Boom! Bad Saint Takes No. 2 Spot in Bon Appetit Top 10 Best New Restaurant List

bad saint
3226 11th Street, NW

Congrats to the good peeps at Bad Saint for snatching the Number 2 spot in Bon Appetit’s Top 10 Best new restaurants in America:

“I was flying solo, but everything about this 24-seat, no-reservation spot made me feel like family. Credit Filipino-American chef Tom Cunanan and co-owners Genevieve Villamora (the most gracious host I met all year) and Nick Pimentel, who’ve made this place their passion project. Their food is personal, but it’s so much more than just dishes they ate as kids. Bad Saint is the kind of place I spend all year searching for.”

134 Comment

  • Great place but it was already nearly impossible to get into!

  • Fantastic! Congratulations to Nick and Lizzy.

    Now if only the Mount Pleasant ANC and Historic Mount Pleasant Board would expedite their proposal to move into the former Heller’s space on Mount Pleasant!!!

    • Are they moving altogether or adding a second location?

    • That’s Room 11. And for all the sh!tty work done by the ANC and the HMPB I don’t think they are involved in holding this particular project up.

    • Paisley Fig has the support of the ANC to move into the Heller’s space
      HMP wouldn’t be involved unless there are changes to the facade.
      Owners have applied for a liquor license, hearing is set for Sept 6th

  • The food was mostly pretty good, and the service was terrific. I wonder where the Bon Appetit list-maker sat, though. Because we sat on uncomfortable stools at a narrow bar, facing a wall, and constantly knocked elbows with the strangers sitting six inches to either side of us.
    I look forward to going back when they expand and get some proper tables, ones where I can look at my dining companion without getting a crick in my neck.

    • I really enjoyed the food, wine, service and ambience except for this very thing. I kept getting up and just standing at the bar because I was so uncomfortable on the stool.

      • Why should that matter? Do I usually want to sit on an uncomfortable stool? Of course not. On a special occasion, to have the honor of being at what’s considered the second best new restaurant in the whole country, I could definitely find a way to make that work. This isn’t TGIFridays.

        • Really??? The honor??? You waited in line with no reservations and were told when you could eat. Restaurants are not about the food alone they also tend to want to make you comfortable. WTF does this have to do with TGI Friday’s. God that comment sucked.

  • Jerry Grundle

    Congrats to them, but none of these places around town are truly worth standing in line for hours. Clearly a lot of people don’t agree with me.

    • You don’t have to stand in line at Bad Saint. You can put your name down and they’ll call you when they’re ready for you. When we went we just went back home and hung out until it was our turn; if you don’t live nearby you can go to one of the numerous bars within 2 blocks and hang out comfortably while you wait.

      • Tsar of Truxton

        But you stand in line to put your name on the list, no? Otherwise, you can eat at like 10 p.m. and who wants to do that?

        • What’s wrong with eating at 10pm?

          • Is this a serious question?

          • Hahahaha…. as someone who is usually in bed around 10pm to get up for work at 5:30am I would literally never eat that late ever.

          • I had major stomach pain the day after my birthday dinner at Rose’s Luxury. It may have been food poisoning, or the three hours of drinking while we waited to be seated. But I’m sure part of the problem was that I’m not used to eating a big meal at 10pm. Didn’t have a choice though, since neither me nor my girlfriend are able to leave work early enough on a Monday to be the first ones in line.

          • “What’s wrong with eating at 10pm?”

            Absolutely nothing, and I wish there were more neighborhood places that made it possible. You all who say a late dinner is insane realize that not everyone works a typical 9-5 shift, right?

          • But the person working an atypical shift still has to show up to put their name in at 5pm so they can eat when they get off work at 10.

      • Waiting 2-3 hours at a bar wouldn’t work for many people (me included) who aren’t big drinkers. I ate here about a month after it opened. We got there a few minutes after 5 pm on a rainy Monday; we waited for about an hour at Room 11 for our table. The food and service were both excellent (though I didn’t really like sitting at the narrow bar in the back), but if it was that much of a hassle then, I wouldn’t want to try it now. I don’t object to standing in line (I’ve eaten at Rose’s a number of times) but a 2-3 hours wait is more than I can handle.
        This business model is working for them, so I don’t begrudge them for doing it, but I’m not going to try to go back until they expand.

      • maxwell smart

        Yeah, that’s all well and good if you live nearby and/or have 3+ hours to “hangout” somewhere nearby. I mean, I get it. Not taking reservations is “cool” and “less pretentious” or whatever, but not everyone has the kind of time to basically sit around for hours waiting for the opportunity to have dinner somewhere.

        • There’s not an evening in your life that you could find 3 free hours?

          • maxwell smart

            Not actually I don’t often have the luxury of 3+ hours to wait around for dinner, especially during the week when I don’t typically leave work until after 7pm.

          • I know no one’s forcing them to eat here, but people with diabetes or on certain medications have to eat at specific times and can’t wait 3 hours.

          • Prince Of Petworth

            Are you there God? It’s me, PoP.

          • Even when I have 3+ hours to spare (before eating dinner, so it’s be a 4.5-5 hour evening), I’d be miserable spending 3 hours in a bar before dinner, and I wouldn’t drink enough to justify taking up a seat in the bar for that long.

          • That’s the thing. Do I usually have 3 hours to wait for dinner? Of course not. On a special occasion, to get into what’s considered the second best new restaurant in the whole country, I could definitely find a way to make that work. This isn’t TGIFridays.

          • When I’m celebrating a special occasion I want to relax and enjoy it, not jump through hoops to “make it work”, but that’s a very DC attitude for sure!

          • maxwell smart

            @ Anon.: Agreed. If/When I have a free day or it’s a special occasion, I’d rather spend it having a good time – not having to find filler activities nearby waiting for the opportunity to dine at what is supposedly a top restaurant. Honestly, I’d rather go somewhere less trendy and enjoy apparently garbage food. Simple tastes.

          • When I select a restaurant to dine at, I usually think about food quality, service, price, and convenience. In a perfect world, all places would excel at all of those, but I know that no place excels in all of those so I pick my battles. If I’m on a budget, I may have to sacrifice on quality (RIP Ruby Tuesday). I may need to pay a little more for a place with excellent service. And I may have to deal with a little inconvenience for a really fantastic meal. It’s pretty basic logic. And If I decide it’s too inconvenient and I’m just going to grab nachos at Wonderland, then there’s probably 50 people behind me willing to take my place on the list at Bad Saint.

          • “When I’m celebrating a special occasion I want to relax and enjoy it, not jump through hoops to “make it work”, but that’s a very DC attitude for sure!”
            Actually, I think the more DC attitude is, “Don’t you know who I am? I’m a junior legislative aide for first-term Representative Warglesnarg – my portfolio is state fairs, our relationship with Luxembourg and the taxation of domestic llama wool. Despite the stunning rate at which restaurants fail, it is outrageous that this establishment tries to maximize their revenue in a manner that inconveniences ME! I am FAR too important to wait in line for FOOD.”

          • dcd, you act like restaurants are doing us a favor by accepting our business. That’s really sad. It ought to be the other way around.

          • If they have 2-3 hours waits, they certainly aren’t maximizing revenue. And as is clear here, you’re clearly making some segment of the population annoyed/angry. You might not care about waiting in line, but objectively this doesn’t seem like an ideal situation for a business.

          • Not at all. But for a very popular place, there are going to be any number of people who can’t get in on any given evening. That’s true whether they take reservations or not, by the way – if the restaurant does take reservations, the prospective patron has been informed beforehand, rather than the day of.

          • That’s a pretty important distinction! (knowing before dinnertime). I’m happy to wait a month to eat at a great restaurant. But much less happy to wait for an hour to *maybe* be allowed to put my name on a list for service *maybe or maybe not* at dinnertime.

        • Even if you live nearby it’s silly and pretentious. I live a couple blocks from Rose’s Luxury and have only eaten there once– why play the waiting game when there are other restaurants that are just as good? The strategy is working well for them, obviously, but I hope it doesn’t become a wider trend.

        • The restaurant seats like 25 people, and that’s a tight squeeze. I don’t think having a wait is some indication of hipster pretense, it’s just a fact of high demand + low availability. Even if they did take reservations, it would be for maybe 3 tables at a time, because the place is so small. So then you’ve got “takes months to get a reservation” which would get them flamed by the same people who don’t want to wait nearby for their spot, or “reservation only” which would get them flamed as pretentious as well.

          When it’s all said and done it’s a high-demand restaurant with very little seating availability, not an airport Chili’s. Everyone upset that they can’t walk in on a whim and get seated within 30 minutes don’t even make any sense to me, tbh.

          • They really should consider my idea of getting rid of the tables, or at least the chairs. Economically speaking it makes a lot of sense.

  • Is it loud there? I’d like to bring my parents there but they are hard of hearing and don’t want to admit it. Thanks!

    • This isn’t the spot for your parents – sorry! Try Khip Thao perhaps? (Though even that place can get fairly loud on a busy night.)

      • Thip Khao is crazy loud. I made the mistake of taking my parents there, and they were miserable. Maybe if you sit outside?
        Pho 14 is very nice for older visitors.

        • Agreed that it’s very loud. Also, when I went a few months ago, Thip Khao honestly wasn’t good at all. WAY too salty. We talked to our server and she even admitted that some of the food she tried recently hadn’t been as good as when they opened. Disappointing.

    • It is loud. And those tiny stools facing the back wall are super uncomfortable. The one time a friend and I got in we left rather than sit back there. You can’t actually have a conversation. Hoping they expand soon!

  • So glad that their pretentiousness with their reservation system (that we should be so honored to wait hours in the heat just to get a taste of them) is paying off with a certain subset of people…

    • Taking the reservations, late parties, no-shows… If you’re packed every night without taking reservations – why would you add that hassle/risk? Plus, it keeps it a neighborhood place.

      • Plus cost! OpenTable and the like aren’t cheap, and the alternative (taking names by phone) would irritate as many people and require hiring more staff or existing staff working more. Seems like there is a method to their madness that is working for them, and clearly for Bon Appetit and many others.

    • If everyone honored their reservations or cancelled timely, more restaurants would have them. A place that small can’t risk turning folks away because of a reservation which may cancel last minute or show up late.
      From casual to fine dining, reservations can be very hit or miss.

      • skj84

        Former hostess here, and while I sympathize with those who hate waiting, I totally respect Bad Saints decision to forgo reservations. Why block spaces that people may or may show up for when they have a guarantee they will have butts in seats? I hated holding tables for resos that either didn’t show up, showed up late, or not the party size they made the reso for, especially when we had a waiting list. People don’t like hearing “we have a wait” when there are empty tables. Thier model works for them.

      • But it can be done. I worked at Obelisk for many years, with high demand and only 32 seats. We took reservations exactly 30 days ahead and required people to call and confirm on the day of. We also kept a wait-list, and rarely had an empty seat. They could also request a non-refundable deposit.

        • I think that is phenomenal idea!

        • Or, they could do none of those things, avoid all of the hassles of holding deposits, maintaining reservations, etc., and still maximize the number of patrons they get in each night.
          Of course it could be done. But if they’re filling up the place anyway, why on earth should they?

          • Exactly, dcd. They’re full every night and they don’t even have the hassle of a phone number. Why would they make it more complicated?

          • They could fit even more people in if they got rid of the tables and chairs. I’m sure the place would still fill up every night so why not?

          • @Anon – you do know that there are plenty of places like that in DC, right? Restaurants where there’s no place to dine in, but that do take-out only?

          • No, this is different– everyone gets served standing up! It’s more fun and Instagrammable that way.

      • This is spot on. I am continually amazed by people who attribute this to pretentiousness and don’t recognize that it’s just economics. There are a lot of reasons a restaurant would forego taking reservations – people fail to show up, people show up late, you have to have a separate system to manage reservations, if you take online reservations (which is expected these days), Open Table or whomever has to get paid, it can be difficult to estimate the time for any given table, resulting in either a fewer covers in an evening or disgruntled patrons who have to want for their reservation, and so on. No reservations eliminates all of that, and if you’re good/lucky enough to be in demand (Rose’s, Little Serow, Bad Saint), you maximize covers and eliminate a lot of overhead and hassle. Plus, it’s more egalitarian – if you want it bad enough, you can go on any given evening – just get in line early.
        It’s fine to dislike this system, of course, and refuse to go because of it. But if a restaurant can get away with it, from a business standpoint it’s a no-brainer.

        • +1 you said it better than me

        • When a restaurant inconveniences its patrons in the name of economics it’s called poor customer service.

          • skj84

            No one is forcing you to go. If you don’t want to wait then that’s your choice, but it’s not bad customer service. You do have an option. It’s just not your preference, but it’s an option. Bad customer service is losing resos or seating late because there aren’t enough tables or service is slow. Not taking resos is a choice to simplify the seating process.

          • You have a point– when the expectations are already low no one has the right to mind that their comfort is being sacrificed to save money.

          • Huh? As skj said, it’s your choice to go or not go. I don’t understand the “every business that i want to go to must cater to me and my preferences” attitude on PoPville sometimes.

          • That why I agree with skj– people only go to these restaurants if they’re willing to put up with things they wouldn’t otherwise.

          • Man, I need to stop commenting for the day. I keep misinterpreting people’s comments. So sorry, Anon.

          • also, night owl — i think you must be new here or you’d know i’ve been around for like, 2 years (under this username) and more without posting.

          • Sorry, Friday Girl. My sarcasm font was turned off. 100% agree with your “why does everyone think every business is for them?” post. My off-the-cuff comment was meant to point out the continued absurdity of people with that attitude.

        • The thing is it isn’t about economics. Any person who actually know economics realizes that a long line for any service is a failure of what should be the primary purpose of a restaurant, which is to make money.
          It is clear there are ways to lessen the line that will be of little cost to the restaurant. There is also a way to lessen the line that will make more money for the restaurant. Raise prices. The fact that there is so much excess demand for this restaurant means that its priced too low. So people pay with their time. And all that time is something that doesn’t go to the restaurant, it’s just lost. Better to make people pay for the excess demand with money, something the restaurant can actually use.

          So the fact that they don’t do this means there is actually some other reason. If I had to guess, it’s that being “the restaurant that’s impossible to get into” for them has some type of cachet. It could be that they want to make their restaurant accessible (although this policy certainly makes it inaccessible to a different subset of people). Maybe they think charging more would change the vibe of the restaurant. I don’t know.

          But to say it’s an economic “no brainer” is ridiculous. Lines are economic failures.

          • +1

          • You seem to be under the impression that if a restaurant takes reservations, there’s no “line,” but that isn’t true. The line’s just hidden from view – you have people swearing in front of their computers 30 days before they want to go because they can’t get a reservation.
            But, you’re right, the sweet spot as far as maximizing revenue is to raise the prices to a point where they are still full every night, but no one who wants to go doesn’t because of the price. Simple . . . except it’s not. There are any number of reasons that a restaurant doesn’t want to raise priced to the tipping point. Regardless, there’s no question that no reservations systems are more efficient in getting the maximum number of people into a restaurant on any given night than taking reservations. From that standpoint, it’s absolutely an economic no-brainer.

          • I know there are reasons. I actually alluded to some of them. But if you don’t think that this restaurant is doing this because they believe they get some benefit from the visible line, i think you’re fooling yourself. Which I think was the point of many of the posters. This restaurant can obviously do what they want, and people can complain about it and not go and shouldn’t be made to feel bad for their choices.
            And yes, Ill agree with you, not taking reservations or even having a phone is the absolute cheapest thing you can do. But the cheapest isn’t always the most advantageous.

          • And I’m pretty sure nowhere in my post did i suggest they take reservations.

          • Point is, restaurants are passing a burden onto the customer. It’s less effort for them, and people put up with it, and then it becomes more commonplace. Just like how airlines have stopped including food service and checked bags as part of the fare. People complain at first, but other people say they don’t mind, and before you know it all the airlines are doing it because it’s an easy way to make more money. You can pretend otherwise, but all this corner cutting ultimately cheapens the experience.

          • @Anon – that’s all true, and to a certain extent it’s what’s going on here. But you refuse to accept that what you consider corner cutting that cheapens the experience is viewed as an improvement by others. I LIKE the no reservations policy. Is it ideal for all situations? Of course not. But for someone who has a hard time planning more than a couple of weeks out, and whose schedule changes frequently, it’s great. There are barriers to entry, yes – but that’s the case for restaurants that take reservations as well. This model just changes the barrier.
            In any event, I’ve decided – I’m going to Bad Saint next week – I’ll let you know how it goes.

          • Well, that’s why I’ve been commenting and asking questions– I’m trying to understand why people like this system.

          • My thoughts exactly.
            The line shows that prices are far too low. The goal of a restaurant is to charge as much as possible and fill as many seats as possible. There is obviously some value to the line cachet they are factoring into their process.

          • Well then just say you like the No Reservations policy better. Instead of saying that it’s a “no brainer” for the restaurant, implying superiority.

          • I agree that reservations move the line out of view. But you’ve got to admit that waiting 2-3 hours is very inefficient. Many hours are spent and no one gets any benefit from them. I think 99 percent of people would prefer not to stand in line. Like if they held reservations you could make online the day of for people like you that like to walk up that day. There are ways to do it. But this restaurant chooses not to. Whether that’s because of money or because they like the visible line, I don’t know. It’s their right to do it. But it’s not fait accompli and a restaurant that really cared about their diners’ experience would try to fix it.
            Again. I don’t own this restaurant, or any other. But if I did and heard someone was making money standing in line to come to my restaurant, I would certainly be trying to find a way to get that money into my pocket instead of theirs.

    • This is a bit dramatic in terms of waiting in the heat for hours…
      Everytime I’ve been, I’ve shown up when they’ve opened, put my name in the list, and then gone next door to Room 11 for a drink. I’ve never gotten a table later than 8pm.

      • maxwell smart

        So you waited 2.5 hours. So actually there was nothing dramatic about the comment.

        • You’re right, it wasn’t dramatic. Whiny and passive aggressive, but not dramatic.

        • Waiting in the hear implies you have to stand in a line outside and wait. That’s what I was saying is a bit dramatic. I waited in a nice air conditioned bar next door and enjoyed a few cocktails.

          • maxwell smart

            After 2.5 hours of cocktails, not going to lie, I probably wouldn’t care this was restaurant of the year. In fact, at that point, I’d probably be just fine with Jumbo Slice.

          • I’ve always joked that that’s why everyone raves about these places. Anything tastes good after several drinks and an empty stomach.

          • If I’d just spent 2.5 hours drinking on an empty stomach I’d be in absolutely no shape or mood to eat at a respectable restaurant. And if I spent 2.5 hours nursing one drink, any bar would be right to be mad as hell.

          • maxwell smart

            Right. These people spending 2.5 hours before dinner drinking or either A+ highly-functioning alcoholics OR they are really nursing, what I assume, is a luke-warm, watered down cocktail.

          • I’d say mostly the former. This is DC we’re talking about.

          • Or they had an appetizer at the bar.

      • The system works great for Millennials who don’t mind eating late after a couple hours of drinking. For everyone not on that schedule it’s an ordeal.

        • It also works well for people who like some flexibility, who don’t mind eating early, who don’t mind using Taskrabbit every once in a while. And it’s ideal for people who either can’t/don’t plan where they’re eating 4 weeks ahead of time.

          • I wouldn’t say paying someone to get you into a restaurant is a sign that the system is working well.

          • maxwell smart

            Wait. Did you really just suggest using Task Rabbit to have someone put your name on the wait list??

          • People have been doing it ever since Rose’s opened. I hope it doesn’t become normalized– dining out is expensive enough as it is.

          • “Did you really just suggest using Task Rabbit to have someone put your name on the wait list??”
            Sure. I haven’t done it, but there’s a cottage industry of people who are line-standers at Rose’s. I know half a dozen people who have used them.

          • maxwell smart

            I’m sorry, but there is no dining experience worth having to pay someone to stand in line for you.

          • You’re obviously in the minority here.

          • “I’m sorry, but there is no dining experience worth having to pay someone to stand in line for you.”
            What you mean is, “I’m sorry, but there is no dining experience worth having to pay someone to stand in line for **ME.**” Others disagree. You have made the determination that your time is not as valuable to you as the cost of hiring a line stander would be. Others disagree.

          • maxwell smart

            @dcd Wrong. I’ve made the determination that my time is valuable but so is my money and I simply do not see how anywhere can be worth paying someone to wait in line for me, therefore this establishment, like most in DC, is not worth my time or money.

          • That’s certainly your prerogative. Others disagree.
            I’m curious, though, if most establishments in DC aren’t worth your time or money, where do you spend your dining dollars?

          • *** is probably a fabulous cook like me so we rarely see the need to go out 😉

          • maxwell smart

            @dcd: Honestly, I don’t go out that often. Once you add in the cab fare to/from, apparently the additional bar tab from waiting 3 hours for your table, it’s not really worth it. When I do go out, it’s with friends who live near me, so it’s easier and more enjoyable to go somewhere low-key that we can all easily get home from. Also.. I am a really good cook. 🙂

          • I hear you . . . I also have some chops in the kitchen, and when we go out typically it’s to eat food that it’s difficult to cook at home, or where not everyone in my family likes the same thing. And I am a firm believer that one cannot truly appreciate a great, or even a good restaurant, unless one has some appreciation for how difficult it is to make it.

        • skj84

          Oh the old “Millennials as the enemy standby”. How dare those young’ins shake up the preconceived notions of restaurant service! Not every restaurant caters to everyone’s wants and needs. Obviously Bad Saint is not for you, you don’t want to wait. And that’s ok, you can choose to patronize a restaurant that takes reservations and not have to worry about planning.

          • Sorry, I guess I was thinking that way because I usually only go out to restaurants when my parents visit, and eating at 10pm just doesn’t work for them. Of course there are other places to go, but it would be nice if we could try the ones that are considered to be the best in the city.

          • Also not all millennials want to eat late (like me) or have to get in line before 4 (again, like me). I hate when people use the millennial thing. I don’t go around complaining about old fuddy-duddies like they’re a plague to society… [/end rant]

          • That’s why I said “the system works great for Millennials who don’t mind eating late” 🙂 We are exceptions, but the number of people defending this practice makes me think we’re in the minority.

          • OHHHH. I understand you now. Sorry, I misunderstood the phrasing.

          • “Sorry, I guess I was thinking that way because I usually only go out to restaurants when my parents visit, and eating at 10pm just doesn’t work for them. ”
            OK – How about eating early? I have eaten at Little Serow and Rose’s maybe a combined 10 times, and every single one of them has been for the first seating. You go get in line, have your parents meet you there at 5:30, have dinner. Easy.
            No, you can’t be guaranteed that you’ll eat at your preferred, pre-selected time. And if that is essential for you, you’re probably going to have to forego the experience.
            What’s really funny is that there are a ton of restaurants that don’t take reservations. But if the food is just OK, no one cares that there are no reservations. Essentially, people are saying, “The food is excellent/this place is hugely popular? They must immediately start bending over backwards to accommodate me, the customer!” But that’s turning the laws of supply and demand on their head. If demand is great, the restaurant can take steps to maximize their return. This is a business transaction – in a field with notoriously low margins.

          • I’ve tried that. Got in line at 2:45pm, stood there for two hours while my parents relaxed at my house, found out we couldn’t get seated until 10pm, went home to get my parents and tell them we’re going elsewhere. I mean, I could have gotten in line earlier but then that’s really cutting into my day with them. I already felt bad that I’d wasted so much time in the line.

          • @Anon: I understand your frustration, but think for a second about your complaint, and the solution. The restaurant is so popular that people in line at 2:45 wouldn’t get seated until 10. Because of that, they need to put systems in place that are an administrative hassle, and that will cost them money (both in out of pocket costs and fewer covers per evening). There’s a logical disconnect there. Plus, as many people don’t mind, or like, the no-reservations system as despise it. I get it, I really do – I have the same kind of frustration when I’m trying to get into a fine dining restaurant that takes reservations 60 days ahead of time, and I can’t for months and months. But they’re not going to change either.

          • Your argument was that these places are perfectly fine for taking elderly parents. The fact that they don’t need to take reservations might be true, but it doesn’t support the point in question.

          • “Your argument was that these places are perfectly fine for taking elderly parents.”
            I mean, you could have made it work if you’d gotten there earlier. It’s a drag, sure, but don’t act like it was impossible.

        • I was going to say maybe they don’t eat out and they just cook. We mostly cook, but do eat out 1-2 times a week–pretty much every Friday. However, we’d never wait 2-3 hours to eat dinner. I feel lucky that we got to eat at Bad Saint shortly after it opened and only waited about 15 minutes for a 7:45pm seating!

          • I have to admit, I am a little disgruntled that Bad Saint opened 4 months after we moved – we were 3 blocks away, the perfect setup for a putting your name in, hanging out at home, and then walking over when they text.

  • I’m really surprised when people rave about their service, because whenever I have attempted to put my name in for a table here I got incredibly rude service. I am no stranger to the wait-in-line restaurants and have no problem coming back a few hours later, but once the hostess (owner?) acted like I was completely insane to even ask to put my name in when I came in around 6 or 7PM, gesturing around dramatically at the crowds inside like I had nerve to even ask about getting a table for two that night.

    The most egregious time was a freezing cold night with pouring rain, when my party of two opened the front door to the restaurant, in which there was room to stand in the entry, and the hostess literally pushed the door shut again right in our faces! We stood outside for a minute, confused, until another party approached, and she did the same thing to them! After another minute of confusion she came outside and told us all they were booked. Not sure why she couldn’t have told us that inside! I haven’t been back. Really did want to try this place, but they don’t know how to treat people.

    • maybe cuz it was cold outside and other patrons dont enjoy having the cold winter wind come in while they eat.

      • this is always something that’s bugged me about DC restaurants. honest question- is it really that difficult to get the little heated bump outs like they have in nyc? I’ve never really seen them down here and wonder if it’s some sort of zoning policy or just a failure to use them.

      • But it’s a restaurant! We were trying to come inside and patronize it, not just needlessly let in a ton of air. Are you seriously suggesting that we were out of order and deserved to have the door shut in our faces? I’ve been to a lot of restaurants in the winter and never had that happen before!

        • It’s a hugely popular restaurant– they can do whatever they want. It’s not like you were trying to get into Chipotle.

          • They can do whatever they want – obviously – and I can call them out on it. It was rude service. I’m not suing them, just kvetching on a neighborhood blog. Geez.

        • west_egg

          I only start to worry about our culture when people like Tom and Anon come along and act like it’s totally fine for someone to shut a door in your face.

          • maxwell smart

            I like that the take-away from this discussion is that if you want good service, comfortable seating and a reasonable wait-time, then you better go to TGIFridays and eat garbage because Bon Appetit rated restaurants can do whatever they want.

    • There’s something humbling about having to stand in the cold and rain, or sit waiting in a bar, to get into the hottest restaurant in town. It de-glamorizes the experience and makes it feel more egalitarian, even though it’s not.

  • congrats! i still miss el rinconcito deportivo.

  • Unrelated to everyone’s quibbling, I find it interesting that everyone assumes you HAVE to go drink for 2 hours. Books still exist and pass the time just fine.

  • For the number of people who seem to be gourmands here it’s surprising that no one has mentioned the sourcing aspect of intentionally having a place (and kitchen) this size. Anyone who is going to truly appreciate the food going on here is going to understand that it might make complete sense to limit the number of tops you can have each night and reasonably supply the care and quality ingredients that go into the food. It’s sort of like complaining that a renowned artist didn’t paint enough copies of their most famous work. It’s not a perfect analogy but all the arm-chair economists on here aren’t really valuing the product for sale here correctly. Also if you think the entire point of a restaurant is to charge the most $ for the most people then you should probably stick to Cheesecake Factory.

    • Nobody said they should increase the number of tops. I said they should charge more for the tops they do have. I have know many people in the restaurant business. Every single one of them wants to make money. And it drives almost every decision they make.

  • “Congrats to a neighborhood spot that’s nationally recognized” turned into “I can’t get in, it’s too much for me to handle, I don’t have that amount of time, so F&$% this place.” Typical DC nonsense. Be happy for them, make a point of trying to get check it out, or don’t, or whatever. Don’t be a hater.

  • anonymouse_dianne

    “it’s so crowded nobody goes there any more”
    Yogi Berra

  • I arrived at 5:10 pm and wait for roughly 1.5 hrs to find out I didn’t get a spot. The owner was hospitable so I do hope to return. But she told me that I will have to come around 3:30 p.m. to get a spot. I literally will have to take the day off of work to make that happen! I’m never going to get to dine here!!

  • I tried to eat here once- went with my boyfriend on Valentine’s Day. We stood in line for about 1/2 hour. It was freezing cold and actually we starting feeling like idiots standing there in the cold. It’s like we were free idiot advertising. I feel the same way every time I see the long line outside Georgetown Cupcake. This food experience is not for me. I love good food but unfortunately not like this, Bon Apetit or not. We ended up going to Meridian Pint where we had the most delicious cheeseburger. It was a great evening, minus the waiting in line. Not going back!

  • I’ve heard of great things….maybe i’ll try it in mid-November around b-day time if I can get a seat lol.

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