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Posted at 12:37 PM ET, 01/ 4/2007

Erin's Meal Plan for 2007

By Erin

The new year is upon us and with it, the promise of plenty of fine dining. In the works are several sibling restaurants to beloved local establishments, ranging from four-star affairs to midnight cheap eats. More restaurants are popping into the Chinatown area, and a favorite taco haunt plans a comeback.

With the paper nearly off its windows, Central, the new venture from star chef Michel Richard of Citronelle, looks about ready to launch. The restaurant's open kitchen will produce Richard's takes on American classics in a bistro setting. Though originally scheduled for this past summer, the restaurant, which is "central"-ly located between the Capitol and White House and includes a charcuterie bar, should prove worth the wait.

Upscale New York-based Italian chain Il Mulino is slated to open its first Washington outpost sometime in February on Vermont Avenue between L and M streets. Known for pastas, veal and shellfish, the restaurant can be expensive, but its garlicky dishes have a zealous following in New York.

Opening sometime this spring, Mio will feature fresh seasonal fare from the former executive chef of Jaleo. Located at the corner of Vermont and L streets by Il Mulino, the restaurant will have regionally sourced dishes. There will be a pit stop area for nibbles and a focus on small-production wineries.

After a lengthy multimillion dollar renovation, the Occidental reopened last night to celebrate its centennial anniversary. With a focus on classic American fare, the traditional restaurant is known for its large collection of signed photographs in the dining room.

The owner of Amsterdam Falafel Shop will attempt to earn the title of sausage king with M'Dawg Haute Dogs. Slated to open across from the Adams Morgan falafel destination in just 10 days, M'Dawg will specialize in self-proclaimed "snazzy" bratwursts, sausages, hot dogs and links galore.

Francophiles should look for an appearance by Napoleon at the end of this month. The new venture from the Cafe Bonaparte team promises more French bistro fare and will open in the old Mantis space in two or three weeks.

Though Chinatown is already packed with restaurants, a few businesses are proving that there's room for more. Former Crystal City-dweller Oyamel should be up and running next month. Moving into the former Andale space, in the same neighborhood as several sister establishments, including Jaleo and Cafe Atlantico, Oyamel should prove quite popular along an already hopping strip. Chef Joe Raffa, formerly of Majestic Cafe, will helm features like the ceviche bar and weekend brunch spread.

Just around the corner, Proof should pop up in early spring. The restaurant will feature a wine bar stocked with bottles from the owner's collection and selected by wine genius Sebastian Zutant, formerly of Komi and Rasika. Inspired by restaurants like Los Angeles's AOC, a personal favorite, the small-plates Mediterranean menu will also offer plenty of champagnes for diners to enjoy while looking out over the Portrait Gallery. A patio is also in the works.

Of course, a look at the new year wouldn't be complete without acknowledging a venue that crept in just under the wire for 2006. D'Acqua, in the former Signatures space, offers fresh fish selected from a display and cooked to diners' specifications or in preparations like parchment-wrapped dorado with mussels and clams. The chef migrated from Filomena, so pastas, including the fresh paccheri with lobster, are cooked to perfection.


By Erin  | January 4, 2007; 12:37 PM ET
Categories:  Restaurants  
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Sounds great! But uh, which is the favorite taco haunt making a comeback? Or were you referring to the former Andale space becoming Oyamel, there?

Posted by: Josh | January 5, 2007 11:06 AM | Report abuse

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