By Todd Kliman, Anna Spiegel, Ann Limpert and Cynthia Hacinli

Few kitchens are equipped with 19th-century cookbooks or a Colonial-style hearth, but that’s just part of the reason the Dabney has set itself apart in its three-month existence. Chef Jeremiah Langhorne—who left Charleston’s lauded McCrady’s to build his Shaw restaurant—aspires to do for the Mid-Atlantic what mentor Sean Brock has done for Southern cuisine. We’ve found the greatest satisfaction in exploring the smaller plates, including toasty sweet-potato rolls with pepper jelly, Duke’s mayo, and pork belly, or buttermilk biscuits stacked with fried eggs and foie gras. Langhorne does double duty as pastry chef with aplomb, leaving us to wonder why no one thought of an apple crumble with Angostura-bitters ice cream sooner. READ MORE

Along with the Dabney, four other restaurants owned by Mike Isabella made this list: Kapnos, Kapnos Taverna, G and Graffiato.

 At Kapnos, meat is dominant. At Kapnos Taverna, in Ballston, fish is the center of the menu. What unites them, however, is more important than what divides them: The ingredients are first-rate, the presentations are dramatic, the flavors pop. READ MORE

 G by Mike Isabella  slings some of the top sandwiches in town. At night, the lights go down (though the sound system stays tuned to ’90s hip-hop and metal) and chef/owner Mike Isabella’s crew cranks out a more ambitious roster of Italian pastas and roasts.  READ MORE

And Graffiato . No one would ever confuse Graffiato with a pizzeria, even a boutique one, but the pies are among the finest in the area. READ MORE