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  1. Strolling through town on the way to Jaleo last night I came across this place called Proof. The text on the papered-up windows stated that it is a wine-centric restaurant. Anyone have any information on this place?
  2. My sister-in-law, a denizen of Cleveland Park, asked me if I had heard anything about a new place called Ripple in the old Aroma space in Cleveland Park. She said the posted menu looks interesting. Metrocurean has the scoop. A bit surprised that this seems to have gone unnoticed on dr.com given the pedigrees of the team behind it. Anybody go on a scouting trip this past weekend? [ETA: oops--looks like the tag line got cut off in the title of the thread; should be "from our back yard." I assume Don will change the title of the thread anyway. ]
  3. Barking Mad Cafe has a solid coffee program. They use Counter Culture beans and can draw a serious espresso. Their cappuccinos and lattes are also good, although I have had a few cappuccinos that were wetter than I prefer. They have drip coffee, but no pour over. The standout, though, is their cold brew. During the summer, they had two offerings, both on nitro taps. It's so smooth it's like drinking Guinness coffee. The coffee served at Barking Mad Cafe would be noteworthy anywhere in the DC area. IMHO, it's extraordinary in Gaithersburg, which has nothing comparable within a reasonable distance.
  4. Am I right that no one has written about Maple? Named after the big slab of maple wood that makes up the bar (not pancakes!), this place is right on 11th st. We went for the first time last weekend and were very happy we did. It's a small space and you can tell that the same designers who did Cork did Maple (although I found Maple more comfy/cozy). Lots of wood, grey, etc. and the bar ends in one of those peninsulas that can be a table for four. Outside tables too. The menu is small, and so is the kitchen. That said, everything was delicious. To start we had a summer special cocktail -- gin with limonata, blackberry juice, and blackberries. Refreshing and I am now totally addicted to this drink. We had two of the crostini (I don't remember the price for two, four were $10) and they were tasty -- one with white beans and anchovies and one with prosciutto, fontina, and fig. I give the edge to the white bean one though. I had the short rib panini, which was delicious. Hearty, rich, and just fantastic. My partner had the lamb bolognese, which was also great -- just gamey enough, but not too ripe. We shared a bottle of forgettable Montepulciano, but at $20 for a bottle, it was fine. There were plenty of other choices that were a little more expensive, but we went with the waitresses wine recommendation. We thought it was interesting she suggested the cheapest bottle! Dessert was a special -- cobbler with peaches and blackberries from the farmer's market with dolcezza vanilla gelato. YUM! A few things I loved -- first of all, it is not small plates. I am so tired of small plates! Second, the prices were great. For two cocktails, a bottle of wine, the crostini, two entrees and a dessert our bill was $100 for two people including tax and tip. Finally, they seem to have cool special events. We signed up for an upcoming Italian rare beer tasting. Only quibble was that the wine recommendation was not great from the server, but otherwise she was super nice, efficient, and good.
  5. After a soft opening on Sunday afternoon for friends and neighbors The Red Hen officially opened last night. Menu is not on the website yet, but Washingtonian has a scan. We were hoping to walk down right around 5:00, but never made it out the door; it was apparently packed (as expected given the neighborhood excitement for this place). Early Comments I've read so far are very good on the food, so-so on the value (although no cocktail is over $10, so hooray?). Portions size comes up most, but there are lots of small plates. We're very much excited to try it out. Has anyone been yet?
  6. Magnolia's on King - We went just after they started taking reservations. The bar upstairs is WONDERFUL - unique cocktails (range $12-16) I had not tried before with a range that everyone enjoyed something. We though of trying the appetizers upstairs but figured (wrongly) that we could get them downstairs. Know that they do not server the drink or bar menu down in the restaurant (To risky to carry down the stairs was reason given). Bar is well lit, easy seating that can adjust to different party sizes but I can see it getting to full fairly quickly. I highly recommend 'The Cure' black bottle scotch, ardbeg 10 year, domaine de canton, lemon juice, honey. Generous sized drinks and worth the higher pricing. The restaurant has some serving issues but those were all due to being just opened (wait staff not able to answer questions and having to go check), they seemed pretty inexperienced. Wine list is good, cocktails downstairs are pretty simple, but the southerner in our group was pleased to see the multiple Fanta options. Dinner was good but not great, my options were limited because of spice levels (many options are heavy on the hot side). I had the Bison Meatloaf which was good but not great. Others had Catfish (Very happy), Fried Chicken (good but not great (If you want great see my review of Tupelo's )) and Denver Steak. (Range $18-35) portion size was good. Dessert Cobbler was good as was the Smore's bread pudding but neither worth a special trip The Southerner with us said the corn bread was to sweet but the greens were wonderful, though the cobbler should have been double crusted. The chef came out and talked to us for feedback (though later on our Southerner wanted to add some more but there is no email address on the web page) he seemed sincere but also talked down other restaurants when we gave comparisons. Overall I'll be back for the bar and might give the restaurant another try in a few months once they settle in but not sure since so many better options in that area. Well lit and Grandma friendly but not sure will make the list to take her to.
  7. We dined at All Set for the first time a few weeks ago. I must confess that I am Friends with the Owner and Chef as well as one of the bartenders. Right at 5 pm on a Saturday, we had the Chick Peas Fries and some Oysters and Clams to start. The fries were good fresh tasting and accompanied by two dipping sauces. The oysters were Wellfleets and they were expertly served. Chef sent me a few others to try but I forget their name. Clams were ultra fresh tasting as well. The point here is the presentation. It doesn't get much better IMO. Care was taken with this. Well thought out and executed. We ordered the Salmon (Norway) and Short Ribs. Both were great. The Short Ribs were classic comfort and the Salmon was perfectly cooked. I really enjoyed the lentils with the salmon ( I was not sure I would). The point so far is that you can tell that they care about what they're putting out! Dessert: I forget exactly what it was. One lighter one with Olive oil vanilla ice cream? and one chocolate peanut butter slice of decadence. I believe the recipes for dessert were crafted by the former pastry chef at Volt. Bottom Line is that we were served fresh food with care in a beautiful and inventive setting. They are a young restaurant and an independent one as well. I would definitely recommend ALL SET to anyone. Even the kids menu is well thought out. Please pardon my lack of detail. Ooh! The bar serves up some fun drinks. I had a Perfect Storm and with dessert a "Grape Drink" the latter of which was my favorite of the two for its inventiveness.
  8. I had dinner at New Heights back in April, which may not qualify as "lately," unless no one else can remember a more timely meal there! If you've not been there, ask for a table overlooking the street (and therefore the Rock Creek Parkway, too). The interior is classy, though I can't quite place what the atmosphere is meant to feel like; on one hand, it's not as formal or intentionally posh as, say, Palette or Vidalia, but it's also not meant to be urban and hip, e.g., Tabaq Bistro or Viridian. It's like a neighborhood restaurant gone upscale. Anyway, we had the black bean "pate" as an appetizer, and I found it less than thrilling. It was unpleasantly thick, and was somewhat bland. The entree, however, was possibly the best entree I had last year. It was grilled salmon wrapped in phyllo dough surrounded by roasted fingerling potatoes and roasted carrots. The latter accompaniments were perfect in terms of texture and flavor, but the salmon was out of this world. It fell apart under my knife, and the phyllo surrounding it was appropriately flaky, warm, and not too sweet. I have no idea whether that dish is on New Heights' current menu (or, even if it is, whether it would be on the RW menu), but I think the inventiveness of the dish speaks well for the restaurant's cooking on the whole.
  9. Chef Spike Gjerde has opened his long awaited farm-to-table restaurant in Clipper Mill. The wife and I went there last night and were shocked at the full dining room, given the restaurant's out-of-the-way location. No matter though, we had made reservations and were seated promptly in the loft overlooking the dining room. The renovation to the building is stunning. The exposed brick walls and recycled old-growth lumber that were used are dramatically illuminated, looking both elegant and cozy at the same time. A wood burning oven is the center piece of the open kitchen, and most of the food on the menu seems to be cooked in it. We ordered: Oysters (raw and roasted) Chicken liver parfait Hamburger Autumn vegetables Everything was very good: the food, the service, and the space. We'll be back soon. Woodberry Kitchen
  10. Zahav (reservations are imperative - it's also a two-minute walk from Amada if you want to sample both) and John's Roast Pork (open M-F 6:45 AM - 3:00 PM only).
  11. Wife and I wanted to grab a quick lunch before the Hoyas/Cuse game so we though we would stop by Wiseguys. However as we walked by we say that the Carving Room was open (apparently for about 2 weeks now). We stopped in and decided to try it for lunch. The menu is basically sandwiches with their in-house roasted meats, a couple salads and soups. The restaurant uses Lyon Bakery breads, so the breads are quite good. We ordered a salad to start and a cup of matzo ball soup. The salad was good, fresh, no real comments on it. The matzo ball soup was good - a nice broth, lots of chicken, carrots and a sizeable matazo ball (hard for those that care). The broth was very good, though some dill would step it up a bit. Overall, not as good as what DGS is making, but rather tasty. For our main, we had the "Carving Room Plate" where you get some rye bread, bacon jam, tomato jam, mustard and pickles (cucumber, onion, carrot and cualiflower) served with your choice of three meats. The corned beef was not ready so we went with the pastrami, smoked pork and roast beef. All of the meats were quite good. The pastrami was chewier than I like it and not as spicy as I like it, but they cut it rather thinly, so it makes it pretty easy to eat. The smoked pork and roast beef were quite good. Both juicy, tender and full of flavor. The prices are reasonable in my opinion. Cup of soup was $5, salad was large and $8 and the carving board was $25 (though sandwiches are like $11 and under). Overall, enjoyable lunch and a good value at half the price of other delis in town (Stakowskis excluded). I'm sure this will be packed at lunch and other times.
  12. Kingfisher has been open since the summer. I went in shortly after opening, and the guy behind the bar told me that they wanted to build a neighborhood bar on 14th Street, and that they hoped to tune the TVs behind the bar to nerdier things (like Godzilla movies) than muted sporting events. After half a year of it open, I like just about everything but their happy hour: the free popcorn is great, the beer list (cans only, no drafts, like Red Derby) is pretty well-curated, and it's a really nice place to meet people for a drink, but the happy hour offerings (particularly in the way of beer) are pretty meager. Otherwise, it's a really nice place and a very welcome low-key addition to a perhaps overly buzzy neighborhood.
  13. I wanted to start the thread here for a new spot coming to downtown Takoma Park. Seth Cook and Chris Brown, two coffee veterans who have been at Northside Social for years, are branching out on their own. They have a great location on Laurel Avenue, and construction is about to begin. TKBC (@takomabevco) will offer coffee, beer(draft) and wine as well as a great cocktail program. The menu will be designed by a chef you will all recognize. I love this team and this concept, and that is why I decided to back them financially and advise on the project. Keep your eyes out as the project progresses.
  14. Hat tip to Jake for nudging me to this "real good" spot: The Wallace. Smart crowd but decor is tasteful and comfortable. Started with a spinach salad with grilled portabellos and blue cheese which was very nice and straightforward. Grilled Japanese eggplant over lentils was next, and possibly my favorite dish of the night. Lentils were smokey and delicious! Spouse ordered the squid ink pasta with Uni bescamel and ikura. Tasty but a bit too rich for me. And yet hypocritically I loved the next course, foie gras three ways: terrine, mousse, and grilled. All fantastic, with the exception of the mousse which was spectacular. It was served over what looked like crumbled feta, but was actually dehydrated foie gras! We shared a carrot cake that delivered. Many tables ordered a mushroom tartine that looked really good. Cocktail was an apple brandy and a duck fat rinsed orange liqueur with bitters. Very nice. And the wine was all good as well. Fun place! Service got weeded here but we enjoyed ourselves and had no subsequent commitments.
  15. "I like to watch" - perhaps one of the most memorable lines ever uttered by Peter Sellers. I agree that the Columbia Room deserves some investigation. Derek's running a "Shaking vs Stirring" session on Wed 3/24. Drinks include Dry Martini, Gimlet, Ramos Gin Fizz, Sazerac and Golden Gin Fizz.. This has a great deal of appeal to me (as long as I work doesn't take me out of town). Anyone else interested?
  16. Last month we visited BlackTail, the new Cuban-themed bar in Battery Park from Sean Muldoon & Jack McGarry of Dead Rabbit Grocery & Grog. We really enjoyed ourselves, and we're always amazed at how much attention to detail Sean, Jack and their team put into creating world-class establishments. http://blacktailnyc.com
  17. Convivial uses the same method to chill their cocktail glasses. It is a current trend. Nothing out of the ordinary. What about these below, filled with ice? Anyone used them? Do they keep drinks chilled?
  18. No thread on this place yet, and it's been open since, what, April? It's a nice little place with a neighborhood (rather than destination) kind of vibe. Not too many items on the menu, but it's wide ranging: Indian, Georgian (republic, not US State), Turkey, a lot of South American dishes... Four of us spent and hour and a half grazing our way through. Nothing we had was spectacular, but everything was good: well-conceived and executed. I'm not really inspired to describe any of the dishes, but wanted to get the thread going. This is the kind of place I'd stop at once a week or so, walking home from work, if I lived and worked in the area. Compass Rose 1346 T Street NW Washington, DC 20009 202-506-4765
  19. I normally don't cut-and-paste press releases, but then one says all you need to know. That said, while this may technically be "Shaw," it seems to be the centroid of Shaw, Convention Center, Mount Vernon Square, and Logan Circle, so I'm not sure exactly where to put this in the Dining Guide. Congratulations, Ron and Sherman! --- WASHINGTON, DC - August 21, 2013: Bringing new flavor to 9th St. NW in the Shaw neighborhood of Washington, DC, Thally serves Modern American Cuisine created by Chef and Co-Owner Ron Tanaka, along with a rotating list of wines and craft beers, custom cocktails, housemade sodas, and unique spirits in a 70 seat restaurant which includes a 14 seat bar. The restaurant hopes to open on or about Tuesday, August 27th. A Dream Realized Thally is the brainchild of two good friends who have been talking about opening up their own casually elegant restaurant in Washington, DC for years. Chef & Co-Owner Ron Tanaka and General Manager & Co-Owner Sherman Outhuok finally found the perfect place, on a burgeoning block of 9th St. NW near the DC Convention Center, and Thally was born. Thally was conceived to be a comfortable and inviting neighborhood restaurant, as well as a destination worthy of Washingtonians crossing the city to discover our mouthwatering cuisine. Our name pays tribute to our Shaw neighborhood as well as our families: "Thally" refers to the Tally-Ho Stables (built in 1883) located in Naylor Court directly behind our restaurant, as well as to Thalia, Sherman's daughter. (Thally is pronounced without saying the "h", as in Tally-Ho.) The interior décor also reflects the character of Thally's surrounding neighborhood. Design details include: exposed brick, reclaimed wood, vintage barn-door hardware, blackboards, antique pipe fittings, leather seating, substantial wood and steel tables, and a 28 ft. absolute black granite bar with leather-finish. Our logo and the custom wall graphics created by local graphic designer/ artist Matthew Hlubny for Thally's dining rooms and bathrooms feature images of the antique stables, row-houses and carriage houses that are characteristic of the Blagden Alley-Naylor Court designated historic district in the Shaw neighborhood, contained between O and M Streets and 9th and 10th Streets. MENU Simple, Fresh, and Flavorful"¦ all of Thally's dinner dishes have been carefully created by Chef Ron Tanaka with those three words in mind. FIRST COURSE chilled cucumber soup "“ greek yogurt, celery, cumin, dill, mint romaine salad- capers, grapefruit, worcestershire croutons, buttermilk vinaigrette salad of grilled peach, crisp prosciutto, spiced cottage cheese, bibb lettuce, balsamic watermelon, heirloom tomato, herbed goat cheese, pickled radish bacon, lettuce, tomato, avocado, avocado vinaigrette, pain de mie toast crab roulette- peekytoe crab, cauliflower/tomato salad, dill carnitas sope- pork shoulder, red chile sauce, epazote, radish SECOND COURSE swiss chard- tarbais beans, fennel, mushrooms, shallots grilled branzino- eggplant caponata, basil, piquillo jus pan seared rockfish- corn salsa, filet beans, tomato, tarragon roast duck- artichoke, greens, black olive sauce grilled pork t-bone, mustard brined, pinto bean puree, mustard greens, ginger, grilled scallion grilled delmonico steak- baby spinach, coffee dust, bordelaise sauce BEVERAGES WINE: Thally will serve 24 wines by the glass, with a rotating list that switches out 6 wines by the glass per week! DRAFT BEER: Our bar has 10 craft beers on draft. DRAFT CIDER: We're cider fans, and will always have 2 ciders on tap and a few by the bottle. THALLYTAILS: Custom cocktails created by Co-Owner Sherman Outhuok. HOUSEMADE SODAS: In lieu of serving traditional sodas squirted from a soda gun, Thally will be making its own sodas and colas. OUR TEAM Thally is co-owned by Chef Ron Tanaka, Sherman Outhuok, and Paolo Sacco. Ron Tanaka, Chef & Co-Owner A native of San Diego, Chef Tanaka began his culinary career in the mid 90s when he came to DC and began working in the pantry of the Morrison-Clark Inn under the tutelage of Susan McCreight-Lindeborge, who was a great inspiration to him. He was then spirited away by well-known Michel Richard who hired Tanaka as a line cook when he opened Citronelle. He continued to refine his cooking talents and techniques while working for Frank Ruta at Palena and then Eric Ziebold at CityZen. When Cork opened on 14th St NW, Tanaka was hired as Executive Chef, putting the restaurant (and himself) on DC's culinary map. Excited for new adventures, Chef Tanaka left Cork to reinvigorate New Heights in Woodley Park, quickly making it a must "“go dining destination, and earning it accolades on Washingtonian's "2012 Very Best Restaurants" List. He is excited to now open his own restaurant which dedicates itself to Simple, Fresh, and Flavorful Modern American cuisine. Sherman Outhuok, General Manager & Co-Owner A longtime fixture on DC's bar scene, Sherman Outhuok was a managing partner for a number of years at Posto restaurant on 14thSt. He then went on to open Maple in Columbia Heights as the Bar Manager /AGM. He makes his own "Cello" (sweet and citrusy) liquors, inspired from his time at Posto. You'll regularly find Outhuok behind the bar mixing up new batches of Lemon, Tangerine, Orange and even Grapefruit Cello. You'll also see him front-of-house, greeting guests. Paolo Sacco, Co-Owner With more than 20 years of experience in Washington, DC, as well as substantial culinary work throughout Italy, London, and New York, Paolo Sacco is highly regarded as a dynamic leader in the restaurant and hospitality industry. He is the well-known and admired Owner of Ristorante Tosca, Co-Owner of Posto, and now a Co-Owner of Thally. Sacco's hard work, dedication, and mission to always provide the highest quality cuisine and service to his patrons have placed him among the elite of Washington's restaurateurs. Sacco's career in DC began when he became the maitre d' at the very trendy Bice Restaurant from 1993-1995, where he was responsible for the operation of the dining room, as well as creating unique menus with the chef. Since its opening in April 2001, Ristorante Tosca has firmly established itself as a mature player and premier Italian restaurant on the Washington restaurant scene. Sacco's trattoria-style restaurant, Posto, has followed that same path "“ albeit on a more casual level, as it is quickly became a cornerstone on 14th St.'s restaurant row. With Sacco's guidance, Thally is poised to lead the charge in making 9th St. NW a culinary destination. LOCATION, HOURS, AND CONTACT INFO: Thally is located in the newly thriving 9th St. Corridor in Shaw, immediately adjacent to Seasonal Pantry and A&D Neighborhood Bar, in the middle of the block between N and O Streets NW. 1316 9th St. NW, Washington, DC 20001 202-733-3849 info@ThallyDC.com www.ThallyDC.com Facebook.com/ThallyDC Twitter: @ThallyDC Open Tuesday "“Sunday: 5pm -11:30pm (bar), 5:30pm - 11pm (kitchen) Closed Mondays Private Dining Thally is able to accommodate parties of up to 25 people in a separate, semi-private dining room. In addition, Thally is also available on Mondays for full restaurant buy-out to accommodate 70 people.
  20. Being new to donrockwell.com I decided to look around and see what I could find about the places in my neighborhood. I was a little surprised that there were not any posts about Sixth Engine even though they've been open for over three years now. Perhaps that's because it wallows in mediocrity. Don't get me wrong, they've always had a consistently good brunch and well cooked burgers. The problem for me is that much of the rest of the menu has always been a little 'heavy handed' when it comes to ingredients and sauces. Thankfully, the chef who opened the place, Paul Madrid, has left and things are starting to get better. Additions like the arugula salad and roasted cauliflower with "Ling Sauce", which is very much a sweeter General Tso's sauce, have injected life back into the menu. Hopefully they will continue down this path. The bar program, on the other hand, came flying out of the gate and hasn't lost its momentum. Draft beers rotate regularly to highlight the best of the season and the bartenders take pride in not only making the drinks, but also the ingredients, creating custom shrubs and tonics to use in their creations. While I realize the latter can be found at craft cocktail bars all over the city, it's surprising to find in a place that has the vibe of a glorified TGI Fridays. The layout is more on par with the food than the bar program. Do not go there if you're looking for a quiet evening. The bar bleeds into the downstairs dining area and with TVs in both, it can quickly become a situation where you have to yell at the person across the table from you in order for them to hear you easily. The beautiful upstairs dining room has exposed brick walls and hardwood floors that echo all of the activity in the kitchen that adjoins it. Surprisingly the outdoor patio is the least noisy of the three even with the traffic on Mass Ave just a few feet away. There are a plethora of tables and the service is good. The sun us really the only enemy. During happy hour you're fine and in the shade while the sun scorches Philos' patio across the street. During brunch though you are in the sun's crosshairs and it will roast you at your table even with umbrellas in place to help prevent that. At the end of the day Sixth Engine is a nice place to get a drink and maybe have something to eat if it speaks to you. Otherwise, have a few drinks and walk around the corner to Wise Guy Pizza and score a slice of pie.
  21. This is a few weeks late, but we visited Dickson Wine Bar at 9th & U, across from Nellie's a couple weeks ago for their soft opening. The wines are all organic, from around the world. There were a couple reds that the 3 of us liked, but alas its been 10+ days since our visit & I don't recall them. The menu's a mix of charcuterie, bahn mi sandwiches, flat breads and other small dishes. (I'm linking to Metrocurean's pic of the sandwich, which she posted on Twitter.) Since the food was free during the soft opening, I'll wait to return as a paying customer to give a review. But, the lardo is worth commenting on now. It was great, and reminded me of a Parisian restaurant last year. Thin slices, served with costini, sides of pickles & nuts. The space is split into 3 levels. You enter on the 2nd floor thru a door beneath the old Dickson Building sign, which they wisely kept & took as the name. Inside, the 3 small levels are dark, with candles & a wall of backlit empty wine bottles. Downstairs still awaits its bottles, but I bet the customers can drink their way thru a wall's worth pretty quickly if the foods as good as it all sounds on the menu. From some of the seats, you can even watch Nellie's big screens across the street... so while enjoying the chill vibe of Dickson, you can sneak a peak at the Final Four next week.
  22. Earlier this year, my friends Ryan Irvine and Stephanie Jansky launched Full Measure Bitters, a Cleveland-based purveyor of small-batch cocktail bitters (and Ohio's first legal bitters company!). They recently finished production on Batch 4 and have had great local success. They just started selling their product on Amazon and I couldn't be happier for them. Until they get approved for Prime, they're offering free shipping to anywhere in the Continental US. It makes for an excellent Old Fashioned; the recipe is on the label.
  23. Virtually destined to become an instant and epic temple of cocktail love, The Passenger breaks cover with Tim Carman's CityPaper interview here.