Saturday, May 27, 2023

Still Life with Robin: Tom Sietsema know what makes a good restaurant!

 by Peggy Robin

I've long thought that Tom Sietsema has a dream job -- dining out every night, enjoying the work of creative chefs, exploring new cuisines, not thinking about the tab! Even when the restaurants fall down on some important part of the job, it still must be fun to get to tell everyone what you didn't like, as well as what you enjoyed. When you are the Dining Out critic for the Washington Post, your opinion really counts!

I'm such a fan, I like to save Tom Sietsema's seasonal dining out guides (I'm one of those dinosaurs who keeps a paper copy in a folder), so I'm glad that last weekend the print edition of the Post included the 2023 Spring Dining Guide: Tom Sietsema's 25 Favorite New Restaurants. If you're not a print-devouring dinosaur like me, you can read the online edition at

So many new restaurants to try! I just wish there was more than one in the general Cleveland Park/Woodley Park vicinity. His Woodley Park pick is Donsak Thai, at 2608 Connecticut Avenue - you can read the online review here: You can bet I'll be trying this one out first among the 25 recommended new places in his Spring Guide.

Quite a few of the others are in far-flung suburbs -- and there are even two in other cities: there's a recommendation for one in Baltimore (Woodbury Tavern) and one in Columbia, MD (Peter Chang's).

The part of the Spring Dining Guide I enjoyed the most was his essay about a restaurant that doesn't exist. After asking his readers to describe the qualities they would like to see in the perfect restaurant, Tom wrote up the result in a ten-point list: I have to say, I agree with every single point times ten!!!

Tom Sietsema's fantasy restaurant would be one that incorporates everything on that list -- and mine would be the same, plus one more thing: It should be located in one of the now-empty restaurant spaces in the Cleveland Park commercial strip, just a short walk from my house!
Still Life with Robin is published on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local on Saturdays.

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