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Posted at 3:49 PM ET, 11/12/2010

Minds behind Siroc to open sister restaurant Vento in Dupont

By Justin Rude

When partners Keram Dris, Mehdi Dris and Chef Martin Lackovic opened Siroc in 2008, their hope was to open a casual, upbeat trattoria in the style of I Matti, the Adams Morgan establishment where the three initially met in the '90s. Unfortunately, the space they opened in was missing some key ingredients... like a bar. This evening, the partners will finally open the place they initially imagined when they debut their new restaurant, Vento, in the old MiMi's space at 2120 P Street, NW. With fully 30 percent of the restaurant's 95 seats in the bar area, the space is much more capable of carrying out the vision of Lackovic and the Dris brothers. "When we opened Siroc, we really grabbed it because it was there, and then made it work," Lackovic says, "But this is the place we originally intended to open up."

The partners employed Florencia de las Gradillas, the same designer behind Siroc, to complete the contemporary look of the new establishment. Among the 90 bar and dining room seats there are 20 to 25 that are located in an adjoining room that can be closed off for private events. In the spring the restaurant will open up another 35 patio seats.

Like Siroc, the menu will be pasta-centric. In fact, the new kitchen is going to produce the pasta for both dining rooms. That doesn't mean that there will be any overlap in the menu, however. "We want o get as far away from repeating dishes as possible," Lackovic says. "That's the one thing I didn't want to happen." On opening night, Vento will feature dishes like beet pasta ribbons with a Ragu of Braised jumbo squid; potato gnocchi in a gorgonzola sauce with crispy guanciale; pork loin chops larded with roasted garlic and glazed with balsamic and truffled honey and a Milanese style duck breast with Pancetta and montasio. Entrees run from $15-$22. While the new restaurant skews more casual, the team is looking to use that as an opportunity to create a balance by moving the cooking at Siroc to a more refined level.

The beverage program will include an extensive wine list, and if the care taken at Siroc is any indication, diners can expect the restaurant to go to lengths to both maintain its cellar and help guests make selections from it. In addition to wine, bar manager and New Orleans transplant Jaqueline Battistini will oversee a selection of classic and signature cocktails which will make liberal use of house made ingredients. There will be daily happy hour specials, including some late night happy hours, and a separate menu for the bar.

Vento will be open for dinner Sunday-Wednesday from 5-10:30 p.m. and Thursday-Saturday from 5-11:30 p.m. Monday-Friday happy hour will begin at 4:30 p.m. Brunch will debut in the coming months, and Lackovic hopes to be serving lunch by spring.

By Justin Rude  | November 12, 2010; 3:49 PM ET
Categories:  Restaurants  | Tags:  restaurant openings  
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