What: The self-described “Jew-ish” deli that ended D.C.’s much-kvetched-about bagel drought.
Why: Call Your Mother isn’t the first D.C. restaurant to try to translate old-world deli culture, but based on the fanatical response and nearly hour-long weekend waits, it’s done it better than any before. With Eater Young Gun Daniela Moreira (’17) leading the kitchen and her partner, Andrew Dana, running the on-point branding, Call Your Mother nails the basics, then takes them a step further.
There’s a za’atar-dusted bagel bursting with candied salmon schmear and piled with cucumbers, crispy shallots, and peppery greens sourced from local farmers. (It’s winkingly named the Amar’e, as in Amar’e Stoudemire, the fashionable former NBA star who’s taken to studying Torah.) There’s the city’s best latke, a bronzed disc of crunchy and creamy potato, that comes with a vinegary apple jam instead of Mott’s slop. Moreira, an ace baker from Argentina, makes black-and-white alfajorescookies and babka that appears as both a muffin and a mini loaf. Offbeat menu items, like challah “cheesesteaks,” each filled with pastrami and brisket, sometimes threaten to outshine the bagels, but even amid the tongue-in-cheek dishes and the Saved by the Bell color scheme, Dana and Moreira’s serious commitment to appetizing-store culture is unmistakable.