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Tom Sietsema's 'Kitchen Confidential' Fall Dining Guide: Compare his restaurant picks with your own

(Photo by Sean McCormick/The Washington Post)

By Katie Rogers

In the olden days, restaurants hoped for a sterling review from only one person -- the newspaper critic. Now all the diners' opinions matter and our restaurant critic is taking note. Tom Sietsema added reader buzz to this year's Fall Dining Guide. Sietsema weighed his picks not just based on high-performing restaurants, but on the places people were talking about.

That's not to say Sietsema's picks don't also feature an element of exclusivity (after all, what's D.C. without its insiders?). Some of the observations from his seasoned eye:

The Columbia Room's mixologist's favorite drink to make is the simple dry martini. The Inn at Little Washington offers a 30 percent discount to members of the military Monday through Thursday in January and February. Fried grasshoppers are on the menu at Oyamel, and the kitchen serves it in more than 600 tacos a month.

Keep watching @washingtonpost on Twitter for more factoids leading up to Sietsema's chat next Wednesday.

Also, check out the guide for a host of other great dining details. You can meet eight dining dynamos worth keeping on your radar; draw inspiration from a how-to guide to scoring a seat at Minibar and get a visual taste of the options with this photo guide. And if you haven't had enough by that point, take a poll and tell us what it is about a restaurant that ensures your return.

Our curious critic wants to know about your picks, too. What's your secret to fantastic D.C. dining? Where's your undiscovered foodie gem, and why do you love it? We want to know. Use #kitchenconfidential to reply on Twitter and we'll place some of the best responses back in this blog.

Update: View the conversation and get more recommendations here:

By Katie Rogers  | October 15, 2010; 11:23 AM ET
Categories:  Your Take  
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Restaurant Eve... My wife and I love going there our #1 hands down... even dinner at the bar is spot on.

Posted by: DaveTress | October 16, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse

We have really been into a simple burger and sweet potato fries at Rogue States (clasic, tasty, reasonably priced), until those horrible lawyers sued to shut them down. It's called mixed use buildings people, and if you don't want to have your employees near a burger place, I'm sure there is a high rise in Rosslyn with your name on it!

Posted by: blackandgreen | October 16, 2010 9:03 PM | Report abuse

Tom, I guess you & I will never agree. I find it odd that what you include as 4-star places are places that give you (1) a choice between goat & pig; (2) a counter and six seats where you can't bring a group; (3) an Indian restaurant that has limited appeal; (4) a "laboratory" or limited seating environment; (5) a restaurant that makes things that seem like other things; and (6) a tired old place that nobody really goes to any more because the partnership has been dissolved and word has it the quality has declined.

But what do I know? You are the "insider"? In your fall dining guide, you did not mention 2941 Restaurant. OK. I go there once a week. I find it spectacular. But you reviewed a lobster wagon? C'mon, Tom, are we in the same church and same pew? You need to find a better way of defining quality than comparing lobster wagons, counters with six seats, and real restaurants. Seriously! Otherwise we are really looking at an apples, oranges, and pineapple comparison here.

Posted by: blue22crab | October 16, 2010 9:39 PM | Report abuse

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