Updated: Seven Arlington Restaurants Make 2014 Washingtonian 'Very Best' List

Co-founders of Crystal City's Synetic Theater honored as Washingtonians of the Year.

The Liberty Tavern in Clarendon was named one of the region's 100 Very Best Restaurants in the Washingtonian magazine's annual list. Patch file photo
The Liberty Tavern in Clarendon was named one of the region's 100 Very Best Restaurants in the Washingtonian magazine's annual list. Patch file photo

Update (Wednesday): Seven is the lucky number this year for Arlington restaurants, as that's how many made Washingtonian's annual 100 Very Best Restaurants list for 2014.

Michael Landrum's Ray's the Steaks and Ray's to the Third made a return appearance from 2013, as did Liam LaCivita's Lyon Hall and Liberty Tavern. (President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden have both been to the latter.)

Rounding out the 2014 list are Bonchon, the Korean fried chicken restaurant that opened in the Shops at Pershing this past summer, Rus Uz, which blends Russian and Uzbekistan dishes in Ballston, and Cava Mezze, a Greek restaurant in Clarendon

The magazine, too, honors Synetic Theater co-founders Paata and Irina Tsikurishvili as Washingtonians of the Year "for being local heroes in their commitment to making the Washington DC community a better place through boundary-pushing theater" in Crystal City, according to a news release.

Here's what the magazine had to say about the 2014 picks:

Ray's to the Third (1650 Wilson Blvd.): "The steak-and-cheese isn't 'authentic,' but it's glorious — generous and meaty and (okay, we'll say it) better than the majority of what you'll find in Philly."

Ray's the Steaks (2300 Wilson Blvd.): "What hasn't changed at Landrum's Arlington flagship is the consistency of the kitchen and quality of the beef, whether a pepper-crusted filet mignon or a mammoth cowboy-cut rib eye."

Liberty Tavern (3195 Wilson Blvd.): "Liam LaCivita's menu borrows from a variety of traditions (Italian-American, Amish) and regions (the American South, New England), all united by his desire to deliver comfort on the plate and give diners plenty of options for every occasion."

Lyon Hall (3100 N. Washington Blvd.): "The most memorable thing on the menu at this French/German-inspired bistro is a hot dog, and trust us—that's not a backhanded compliment. Fashioned from short ribs and spiced like a great terrine, the frankfurter is slipped into a house-made poppy-seed bun that's been buttered and griddled. Near perfection."

BonChon (2209-E N. Pershing Drive): "…[N]obody anywhere does Korean fried chicken like this. Or fried chicken, period. The incomparable crunch (you can hear the person next to you biting into the carapace-like skin) is the result of a laborious multi-step cooking process and is so addicting that first-timers are prone to becoming obsessives."

Rus Uz (1000 N. Randolph St.): "Curiosity might draw you to this Ballston restaurant, one of only a handful of places in the area serving Russian or Uzbek cuisine. But quality is what will keep you coming back long after the novelty fades."

Cava Mezze (2940 Clarendon Blvd.): "These Greek small-plates lounges don't suffer from a dual identity; much of their appeal derives from it."

Original article (Tuesday): Six Arlington eateries were named to Washingtonian magazine's annual 100 Very Best Restaurants list in DC, Maryland and Virginia for 2013.

Magazine staff apparently found plenty of mouth-watering dishes along the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor.

Michael Landrum's Ray's the Steaks and Ray's to the Third both made the list, as did Liam LaCivita's Lyon Hall and Liberty Tavern.

Rounding out the 2013 list were the Green Pig Bistro in Clarendon and Willow in Ballston.

Here's a taste of what magazine staff had to say about their favorite Arlington restaurants:

Lyon Hall (3100 N. Washington Blvd.): "[T]his is very much a neighborhood drop-by spot. Killer cocktails, a thoughtful beer list, and wines from small family-owned vineyards in France are one reason. The kitchen’s craft approach to everything from wursts and condiments to breads and ice cream is another."

Ray's to the Third (1650 Wilson Blvd.): "Michael Landrum… elevates junk-food favorites with great ingredients. This movie-poster-lined dining room offers the best of both."

Green Pig Bistro (1025 N. Fillmore St.): "The fun is in cobbling together a meal that might induce whiplash…"

Liberty Tavern (3195 Wilson Blvd.)"The menu is informed by the dual identities of chef Liam LaCivita’s education as an Italian in New England—wood-fired pizzas, garlic bread with provolone, lots of seafood. His smart embellishments vault his dishes above mere comfort food…"

Willow (4301 N. Fairfax St.): "[C]hef/owner Tracy O’Grady’s kitchen is on fire again. The roster unfolds with dishes earthy (foie gras and truffles gild many plates) and ethereal (savory mousses seem spun from air)."

Ray's the Steaks (2300 N. Wilson Blvd.): "Think of Michael Landrum’s filet-mignon-for-the-people steakhouses as fraternal twins—the Silver Spring spinoff’s spare dining room is loud and has a Deco air, while the Arlington flagship is white-walled and even noisier. Frills are few and service can be rushed, but that’s fine with us because both places serve some of the most flavorful rib eyes and New York strips in town, and at bargain basement prices."

This article has been edited.


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