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Found 54 results

  1. Dropped by (apparently) the first non-airport location of Vino Volo on Bethesda Row. The left side is a cafe, the right side a wine shop (honestly, I didn't walk around that side, but that's what it looked like.) We sat at the bar and just barely made it in time to order a few tasting flights ("Malbec Madness" for her, "Spanish Armada" for me.) It's a cute little space. Seems to try to be an urban farmhouse - there's some wooden crate decorations, retro filament lighting, like that. We were just nibbling, but tried a nice plate of pitted seasoned olives and the pork tacos, which needed the lime wedge that garnished it. From what I gather, their big thing is the "vino chart", which is a graphic representation of the wine's flavor profile. (For wine dummies like me, I admit to appreciating the effort.) "Complexity" is the x-axis and "Fruit" on the y-axis; the graphic is also divided into four quadrants, so from (x,y=0,0) clockwise, it's: "light", "bright", "rich", "brooding." (Better visualization below - this is the general one on their website, but each wine ends up with a dot on the graphic.) Soooo ... seems nice. Happy Hour is half-price off "bites and flights", and runs 4-6pm, which is a nice deal if you want to try some different things. I ended up also trying a flight of rosé (and discovering the Boxwood 2012 is really pretty tasty.) I guess we'd go back.
  2. Sunday my wife and I stopped by Primrose for their first night open to the public to check out what has to be by far the biggest restaurant opening in our new neighborhood by Sebastian Zutant, formerly of Proof (in the glory days), Red Hen, and All Purpose. Much like Red Hen, this was a delightfully designed little neighborhood restaurant, with a homey feel and lovely lighting and decorations (check out the bathrooms). Service was touch and go, which is to be expected on an opening night, but everyone was very pleasant and accommodating. The food was nice, if unspectacular, and the wine list an eclectic mix of French producers who I had never heard of before. The menu is very small, with 3 plates of charcuterie, 4 apps, and 5 mains (2 that can be shared). My wife had the steak, which was a nice griddled version cooked very well and accompanied by very thick fries, which were the least French thing that we had all night. I went with the Bourguignon, which was a bit overcooked and less saucy than I like, but pleasing nonetheless. Don't sleep on the Salade Verte, which is a simple heaping mound of mache and paper thin radishes with that salad dressing that you get (and love) in every restaurant in France that serves green salads but I never actually hear the name of since you don't get a choice of dressing when you dine out over there. Congrats to Sebastian and his wife on what should be a very successful effort in Brookland!
  3. I've visited Grapes Wine Bar in Annapolis at least three times in the past month as we are closing on a house nearby. We had a great dinner there Saturday night and prior times have enjoyed food and wine at the bar. This is a wine bar with a great selection of wines by the glass and bottle. Lots of chalkboard specials and special pours that night. Small but reasonable menu with good cheese slections and all good entrees. The whipped Goat Cheese with Fig jam is amazing. This is a locals spots on Forrest drive outside of downtown Annapolis. Thus the crowds aren't there and there isn't a wait to get seated. The prices are not upscale DC or Bethesda but reasonable and laid back Annapolis. I saw a bottle of Billecart Salmon Rose Champagne for $90, retail is not much less. I'll be drinking the Friday night after we close on this house.
  4. Finally, Ron Tanaka is going out on his own, and will be running the kitchen at Cork Wine Bar. Cork will be opening in mid-January, and will be focusing primarily on old-world European wines. It will have 67 seats, and the opening menu will be written by co-owner Diane Gross. But the news here is Tanaka, who is widely admired among insiders as one of the greatest kitchen talents in all of Washington, DC. He's spent the past three years at CityZen, the past two as sous chef. Before that, he spent five years at Citronelle, where he rose through the ranks to become saucier, then sous chef. Sous chef at both CityZen and Citronelle! Tanaka is downplaying all of this, emphasizing that his opening role will be one of execution. "We're doing small, Italian tapas-sort-of plates," he said. "We're going to be doing simple things, like a Caesar salad. It's going to force me to use a different type of creativity." I nudged Tanaka to start thinking about some of his own dishes to slip onto the menu down the road. 'It will be a couple of months until things get into full swing,' he said, imploring me not to make a big deal about anything. Then he added that "all I'm going to be doing is running the kitchen." Maybe so, but finally, after years laboring in the shadows of giants, you've got your own kitchen to run. Congratulations, Chef Tanaka, and we'll see you next year.
  5. I'm excited, since I'm something of an Fairfax City cheerleader. I've only been able to find a few reviews online, but they're all raves. I tried Sweet Life (the former occupant of the historic Moore House) once for dinner and it was sorta 'meh'/hit-or-miss, so I'm not surprised they didn't make it. Choices by Shawn seems to focus a lot on gluten-free baked goods, and they even have a few vegan offerings. The web site is here. Has anyone tried this place? Any thoughts?
  6. One that comes to mind for me is Grapeseed in Bethesda. Had a great meal there last month. I find this to be one of the highlights of the Bethesda restaurant scene. There are so many restaurants downtown, but hardly any GOOD ones. Anyone have any thoughts on this place?
  7. My husband and I wanted to grab an early dinner around 6:15 pm Saturday to make up for the anniversary dinner we had to cancel earlier in the week (it's a long story that involves a concussion - and said concussion is making husband very sleepy, hence the early dinner). We figured it should be no issue showing up at Himitsu at 6:15 to grab two seats either at the bar or a table. I figured that most people wouldn't be eating or even out yet on a Saturday at 6. Wow. I was wrong. The wait was over 2 hours long when we arrived so we decided to head elsewhere and got in the car to try our luck at Izakaya Seki. However, as soon as I turned down 8th st from Upshur we saw a new restaurant, that had a few tables, and figured, why not? The internet suggested that it was a new Asian street food restaurant (an old Prince of Petworth article), but when we looked at the menu in the window it was clear it was a Pan-Latin place. Since my husband and I both work in Latin America and travel there often we figured, again, why not? I asked the very nice hostess how long they had been open -- she said three weeks. We were seated immediately - the room is cool - lots of Edison bulbs, wood, exposed brick, plants hanging on the wall, central large bar. We both really liked the space. Service, throughout the night, was fine. A little distracted (menus sat on the table most of the meal until I asked for them to be taken away, long waits for water) and just a little inexperienced. But, hey, it was week 3, and the server was perfectly nice and did his job. Polish will come. The menu is broken down into four categories and includes a variety of drinks and dishes from Peru, Chile, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay. One category is appetizers, which had empanadas, fish tacos, quiejo coehlo (A delicous slab of cheese with oregano that you eat on the beach in Brazil) and some other items. There was also a ceviche section with 4 or 5 choices, a section of sandwiches (a chicken milanesa, a choripan - which is a grilled sausage sandwich, and a Cubano), and a main course section with chiles rellenos, a carne asada hanger steak with yucca fries and chimichurri, a fish special of the day (a seafood stew on Saturday), an Aji Huancaina (Peruvian yellow chile sauced chicken) and a couple other dishes. We had the queijo and fish tacos as appetizers and both were very good - as good as or better than the versions we usually eat in Latin America. I had the carne asada for my main and it was fine. I liked it, but could make it at home with the pre-marinated carne asada from Trader Joe's. My husband had the seafood stew which had octopus, clams, fish, and mussels in a really nice broth. It was great. We didn't do dessert. The wine list is heavy on Chilean and Argentine Malbecs and Pinot Noirs, but I had a very nice glass of a Bolivian!! Tannat that is a rarity. I would have liked to have seen more Uruguayan wines on the menu, as I think they are great and under-represented. The cocktail list is also nice - my mole Old Fashioned was really great on a cold night. I think this is a nice new addition to the scene!
  8. What if I told you there was a wine business that started about 45 years ago, with a wine enthusiast who has developed relationships with all the really good wineries throughout Napa and Sonoma, who has access to some of hardest-to-find or small production (like 150 cases, and he bought them all) wines, with a wine shop and wine bar that you plan to visit for 2 hours and end up staying for 6 hours...? Greg O'Flynn is now on my list of great wine merchants, and California Wine Merchant is now on my must-visit list of places to drink wine in San Francisco. Greg is an affable guy whose passion is all about wine, and the wine he pours shows it. Full disclosure -- I am now in his wine club, where I will be receiving six special bottles every other month. I tasted some remarkable wines, but what struck me almost as much was how fastidious Greg and his employees were in keeping the Riedel glasses pristine, or topping off the open bottles with Argon at the end of every night, and the rarity rack where most of us back east don't sip some of these wines. Among others, I enjoyed healthy pours of Robert Biale "Like Father, Like Son," Kistler, Branham Estate zin, L'Angevin (which is a $42 chardonnay, but made by the same winemaker who made the $150 Peter Michael chardonnay.) Greg is a wonderful fellow and his place is a museum of California (and other areas of the world) wines. In fact, last Thursday night, we also enjoyed a tasting of Italian wines from the Fruili region, and I tasted some first-ever wines for me, like Tokai -- which has to be spelled that way to avoid EU regulations associated with Hungarian Tokay or Tokaji -- and Refosco. I will return to this establishment every time I set foot in San Francisco.
  9. Wondering if anybody here had any thoughts about this place. I've walked by it many, many, many times in Silver Spring, but never been bothered to go for no reason in particular.
  10. Looks to be in the early stages, but Sebastian Zutant is stepping back from The Red Hen and All Purpose (but will remain a partner) to focus on opening a wine bar with his wife, Lauren Winter, and expand his wine making business. He is hoping to release his first production in 2017 (250 cases made in 2015 and 350 cases made in 2016). City Paper with the story
  11. I just wanted to write that: Simon Ndjki-nya. The upstairs wine bar at Bistrot Lepic would be one of my quirky choices for the question we all get: "I'm coming in from out-of-town this weekend. Where would be a really cool, undiscovered place for us to go? We want something quiet but not boring, with good food, good atmosphere and decent wines by the glass." The wine bar at Bistrot Lepic is also a perfect first-date venue - lots of small plates, comfortable, intimate ambiance, friendly bartender, food coming up from the main dining room's kitchen downstairs, good for private conversation. My one qualm is that the wines by-the-bottle are a bit overpriced (only a couple of bottles are under $30), but this is mitigated somewhat either by sticking with humbler bottlings, or ordering by-the-glass, and the food prices are quite reasonable, with interesting small plates around $7, most fish entrees in the upper teens, and meat entrees hovering around $20. You can do well here if you nibble and pick. Cheers, Rocks.
  12. 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.
  13. Sadly, The Corkscrew closed on Jun 28, 2016 as a result of being unable to renew their lease.
  14. Never even heard of this place until Sunday night, when I was taken there. It's a combination wine store/bar/restaurant in Columbia off Rt. 108 in a pleasant location across from a huge field. They have a menu of small plates items (with a few almost entree size things too), most of which we tried were very good. However, the main draw is, of course, the wine. Glass prices were about on par for this area, but the real deal is the bottles. Any bottle from the wall shelves around the restaurant (this is basically the entire wine list) are only $5 corkage. Prices and selection are pretty nice. After sampling a couple of glasses, we had a Torbreck 'Woodcutter's' Shiraz ($22 + $5= $27) at our server's suggestion that I thought was quite good. A couple of highlights from the small plates we tried were a pancetta and asparagus tart and a marlin steak with a chipotle-corn-cream sauce. Definitely something to consider if you're out that way for Merriweather-- or even worth a trip if you aren't.
  15. Funny, I had an Americano (a large comes with four shots - they use a California roaster with a multi-syllabic name beginning with "D") in Del Ray just two days ago, at the pleasant Emma's Espresso and Wine Bar. I didn't try any of the baked goods, but the Americano was very well made, served in a ginormous (that didn't activate the spell-check alert?) mug, and was quite a good cup of coffee. The first few moments of service were addled, but instantly rectified themselves, and the staff there was as pleasant as can be. They have free WiFi, and Emma's is well-worth a visit if you enjoy independent coffee houses. They own the entire house, right off Mount Vernon Avenue, so there's ample parking.
  16. Northern Virginia magazine reported that Cassatt's owner Art Hauptman opened the market portion of Bistro 360 on Oct. 17 in Cafe Assorti's former location. Although Northern Virginia magazine states that "Hauptman hopes to have the restaurant and wine bar of Bistro 360 open late next week," the Bistro 360 website says that the Bistro360 Eatery will open on Nov. 3 and the wine bar and market are now open.
  17. I've seen Geppetto in the good old days, back when there was a branch going strong in Georgetown. However, it's been almost five years since my last meal there, a pleasant lunch in what is now Oakville Grille and Wine Bar, a restaurant with the same ownership (Karol, has it really been that long?) Now relegated to an alleyway entrance to what used to be a back room, Geppetto no longer feels the same. When I walked by a table, I saw a pretty decent-looking roast chicken, which is a good sign for Oakville Grille, but I was there for the money item - the Sicilian Deep-Dish pie that Geppetto has been famous for since 1977. I've had it numerous times in the past, and have always enjoyed it, even as recently as five years ago I remember walking out thinking how impressed I was with it; no longer. Oh, the old, bent deep-dish pans are still there, and the pizza is as thick as it has ever been (they claim one-inch, but it seems even thicker than that). A large Meat Lover's ($25) was one of the heaviest pizzas I have ever seen, a 15-inch monster cut into six slices, each weighing perhaps two pounds. The base of this pizza is cheap, bready crust that reminds me of bad frozen industrial-white bread, the bottom of which was somewhat golden, but not enough to make it exciting. The toppings were simply excessive, a sweet tomato sauce countering all the meats, including pepperoni, sausage, bacon, proscuitto ham, and ground beef. The ground beef smelled like well-done ground beef, which isn't a surprise, but how often do you actually get that scent in a pizza? The pepperoni was bulk-quality, curled-up slices, and was so dominant that when the pizza arrived, it looked like a Matthew's tomato pie - I honestly thought at first glance that these were plum tomatoes. We each counted around 50 slices on half the pie, which meant there were fully 100 slices of pepperoni on six slices of pizza. It was a nitrate festival gone wrong. I washed it down with the only beer on the list that interested me, a bottle of Mendocino Red Tail Ale ($6), perhaps a nod to the days when this restaurant group owned Mendocino Grille, although I don't know if Charles Lenkin is involved any more or not. I got into a lengthy discussion with my young dining companion about the pie, originally stating that it had no redeeming qualities other than it was cheap, and that it was bulky. He disagreed, correctly pointing out that it could have been a lot greasier, and that Pizza Hut is much, much worse than this. I can't vouch for Pizza Hut, but I do give Geppetto credit for draining the grease off their ground beef before piling it on; the overall impression was: sodium-ridden, yes, but grease-ridden, not as much as it could have been. Regardless, this was not the Geppetto of old. However, if you want a lot of pizza, for not a lot of money (I only wanted to eat 1 1/4 slices, although I could have eaten 2), then this pie might meat (sorry) your kneads (sorry). I won't be rushing back, and I even have a twinge of sadness as I write this, because I used to love Geppetto. Cheers, Rocks.
  18. Northern Virginia Magazine reports on Liberty Tavern's plan for the old Murky Coffee space: Chef Liam LaCivita will oversee the kitchen. The article also has info on their new restaurant, Lyon Hall.
  19. Sonoma Cellar (website) has recently opened up in Old Town Alexandria at 207 King Street The downstairs is a wine tasting bar and the upstairs is a restaurant (the kitchen is part way upstairs and you pass on your way up) They had just been opened a week when we went there and I'll take that into consideration. The owners and chef are very enthusiastic about the new place and that energy shows. The wine menu is divided up into standard and select, you can order 5 one oz pour flights or a two ounce tasting pour or a glass of any of the wines. We each had a flight and you can pick which of the wines you want in your flight. All was average, and hopefully they will improve to good in the future. Wines were pretty middle of the road, food needs to even out, staffing is still learning. Tables are very close together and the accoustics make it so you can hear every table (we actually joined in conversations with everyone else there) We started with the Brie and Fig Jam Crostini which was yummy, I had the Beef Estouffade which parts of the beef were dry and parts were good, the noodles also had parts that were under and over cooked, sweetie had the Petaluma Chicken au Jus which was okay but nothing special. Next table had pork chop that was to dry but enjoyed their Bodega bay Shrimp (and were amazed with their spaghetti-cut zucchini and I told them they can often buy them pre-cut at Whole Foods). The dessert wines and the Lavender Crème Brí»lée were the high spot - very smooth with a lavender taste that was not overpowering. OverAll we left feeling 'meh' as there is so much better in the area, but maybe a good lunch spot to take a break when we have someone there as a tourist or someone really wants to do some wine tasting of california wines. Grandma review: Nope - restaurant is upstairs and stairs up to restaurant so not an option for her, the wine tasting is all at tall stools/tables/bar so not an option either.
  20. I am on a mission to taste my way through southern Fairfax County and I've contributed some Springfield reviews over the past year. I have eaten a few times at Pane e Vino in what appears to be the Lorton Town Center, if that's what it's called, but it sure looks like it's trying to be one of those now ubiquitous Town Centers popping up everywhere. DR will have to expand the restaurant guide to include a Lorton listing now. Pane e Vino is family owned, and therefore checks the box of not being a chain, so that's the first positive sign. It has its own pizza oven, so that's the second positive sign. It has become so successful that it bought the Americanized Chinese place next door and expanded into it, so that's the third positive sign. And I haven't even gotten into the food yet. As for the food, well, there are many family owned Italian places from Burke to Lorton, all of them pretty good, from Rafagino's in Burke to Vinny's in Lorton, with Victor's next to the Springfield Whole Foods and San Vito down on Rolling and Braddock. All very good and all very reasonably priced, and none of them near the quality of Pane e Vino. This place is now my go-to Italian restaurant south of Fairfax. Dinner starts with an almost-amouse of a three tastes to go with the fresh bread basket. In one ceramic rectangle was three mini-bowls of olives, olive oil with parmesan, and marinara that tasted fresh made. With the warm breads, this was a hearty start. We accompanied this with a bottle of chardonnay off the daily special list, and since they didn't have the one we ordered, they gave us a more expensive one for the $22 special price. Tonight we ate off the specials, more or less. Girlfriend had the blackened rockfish, covered with marinara, spinach and olives, which to this day is the best rockfish dish I have ever eaten in my life. Absolutely cooked to perfection. I had the chicken frescia, which is a boneless breast of chicken pounded thin and covered with tomato sauce, spinach and mozzarella, served with a side of pasta and red sauce. To die for, and cooked to a juicy and tender doneness that is difficult to achieve for white meat of chicken. This place also has a pizza menu that looks tempting, and with the aforementioned pizza oven, it is one of the specialties of the house. I am torn here, because pizza would make a nice noon meal when split with a friend, and across the street is the Fireside grill, which has some tempting grilled sandwiches and is the subject of another review. And when I think of pizza in the southern part of the county, I am drawn to Delia's....oh well, maybe pizza is another topic for another time. We couldn't have left more satisfied, and a dinner for two (without dessert) with a bottle of wine and tax and tip came to just over $60. I will continue to treat this place as my go-to Italian restaurant this side of Dolce Vita, Da Domenico, Mama's or Bonaroti.
  21. Forgive me Don if this is the wrong place to post this, but I needed to talk about our meal at Vin 909 in Annapolis. We thought we were lost when we got there because it's located in a residential neighborhood in what looks like somebody's house. When we saw all the people waiting on the lawn, we knew we were in the right place. It was just 6pm on Saturday night, but we waited about 45 minutes for a table. There's a pretty lawn with benches to wait for a table, so we ordered a bottle of wine and sat for a while. There are two small dining rooms inside and and a small patio out back. Also, there were two tables on the front porch that didn't look very comfortable. Oh yeah, the food. For starters I had the "Chesapeake farm raised clams" with wild mushrooms, grilled corn, scallions, garlic, smoked bacon, white wine, and cream. I think this was the best dish I ever had in my life. The clams were perfectly cooked, the bacon was thick and meaty, and the sauce was perfectly decadent. My SO, not as pro-cholesterol as I am, had the greens with blue cheese. SO loved it. Then we moved on to the pizza. Pizzas are sort of oval, pretty thin, but not soupy at all. Kind of Roman if you know what I mean. I had the Spotted Pig with spicy soppressata, wild boar meatballs, tomato sauce, mozzarella, basil, and provolone. SO had the Trip, wild mushrooms,taleggio and fontina cheeses. Pizzas were AMAZING. Perfectly balanced amounts of sauce, cheese and toppings. Service was friendly and efficient. Char was just right. When informed of a food allergy, the server checked with the chef for each dish we ordered. Sorry, no dessert report, too full.
  22. We had a nice, late supper at A.O.C. back in May. Lots of nice small and medium size plates of Mediterranean dishes, good cheese and charcuterie and of course, wines. Picture a not-quite-as-Italian Sonoma with lower lighting and aspiring starlets at the table next to yours.
  23. Metropolitan Coffee House and Wine Bar is great. Federal Hill, not Inner Harbor, but close by. Casual, coffee shop atmosphere, but nice friendly spot with good breakfast foods. 902 South Charles at Henrietta.
  24. Who we are: La Jambe is a new French Wine bar in the Shaw neighborhood of DC scheduled to open in Spring 2016. We strive to expose patrons to the French palate through carefully selected menu of wine, charcuterie and cheese. La Jambe is a neighborhood bar where you will experience the best of the old world in our little corner of the new world. What we are looking for: Seasoned bar professional with extensive knowledge of wine. Strong leadership and management skills required. Candidate must be proactive and be able to motivate a team. Eager to learn and grow professionally. The Job: A little bit of everything...seriously. Manager will work very closely with owners to shape and manage the La Jambe team (hiring, training, discipline and ongoing staff development) as well as manage bar operations and ensure that patrons receive the highest level of service at all times. A Must: 3 plus years of bar management experience Extensive knowledge of wine Team player - no job is ever below you Bonus: French speaker Knowledge of Charcuterie & Cheese Compensation: Based on experience. We are an equal opportunity employer. Please send resume and references via email to Heather@LaJambeDC.com Principals only. Recruiters, please don't contact this job poster. do NOT contact us with unsolicited services or offers