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Rammy’s Point to Where Washington’s Players Dine: Scene

2012 Chef of the Year Vikram Sunderam of the West End restaurant Rasika. Photographer: Stephanie Green/Bloomberg
2012 Chef of the Year Vikram Sunderam of the West End restaurant Rasika. Photographer: Stephanie Green/Bloomberg

June 25 (Bloomberg) -- Vikram Sunderam said the International Monetary Fund’s managing director, Christine Lagarde, recently dined in his Indian restaurant Rasika.

Sunderam was named 2012 Chef of the Year last night at the Rammys, the annual Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington gala, which was held at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel.

Jeff and Barbara Black were named Restaurateurs of the Year for their leadership of the Black Restaurant Group eateries in Washington and Maryland. Their 14th Street bar, Black Jack, was deemed Hottest Restaurant Bar Scene, and their Blacksalt Fish Market was honored as Upscale Casual Restaurant. Jeff Black said Michelle Obama stopped by for some seafood there earlier this year.

Readers of Where magazine gave McCormick & Schmick’s their Visitors Choice Award, and Founding Farmers, just a stone’s throw from the White House, was voted top Power Spot. Martha Stewart and policy geeks from the World Bank are fond of breaking bread at Founding Farmers.

Bourbon Steak, the restaurant at the Four Seasons on Pennsylvania Avenue, was named best Fine Dining Restaurant. The spot is popular with diplomats.

Ed Witt received the Rising Culinary Star award for his work at 701 Restaurant in the Penn Quarter, where he says he serves a long list of legislators who stop by for the rockfish tartare.

Amour for Adour

Adour’s Fabrice Bendano, a native of Paris, was named best pastry chef. He’s known for his macaroons and other sweets that have boosted female visitors, colleagues joked.

Members of the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington solicit nominations in the various categories, and an anonymous panel of food writers and experts makes the final decision.

Fiola in Penn Quarter was named best new restaurant. Many of last night’s attendees, like last year’s Chef of the Year, Todd Gray of Equinox, stressed the importance of a nomination, especially its impact on a young chef and a new restaurant.

The theme of the gala was “Hats Off to Restaurants,” and guests turned out in everything from frilly fascinators to macho Stetsons.

Former Washington Mayor Anthony Williams, who received the association’s Duke Zeibert Capital Achievement Award for his dedication to improving the city’s dining scene, came out in a simple baseball cap.

Central Hats

After the awards ceremony, guests descended on the hotel’s ballroom for the gala. Hats were placed on tables as centerpieces. Food stations representing cuisine from Australia, Spain and neighbor Virginia offered three-course meals.

Australia touted its native wild mushroom and sundried tomato polenta cakes, and Spain offered “pintxos,” morsels to be paired with wine like the 2011 Egeo Verdejo that was served.

Virginia served artisanal cheeses with assorted jams, chutney and peanuts, seared Chesapeake Bay Ray and scallop cakes, and fresh oyster shooters. Bourbon Steak provided one of the featured beverage stations.

(Stephanie Green is a writer and photographer for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Any opinions expressed are her own.)

Muse highlights include John Mariani on wine and Hephzibah Anderson on books.

To contact the writer on this story: Stephanie Green in Washington at sgreen57@bloomberg.net or on Twitter @stephlgreen.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Manuela Hoelterhoff at mhoelterhoff@bloomberg.net.

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