastrami, kraut, Swiss, rye—but a whole thing takes some-more than a week to make. Recently commissioned prepare Adam Howard brines Roseda Farm brisket for 8 days before smoking, steaming, and barbecuing it, and marinates his turmeric-tinted cabbage for 41 days. Even a Worcestershire salsa and bread-and-butter pickles in a Thousand Island salsa are house-made. 1201 24th St., NW.
Momofuku creator David Chang is only one of this sandwich’s many fans. The raise of really skinny primary rib is magnificently luscious and served on a ideal soothing roll—so good on a own, we hardly need a dipping jus. But we do need to contend approbation to a horseradish when your server asks. 7715 Woodmont Ave., Bethesda.
This sundae combines dual classical pairings: The vanilla ice cream is buried between both extra-thick fudge and chocolate cake. A shard of almond bellow or a waffle cone gives it a small crunch, though over that, a confection is by a book—and all a some-more juicy for it. 901 F St., NW; 1314 U St., NW.
Soup is a unique exercise—and a acquire one if we have share-plate fatigue. There’s zero improved than perching during this Union Market oyster bar and tucking into a play of sensuous dish packaged with Barcat oysters and bacon. Don’t forget a few dashes of a residence prohibited sauce—or a good book. 1309 Fifth St., NE.
These hulk wings, roasted until fall-apart proposal and smothered in a rosemary-flecked gravy, call to mind Thanksgiving. But instead of dry breast, we get a best dim beef that hugs a bone. Platters come with cornbread stuffing and dual sides—we’re fans of a pork-studded collards and cheddar mac. 1704 U St., NW; 5431 Indian Head Hwy., Oxon Hill.
Restaurants, keep your smart fry chicken—we’re feasting on steep during this 40-year-old institution, that has lured a spectrum of luminary guest (the Bushes, Psy). The sum make this bird mount out: house-made hoisin and uninformed pancakes, scallions grown on a Tsui family plantation in Purcellville, and servers who expertly form a wet beef and crackling skin. 6029 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church.
Chef Vikram Sunderam took impulse from croque Mr. for this decadent naan. Instead of French ham and Gruyère, a pillowy bread is studded with bacon—a common Goan ingredient—and laced with pointy English cheddar and chili flakes. The result: globally delicious. 3309 Connecticut Ave., NW; 2000 Pennsylvania Ave., NW.
Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup
We’ve seen this sandwich-and-soup combo dressed adult with truffles, chilies, and copiousness of other ingredients, though we crave it many in a simplest form. That’s what this Dupont Circle locavore market/cafe does best: an ultra-crispy, super-gooey brew of Swiss and cheddar on sourdough. Grab a crater of sour tomato-basil soup for dunking. 2001 S St., NW.
Sul Leung Tang
Few restaurants are as many of a cure-all as this local Korean dining room, that specializes in effervescent soups and physic stews. Need a boost of energy? Try this chalky beef-marrow gas with noodles and proposal meat, that we alloy adult with spices, scallions, and, for a kick, a few splashes of kimchee juice. (Our tip: If you’re boring from a hangover, haejang guk, a zesty beef-rib soup, also does a trick). 7133 Columbia Pike, Annandale.
It’s a sum that make this play of Vietnamese soup mount out. Meaty, greasy chunks of oxtail are a good choice to a standard preference of brisket, tripe, and meatballs—and a house-made chili and lemongrass salsas put a plate over a top. We could eat a latter seasoning on only about everything. 8130 Sudley Rd., Manassas.
“A prepare always told me, ‘Just when we consider your onions are done, prepare them a small more,’ ” prepare Gregory Lloyd says. Deeply caramelized onions are only one of a secrets to this French bistro’s cheese-laden crock. An greatly dainty (and heavily reduced) veal batch is stoked with sherry and Chablis, afterwards surfaced with a brew of provolone and Gruyère, and a powdering of Parmesan, that imparts a ideal crustiness as a cheese is melting. 1601 14th St., NW.
This Park View corner serves your standard lineup of pancakes and omelets, though neighbors in a know go for a Ethiopian breakfast. The dual options embody scrambled eggs, onions, and peppers churned with niter kibbeh (spiced simplified butter) and a amiable berbere seasoning. One plate comes with a side of rolled injera, while a other resembles Ethiopian chilaquiles with a pita-like bread called kita. 3213 Georgia Ave., NW.
Cheese and Corn
Korean grill customarily comes with ssamjang (red-pepper paste) and sesame oil with salt for dipping. But during this boisterous finish for tabletop grilling, combos embody a nominal cast-iron skillet filled with elastic cheese and corn, that oozes, afterwards crisps over a flame. If you’ve never scooped thick-cut pig swell by kernel-studded mozzarella, you’re blank out. 9619 Fairfax Blvd., Fairfax.
Many mornings, you’ll have to contest with stroller-pushing relatives during this Del Ray spot. The beautifully flaky, golden biscuits are value a hassle. Owner Nicole Jones tested several recipes before settling on a classical threesome of ingredients: White Lily flour, butter, and buttermilk. We adore them with a slather of a house-made jam, though they also make for a flattering juicy fried-chicken or bacon-egg-and-cheese sandwich. 2309 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria.
Ramen gets all a excellence when it comes to Japanese comfort food, though don’t blink a rice bowl. One of a favorite versions of donburi arrives surfaced with buttery slabs of eel charred underneath a blowtorch with egg, caramelized onions, and a honeyed soy sauce. Grab a kitchen-counter sofa to watch your dish being made. 2438 18th St., NW; 1134 19th St., NW.
Traditionalists might wish to demeanour elsewhere, though we’re bending on prepare Tae Strain’s chronicle of a Southern spread. The tawny brew of sharp, smoked, and white cheddars is studded with fermented chilies, afterwards finished with preserved kohlrabi and jalapeños. Subbing for saltines: warm, elastic Chinese-style bing bread. 1090 we St., NW.
If, like us, we consider a best partial about eating a raise of Buffalo wings comes during a end, when a tawny blue-cheese salsa and prohibited salsa have total in equal measure, get yourself to this downtown Bethesda sports bar. The warm, sour family recipe from a upstate New York–bred co-owner facilities copiousness of Frank’s prohibited sauce, shredded chicken, and pointy blue cheese, though also a furious card: Sriracha. On a side: a large disaster of tortilla chips. 4866 Cordell Ave., Bethesda.
The sticky, sweetened breakfast lenience is carrying a impulse right now, display adult during many a bakery and coffee shop. Our favorite chronicle is during a Black Restaurant Group’s Southern-inspired Logan Circle kitchen, that offers a integrate of twists: Instead of a classical brown-sugar-and-cinnamon glaze, a pull-apart leavening rolls are sheened with orange butter. And instead of job a cast-iron-baked honeyed by a normal name, it’s famous here as mopsy bread. 1612 14th St., NW.
Chocolate-chip cookies are a divisive topic—some like them crispy, others soft. If we tumble into a latter camp, these sister pizzerias are your place: An oversize cookie is pulled true from a oven, with—depending on a location—vanilla gelato or a dollop of churned mascarpone melting into a still-hot rivulets of chocolate. 1250 Ninth St., NW; 79 Potomac Ave., SE.
This essay appears in a November 2018 emanate of Washingtonian.
Ann Limpert assimilated Washingtonian in late 2003. She was formerly an editorial partner during Entertainment Weekly and a prepare in New York grill kitchens, and she is a connoisseur of a Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Logan Circle.
Jessica Sidman covers a people and trends behind D.C.’s food and splash scene. Before fasten Washingtonian in Jul 2016, she was Food Editor and Young Hungry columnist during Washington City Paper. She is a Colorado local and University of Pennsylvania grad.
Anna Spiegel covers a dining and celebration stage in her local DC. Prior to fasten Washingtonian in 2010, she attended a French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA module in New York, and hold several cooking and essay positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.