Washington D.C. has so many great restaurants, I had to cut my blog into two parts, just to pay homage to each restaurant we dined at. These following three are also eateries owned and/or operated by past Top Chef contestants, and they were just as awesome as the first three I reported back about in last week’s blog.

Belga Cafe

Brunch, of course we needed brunch while on vacation. Belga cafe is the restaurant of Chef Bart Vandaele, who appeared on Top Chef during season 10. Bart made it an impressive seven rounds before being eliminated. He is of Belgian descent, so Belgian Waffles are one of his many specialties in his restaurant in Washington. Ergo: brunch here was most definitely a must on this excursion. We met up with a good old friend of mine, and we reminisced over breakfast and Bloody Marys.

My daughter went with the Mais Waffles consisting of a cornbread waffle covered with pulled pork, avocado, two fried eggs and creme fraîche, so good and so different. I’m a big fan of smoked salmon, and also of anything Benedict, and lucky for me Eitjes & Gerookte Zalm had a delicious combo of both with some asparagus added. My good friend Scott ordered Biefstuk Van De Beenhouwer “Au Poivre”, a Five-pepper-crusted hanger steak with cognac cream sauce and Belgian fries. everything was spot on, and I’m still swooning about Belga’s Bloody Mary with Celery Foam!

For more info on Belga Cafe click here

Kith & Kin

Kith & Kin is considered an Afro-Caribbean restaurant, which means your cuisine here ranges from Southern to African to Caribbean, everything your heart could possibly desire is served here in this beautiful restaurant under the culinary helm of Kwame Onwuachi, my fellow Bonxite. Kwame competed in one of the recent Top Chef seasons, number 13 to be exact. He made it all the way to 6th place, and you could sense throughout the show that this young man was destined to be successful no matter where he went. So I picked this restaurant for my birthday dinner, and I wasn’t disappointed .

Spacious and luxurious, right on the wharf, overlooking the water, on a beautiful summer night, we were instantly excited about this dinner. The menu here was the small plates concept, which I love. We started with Beef Patties that came with Calypso and Tamarind sauces that were absolutely amazing. Next were Lobster and Crab Sliders with a spicy mayonnaise, delicious. The Smoked Wings followed, and Lord have mercy, they were just unbelievable. Brined for several days, then coated in Honey BBQ, they were hands down some of my favorite wings ever. Our main courses were Mom Dukes Shrimp with Buttered Rice and a toasted Brioche bun, and Jerk Chicken and Red Stripe Braised Cabbage. This whole meal was outstanding, and I couldn’t have wished for a better birthday dinner.

For more info on Kith & Kin click here

Chef Brian’s Comfort Kitchen

On our last day in Washington we needed a good lunch before boarding the Amtrak train back to New York City. Chef Brian Hill, a self proclaimed Top Chef OG, owns this lovely spot serving good old American comfort food. He appeared on season 1 of the acclaimed Top Chef series, as well as on Bar Rescue, besides having been Mary J. Bliges private chef. With a resume like this, his eatery was the obvious choice.

His place is spacious, draped in orange and stainless steel, the smell of fried chicken greets you as your mouth waters. It has the idea of fast food, yet everything is made to order from the freshest ingredients. Place your order at the counter, have a seat at the barstool height tables, and your food will be served on a tray, casual and fun. We ordered Chicken Sliders, Shredded Beef Sliders, and an order of Chicken and Waffles. Sliders in this establishment are huge, beware! The chicken was super crispy, the beef was super juicy, the chicken and waffle was super delicious. It was an insane amount of good, good food, and we got to take some for our long trip home. What a great place.

For more info on Chef Brian’s Comfort Kitchen click here