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Best of Arlington 2016

Editor’s Picks

Dishes to Die For

Restaurant critic David Hagedorn recounts the best things he ate in 2015 on our side of the Potomac.

Photo by Jonathan Timmes

The dish: Dry-fried eggplant with Sichuan peppercorns, chilies, cilantro and scallions

The place: Peter Chang Arlington
The verdict: Master chef Peter Chang achieves perfection from the fryer with these batons, which are boldly seasoned and crispy on the outside, pillowy and piping hot on the inside. They’re the potato chips of Sichuan cooking. Good luck eating just one. peterchangarlington.com

The dish: Rabbit duo of braised leg and roasted stuffed saddle with peas and Provencal tomato sauce

The place: 2941 Restaurant
The verdict: This is the kind of dish that makes you appreciate French technique and the finesse of a chef like Bertrand Chemel. Nuanced, sophisticated, seasonal and loaded with flavor. www.2941.com

Photo by Jonathan Timmes

The dish: Carolina trout with chanterelles and hollandaise sauce

The place: Brine
The verdict: Moist, delicate and sweet, the fish tastes like it just came out of the water. The earthy chanterelles and hollandaise sauce are lush bonuses that enhance every bite. www.brinerestaurants.com

Photo by Jonathan Timmes

The dish: Pizza fritta stuffed with fresh mozzarella, ricotta and spicy salami

The place: Pupatella
The verdict: When you cut into this large, crescent-shaped, deep-fried pizza, the cheese oozes out and conspires with the golden dough to render you powerless. www.pupatella.com

Photo by Jonathan Timmes

The dish: Whole spit-roasted lamb shoulder

The place: Kapnos Taverna
The verdict: A massive board of tender lamb, crackly and juicy from the spit, yearning to be stuffed into warm pita and slathered with tzatziki and harissa. It’s heaven. kapnostaverna.com