News to Digest
This week, let's raise our forks to new Virginia offshoots of two of my favorite restaurants. Oh yes, you can now find fabulous oysters in Old Town and delicious Thai food in Ashburn. Also, an article in the Food section has me thinking about pies, donuts and other baked goods. Where are your choice bakeries?
Oysters in Old Town
Tonight marks the grand opening of the new location of Hank's Oyster Bar. When it comes to lobster rolls, popcorn shrimp and oysters -- both fried and fresh -- I have yet to find a better local destination. Tucked into King St. just below Henry St., the restaurant will bring a batter-coated, delicious taste of New England to Old Town.
The space is about the same size as the original Dupont location and shares many of the same features. The restaurant seats 50 with additional patio seating for 10. There is a bit of seating in front, a bar midway down the restaurant and a wider area in back. The walls are exposed brick and the specials will be written up on a chalkboard a la Dupont.
Fans of the original will be happy: The opening menu is pretty much a carbon copy of Dupont's. Soy-balsamic-glazed sablefish, soft shells in lemon caper sauce and meat and two -- a nightly non-fish special with your choice of two sides -- are all on the menu. The formula for Old Town will even include the chocolate chunks in lieu of dessert. I would love to see Leeds take advantage of the larger space to start serving desserts (pies, please!), but perhaps moderation of sweets is necessary if, like me, you tend to go a little wild with the Mac and Cheesy. If you do want dessert, the nearby Majestic is pretty unbeatable for giant, fluffy cakes.
Basil for Ashburn
Chantilly is a long way to go for Thai food, but when the food is as good as Thai Basil, it's worth the journey. So Ashburn residents should be pretty excited to learn that the owner has opened a second location -- with a slightly larger menu -- at Broadlands Center Plaza. The pad Thai is delicious, fried duck is indulgent and some of the Chantilly specials, like the spicy crying tiger and kao soy noodles, will be staples at the new spot. Who's ready to carpool?
In today's Food section, Walter Nicholls profiles several bakeries that are new or opening soon around town. Where do you fall in the baked goods market? Do you go for cupcakes, brownies, muffins or something else? Are you excited to have mom-and-pop bakeries nearby or are you a Dunkin' Donuts type (or missing the Fractured Prune, for that matter)? For me, I'm excited for fall's apple cider donuts, which I plan to eat with reckless abandon at Miller Farm in Clinton, Md. What do you wish would open around here? (Let's hope restaurateurs are reading!)
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