The Shaw Bijou
Top Chef finalist Kwame Onwuachi's Shaw Bijou has solidified its place in DC's fine-dining scene -- and not without a glamorous splash. Situated in a renovated Shaw townhouse that's hip and homey, it's more of an experience than a restaurant: you're even required to purchase a $185 ticket online for the culinary show (hopeful visitors clamor for reservations as if they were newly released concert tickets; they're made available on the first of every month for the following month). You start off in a luxury cocktail lounge sporting comfy Icelandic sheepskin chairs, where you simply tell the seasoned bartender what flavors you're feeling that evening. After imbibing, you're guided through the kitchen, where you can witness dishes being primped and polished, and take photos with Onwuachi if you please (a food blogger's dream). Finally, you're moved to your table in the chic, exposed-brick dining room of only eight tables, where you consume multiple courses of avant-garde international plates inspired by Onwuachi's childhood memories. For all its pomp and circumstance, there's no dress code at Shaw Bijou, which furthers Onwuachi's goal of creating a comfortable space similar to a dinner party at his own home.