Oh, More Places You'll Eat
Yesterday I started my post-summer sorting of my favorite restaurants of the past few months. I barely scratched the surface, leaving the best for last. Today: a few clones of established favorites, a destination for amazing wine and Wolfgang Puck's Washington debut. And if these don't suit your fancy, scroll down for a preview of more tantalizing places ready to open their doors.
Among dining trends, several restaurants recently welcomed new siblings (or identical twins) into the area. Tonic at Quigley's Pharmacy opened in the early summer with a menu of sandwiches, grilled proteins and American standards. Burgers and pizzas can be customized with dizzying combinations of toppings (BYOB and BYOP, respectively), but I prefer the prepared burgers, like the Trachten Burger, and the fried chicken. It isn't a culinary experience, but it offers solid food that fills a void in Foggy Bottom. Silver Spring's Ceviche opened a second location in Glover Park this summer, serving the eponymous ceviche along with Peruvian specialties. It's a novel addition to that neighborhood, but I'll still go across the street to Sushi-Ko for my raw fish fix.
The offshoot making the most refreshing departure from its big sibling is Rock Creek Mazza. The restaurants are known for serving healthy, though occasionally skimpy, dishes of American fare. Ris Lacoste, who earned great acclaim in the kitchen of 1789, consulted on the healthy menu. Hank's Oyster Bar has a twin much in the original's likeness with the same exposed brick and fabulously unimposing menu of popcorn shrimp, lobster rolls and even the sablefish special. Though there's also the same lack of desserts, the new Hank's benefits from its close proximity to the Majestic, which has enough desserts to sweeten all of Old Town.
Speaking of the Majestic, it too was reborn this summer with a dose of inspiration from Cathal and Meshelle Armstrong of Restaurant Eve. Rebecca Willis has produced pies, icebox cakes and plenty of fluffy frosting, Todd Thrasher set to work on a menu of classic cocktails and chef Shannon Overmiller has been creating seasonal treats like soft shell crab, succotash and the thrilling family-style selections of Nana's Sunday Dinner.
Proof is one of my favorite places that recently made its debut. Though it's consistently packed, which leads to somewhat inconsistent experiences, the wine is always worth a visit. You can order dozens of vinos by the glass, though I am always tempted to dive into the hefty list of around 400 wines by the bottle. In my experiences, wine does not just set the tone for the meal, it makes the meal. Luckily, crispy chicken, meatballs and agnolotti in tomato fondue and Hawaiian prawns can stand up to the libations.
The newest restaurant on the scene is The Source by Wolfgang Puck. The Source is Puck's first foray into the D.C. area. The restaurant is part of the Newseum building, though the Newseum itself is not yet open. Puck's place splits into three levels with a street-level lounge serving new and classic cocktails, from the ginger mojito to the Singapore sling; delectable kobe sliders; pizzas; chicken spring rolls; spare ribs; and onion rings. Upstairs, find Asian cuisine, including Szechuan steak, steamed Hong Kong-style steamed salmon and lacquered Chinese duckling. If you can spare any room, go for the cherry blossom at dessert.
This is a pretty hefty list, but the restaurants just keep coming. In the next few weeks, look for Hudson to open with early morning breakfast, last-chance plates and fabulous cocktails to boot in the rejuvenated former David Greggory location. Marvin, a resto-lounge tribute to Marvin Gaye, should be steaming up mussels and other Belgian food in the not-too-distant future, while the multi-level the Park at 14th will open just down the street from DC Coast with American food and a good amount of lounging. Also within the next 1-2 weeks, look for Kemble Park Tavern to open in the former Starland Cafe space. Nicaro hopes to open its doors sometime next week in Silver Spring. Finally, Westend Bistro by Eric Ripert finally welcomes diners in the Ritz Carlton with fare reportedly inspired by American comfort food and Ripert's family recipes. The restaurant's promised roasted chicken and fish burgers will be available as of Nov. 8.
This is, by no means, a definitive resource. So, where have you found new food fulfillment?
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