All photos: Jeff Martin, Franz Mahr, unless otherwise noted
The coming of spring and summer may mean many things, but we get the most passionate, most excited, and most ecstatic about FOOD. From the best new restaurants to lip balm cocktails and the spiciest of dishes, we love spending time eating and drinking our days through the coldest months of the year. On the 2014 D.C. docket there are tons of fabulous restaurant openings, specials, events and recipes, so we’ve compiled some of our favorite things we think will make your spring and summer PERFECT.
by Svetlana Legetic
Note: these were taken from our DC Bar and Restaurants to Look Forward to in Fall 2014.
(FRESHLY) OPEN NOW AND READY FOR YOU TO ENJOY:
POP’S SEABAR – 1817 Columbia Rd – DC has been in need of more casual seafood experiences, we’ll admit to that. So, combine that with a fact that the concept is coming to us from the team behind Cashion’s, the perfect Adams Morgan location (it is replacing Taan) and we’re there. Seafood baskets, Jersey Shore (the place, not the show) inspired drinks and more await. Read our First Look here.
BROOKLAND PINT – 716 Monroe Street NE – It is only appropriate that DC’s latest beer extravaganza would open during DC Beer Week. Expect: lots of room to lounge in (both inside and, lets face it-more importantly OUTSIDE), 24 beers on tap, large format bottles, the (inevitable?) No Sleep Till Brookland IPA brewed exclusively for them by Franklins and an expanded menu compared to the Meridian Pint, its sister location. Open for drinking, lunch, dinner and brunch now.
DBGB Bar & Kitchen – City Center – Of all the restaurant names currently attached to the behemoth that is City Center, the anticipation is probably the highest for Daniel Bouloud’s NY downtown DBGB, with a French brasseries/American tavern vibe. Check out our First Look here.
RURAL SOCIETY – 1177 15th Street NW – Sliding in at the start of August, Iron Chef Jose Garces finally opened his first DC restaurant and it is a beauty. Ben Eisendrath of Grillworks (whose handywork you can see at Red Hen as well) designed the open wood parilla grills, and the menu is both VERY steak friendly but also features lobsters, Wagyu belly empanadas and “Kobe Beef of Poultry” aka Japanese Jidori Chicken. Behind the bar: 75 different whiskeys and wine based cocktails for those appreciating a slightly lighter hand
DEL FRISCO’S DOUBLE EAGLE – City Center – the more upscale restaurant variation from Del Frisco’s group (which has thus far graced the DC area with their Grilles) is now operating in all its splendor in City Center. Check out our full first look here.
GYPSY SOUL – 8296 Glass Alley, Fairfax – RJ Cooper is opening a new place in Merrifield, and everyone’s been monitoring the progress. Now it is finally here. Expect: two floors, a roof deck, absolutely no small plates (but plenty of big ones, including a 60 oz steak and suckling pigs) and a lively, outdoors inspired cocktail menu.
BULLFROG BAGELS – 1341 H St NE – Bullfrog Bagels opens up their storefront location with the aim of bringing in good bagels to the city.
OPENING SOON (HOPEFULLY!)
PINEA – 1515 15th Street NW, Opening: End-of-September – W Hotel is stepping up their food and drinks game this fall with NOT JUST a complete POV overhaul but also a brand new restaurant concept in the old J&G Location, overseen by Barry Koslow (previously seen working all sorts of miracles at DGS. Expect: South-of-Europe flavors, a much more casual atmosphere than before, and an a fresh wine list. (photo courtesy of W Hotel)
KAPNOS TAVERNA – 4000 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, Opening: Soon – Mike Isabella opens a more seafood centric version of his 14th street Greek eatery. Now, between the two locations you have ALL YOUR meat and fish needs covered.
CHEZ BILLY SUD – 1039 31st Street, Opening: September – Eric Hilton and team take their Petworth bistro to Georgetown.
RARESWEETS – CityCenterDC, Opening: mid-October – If you missed Raresweet’s affrogato tasting at La Colombe over the summer, you only have to wait a little bit more to eat their delicious ice cream, cakes, and pastries.
EL CAMINO – 108 Rhode Island Ave, Opening: October – 1905 is one of our favorite places in DC and so we are welcoming anything and everything that may also come from Phil Rodriguez and Tony Lucca. Expect: a relatively traditional Mexican food joint, Latin cocktails and more.
CHINA CHILCANO – 418 7th Street NW. Opening: Late Fall – It has been a while since the Godfather of DC small plates opened a new restaurant in the District, and the newest addition sees him both trying something new (for this area at least) and also staying very close to his Washington restaurant roots geographically. Opening in the old Olsson’s bookstore space on 7th, China Chilcano is sharing the block-and-a-half radius with Jaleo and Oyamel and a three block vicinity with Minibar/Barmini and Zaytinya. The concept is Chinese-Peruvian (or “Chifa”) and the press are salivating all over themselves. Rightfully so.
UNION SOCIAL– 100 Florida Ave NE, Opening: November -Copperwood Tavern, Irish Whiskey Public House, Wilson Tavern and Mighty Pint are opening a train station themed bar.
MAKETTO – 1351 H Street NE . Opening: Soon– BYT’s What’s In Your Fridge Alum Erik Bruner-Yang and DURKL’s Will Sharp (Whose “Finer Things In Life With…” was one of BYT’s first features) have been working on this restaurant-retail mixed use for a while now and have certainly kept busy with pop-ups and events, but now maybe officially it looks like the opening is very near. Expect a menu inspired by Bruner-Yang’s travels to Cambodia and Taiwan and if their Hanoi house pop-up or those super delicious pork-buns they served at BYT NYE are any indication-we’re all in for a treat.
DENSON LIQUOR BAR – 600 F Street NW – Opening: Very Soon – With a name we can only hope is inspired by the miracle of Ted Danson in Cheers, this is a full bar concept by the folks behind Acqua Al 2 and Ghibellina (both of which we love almost a little too much for our own good). Expect a strong focus on Scotch, craft beer and cocktails and a limited food menu.
MANGO TREE – City Center, Opening: Soonish? – Richard Sandoval continues his colonization of Washington’s dining scene with a sixth feather in his DC hat. This one will be, naturally, at City Center, and Thai themed with a sidewalk cafe and dancing.
MELT SHOP – Opening: Soon – the grilled cheese trend continues with the first DC outpost of the beloved NYC sandwich shop. We’re excited.
When the weather cools, people will be looking for ways to warm up through food. And while the fine folks at Soi 38 serves lots of deliciously spicy dishes, and could showcase the spiciest of the spicy on the menu.
10/5 – In honor of National Pizza Month you can take a Pizza class at Graffiato.
10/11 and 11/8 – Learn various pasta techniques with Chef McKee of Urbana.
10/18 – At Del Campo demonstrations of Argentine and Uruguayan cuisine and get recipes for monster sandwich, empanadas, and asado dishes.
10/18 – Southern Efficiency bar manager J.P. Fetherston highlights some of the other whiskeys that people may not know about, including craft distilleries.
10/21 – In this class taught by George Pagonis learn how to make a family style dinner and drink pairings for $75.
11/8 – Want to know what to drink with Sherry? Head to Mockingbird Hill and learn all about the basics of Sherry and its production.
11/22 – J.P. Fetherston, Southern Efficiency’s bar manager will demonstrate how to make some classic whiskey punches and cocktails.
- 12/13 – At G you can learn how to make Greek and Italian holiday cookies fo $55.
Originally published in our BEERYT column. All words: Mitchell West; Photos: Morgan H. West
Fall is my favorite time of year, and it’s also my favorite time of year to drink beer. Pumpkin ales are among the first that come to mind, but few beers are as polarizing as pumpkin beers. You may like them, you may not (I do … in moderation), but they are not the only types of season-specific beer to drink September through November. Here are some great non-pumpkin fall beers, all readily available here in the District.
Anchor Brewing Big Leaf Maple
Anchor Brewing is one of America’s very first craft breweries, and while they are best known for their Steam Beer, the Big Leaf Maple should be on all beer lovers’ maps. The addition of maple syrup in the beer makes it sound like it would be too sweet, but it’s actually perfect. Hop flavors without the bitterness, lots of malt without the full body, and maple flavors without being cloying. This is a wonderfully balanced beer with delicious malt and maple notes.
Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales Bam Noire
While we’re talking about avoiding “pumpkin” beers, we can happily venture over to Michigan’s Jolly Pumpkin brewery. They produce artisanal farmhouse ales, and usually do not include actual pumpkin. Jolly Pumpkin beers are all aged in oak barrels, and the wild yeasts living in the wood of these barrels give their beers the funky flavors that brewery is known for. Bam Noire is a dark saison-style ale, highly carbonated and very dark, yet very light tasting with lots of sour Belgian flavors. The dark malts used to make this beer give it a wonderful roasty flavor that make it a perfect ale for the fall.
Troeg’s Brewing Hop Knife
North American hops are harvested at the end of the summer. While most of the harvest is dried and vacuum-packed to be sold at a later date, many breweries take advantage of this time and use these freshly harvested hops in their beers. Troeg’s take on this is their Hop Knife. The beer pours a light copper color and reeks of fresh grapefruit hop flavor, which is a great thing. It is a very drinkable light IPA with little malt sweetness or hop bitterness. A great example of a harvest ale, available only in the fall.
New Belgium & 3 Floyds Gratzer
First off, it’s such a treat to have a beer (partially) brewed by 3 Floyd’s available in DC. The small brewery from Indiana is one of the best breweries in the country and they do not distribute here. This beer was a collaboration with New Belgium, and brewed in the Polish Gratzer style. It pours very dark, almost black, and is very smoky, slightly spicy, and highly acidic. At only 4.5% alcohol. it’s also a great fall session beer.
- Champagne: Because, well, it’s Champagne. And Champagne goes well with anything during any time of the year. Every season is Champagne season to us.
- Chardonnay: Chardonnay is one of the world’s most popular grapes. They span a large range of flavor profiles, so we always recommend different types and regions depending on what you’re eating. Some offer flavor notes of peach, vanilla and even toast. We love pairing Chardonnays with fall dishes with butter-based sauces, poultry, etc. Perfect for Thanksgiving dinner.
- Roussanne: Rousanne wines come primarily from the Rhone region in France, and they tend to have a very herbal aroma, almost tea-like. You might get flavor notes of flint, floral and fruit, and they tend to develop nutty flavors when aged. When pairing with food, Roussanne is similar to Chardonnay – very versatile and they’ll go great with turkey day fare.
- Pinot Noir: Pinots can vary in flavor profile from region to region, however, this wine is one of the most versatile of the bunch and can be paired with a large range of dishes. With standard flavor profiles like red fruit, oak, earth, and tobacco, these wines will pair well with most fall dishes. A great standard varietal for any dinner party.
- Cru Beaujolais: When most people think of Beaujolais, they think of “Nouveau” – the young unaged red wine signaling the start of the season, and of celebrating its release with Beaujolais Nouveau parties every November. But at Vinoteca we suggest a “better Beaujolais” – a Cru Beaujolais. It has has seen wood so has an aged quality to it. These wines are lean and with common flavors like banana, pear and raspberry. They pair great with food, just like Pinot Noir.
- Syrah: Syrahs are the perfect wine for heavier dishes, like red and/or gamey meats. They often boast notes of black currant, plum, smoke, pepper. We love pairing them at the restaurant with Chef Zoeller’s meaty dishes like bison, lamb and duck.
Menu MBK’s tasting themes for their chef’s table will be Mad Men (September), Russia (October), Thanksgiving (November), and Bistro Lyonnaise (December)
10/22 – 10/25 – In honor of World Pasta Day, G will offer a pasta tasting menu at regular price.
- 10/3, 11/7, 12/5 – MANDU is hosting guest chefs from Osteria Morini, Vermillion & Bar Pilar and Del Campo (respectively)
Whether it is all about fire pits or heat lamps or just extra cozy blankets, there is no reason to give up on your love for outdoor drinking just because things are turning a little nippier on the outside. Check out our full OUTDOOR WINTER DRINKING GUIDE RIGHT HERE.
And, of course, it bears repeating: drink ONLY in DC’s least douchey bars. Our 2014 list + alumni/all stars right this way
Because, whether you like it or not… those are RIGHT around the corner:
- We spoke to a handful of the District’s best to find out what holidays are like in their own homes and how we can master the kitchen this upcoming season. From cranberry sauce to cocktails, we’ve got you covered.
- We asked some of our favorite DC barkeeps to make us the perfect holiday punch. ALL RECIPES AND MOUTHWATERING SNAPS HERE:
- Looking for some PLACE SETTING Inspiration? We asked some of the most creative, tasteful people we know what they’d do and they told us/showed us. THIS IS PINTEREST GOLD, we promise.
- For more hostess inspirations, check out our great hostess tips guide with assorted party pros we love around town – We kicked off our series with photographer Kate Warren and artist Martin Swift, who taught us how to dress our best for the holidays with the wardrobe you already own. We then brought you the secrets to holiday brunching from Nycci Nellis, publisher and radio host, while Washington Post Express editor Holley Simmons walked us through a festive cocoa party. Plus, lifestyle and food blogger Nikki Rappaport of Cupcakes for Breakfast fame lets us in on some quick tips for throwing (and attending) a no-stress fête and Kristin Guiter on vintage holiday BLISS)
9/29 and 9/30 – Graffiato is hosting a beer and spirits dinner from 7-10pm. This four course meal is in celebration of Oktoberfest and each course will be paired with a beer and spirit.
October – Buy take home pizza kits from Graffiato from $10.99 to $12.99. Just make sure you order the day before.
10/3 – Soil to Soul is a block party in Old Town Alexandria that benefits the Old Town Farmers’ Market and the SNAP/EBT and Double Dollar Program. It’s hosted by Jackson 20 and Hotel Monaco Alexandria.
10/5 – Stop by Del Campo for brunch on October 5 and witness the Bloody Mary Battle. Try the various Bloody Marys and pick out which is the best.
10/7 – Les Dames D’Escoffier is hosting a night of Poe inspired cocktails by local mixologists. There will be tastings, and literary lectures from professors at American University.
10/15 – Jackson 20 is hosting a wild turkey and bourbon dinner. Bourbon flights and a cigar lounge will be available.
10/19 – In honor of their 1st anniversary, Eat the Rich is hosting a party inspired by old DC oyster houses and Mötorhead. There will be all you can eat oyster specials, Seafood Towers, and happy hour prices on drinks.
10/22 – 10/25 – G will be offering a week long all pasta tasting menu to celebrate World Pasta Day which is October 25th.
10/22 – Chef Todd Wiss will host a Fall foraging dinner at Firefly. The menu will feature garden grown appetizers and desserts along with cocktail pairings incorporating rooftop garden grown items.
10/26 – Listen to Mario Batali talk about his new book American Farm to Table: Simple, Delicious Recipes Celebrating Local Farmers written with Washington Post journalist Jim Webster.
10/26 – Join Eat the Rich for a pumpkin carving contest. They will have pumpkins, kits, and pumpkin punch and beers. The winner gets a $100 gift certificate to Eat the Rich.
10/30 – For the last Sips and Cinema of the year Early Mountain Vineyard is showing Hocus Pocus. Tickets are $6 and popcorn is included. You can buy food from The Flat and wine from Early Mountain Vineyard.
10/31 – Mockingbird Hill is throwing a Edgar Allen Poe party for Halloween. They will serve Amontillado Sherry, PX caramel apples, and an adaptation of The Cask of Amontillado by actress Kerry McGee.
11/3 – Talia Baiocchi, the editor-in-chief of Punch, will be at Mockingbird Hill signing books and creating Sherry cocktails.
11/8 – If you enjoyed Snallygaster then you will want to check out the DC Beer Festival at Nats Park. There will be over 60 craft breweries, live music, games, DJs, and food. Admission includes unlimited tastings.
11/13 – Marcus Samuelsson and his wife come to DC to talk about their new book Marcus Off Duty: The Recipes I Cook at Home.
11/15 – 11/6 – The Emporiyum is a huge food event at Union Market featuring local restaurants, and those from around the US. Some participants are Momofuku Milk Bar, Black Seed Bagels, and Bittermillk.
- 12/5 – Jack Rose is hosting their 4th annual Repeal Day celebration. The saloon will be converted into a Prohibition-era bar, complete with burlesque dancers, cigars, and of course, alcohol.
For my housemade after-dinner drink menu, I try to focus on showcasing a few different offerings and doing them well. For the most part they really all are different levels of infusing. The rotating flavored liquors and cellos are just that simple. I do try to keep the flavors unique. For example I made a Concord grape cello with grapes we grew in our garden.
I’d like to start making different cellos from different wine grape varietals. As for our after dinner brandies I skew a bit more traditional, appricot, raspberry and plum. The Genepy is an alpine drink based on wormwood flowers. It goes through a few different stages of herbal infusion with basil, sage and lemonbalm. Lastly, the Amaro I make is based on Varnelli Erborista. It takes nearly four weeks of staged infusions. It includes gentian, wormwood, cinnamon, cardamom, vanilla, sage, smoked citrus peel, rosemary and many other things. Ultimately cut with simple syrup and vermouth to take the heat off. I try to offer something for everyone, but hope to work on some other more obscure things in the future. We shall see…
We had our first Oval Room meal in 2011 and it remains, to this day, one of the most talked about eating experiences in our office. And for good reason. Now, three years later, the restaurant has undergone a physical facelift (the bar is now a place to hang out, there are no white table cloths anywhere to be seen, among other things) but the most important thing still remains: Chef Conte is still in the kitchen. And while the food is as delightful and imaginative as ever, it is what happens at the end of the meal that really seals the deal for us. Oval room now has table-side coffee service and the whole ritual, as evidenced by the photo essay below is a sight to behold. The final result is as well.
and finally, as always, we close with the prettiest desserts we could track down this season.
this time around, they come with a twist:
By Brabo Pastry Chef Erin Reed
In no particular order, ALL of Chef Reed’s desserts this season are must trys, with the unusual, classically savory elements being just the added bonus. Check these out:
- Vanilla Chevre Bavarian (that chocolate BEET cake there and Celery Meringues)
- Mini Apple Dumpling
- Kabocha Squash Cake
- Darjeeling Milk Chocolate Napoleon
- Pistachio Financier with Poached Figs (Bonus! This is from the current BRABO Tasting Menu)
- Butterscotch Chip Spice Waffle with a smoked ice cream (Bacon candy corn anyone?)
- Triple Cream Panna Cotta
and that is all you guys. BYT FAL/WINTER guide week is DUNZO. Thank you for reading and looking.