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Found 28 results

  1. The coffee portion of Little Pearl is opening today, Dec. 16 (via Washington Post) and the wine bar portion is opening on Dec. 30 according to their website.
  2. Went last night to ChiKo in Barracks. I had been interested in going, but just don't get to that area as much these days. It's "Chipotle-esque" inside, industrial look, done quite well. There isn't a whole lot of seating, you get in line, take a number and then hope a table opens up. There were 3 of us, so we went to town ordering. It's small plates-ish, but some of the items could definitely make a good size for lunch. It's not Chipotle as in customizable - you order items that are being continuously made fresh in the open kitchen. - Double fried chicken wings - spicy soy glazed - expertly fried, just a bit sweet for me, compared to BC, but these come right of the fryer and perfect crunch - Pork and kim chi poststicker - really tasty, with a nice dipping sauce - Kimchi stew - with pork belly, subtle, not very hard core on the kim chi, but well done - Smashed salmon - with squash and korean red chili paste ... very good - Wagshal's chopp'd brisket - this came most highly recommended by the staff member, but it was not the most loved - I didn't try it, since I don't eat the beef, there's a soft egg and you mix it in. - Cumin lamb stir fry - with wheat noodles... this was one of my favorite dishes I've had in DC in a long time, really well prepped, noodles had good chew (not sure if made in house), spicy but not terribly so, braised tender lamb, pretty much everyone's favorite - Chiko "shrimp and grits" - another WOW dish! Congee and garlic-sauced shrimp, so tasty. I think maybe I liked this better than the lamb. - Wok blistered Chinese broccoli - greens, a palate cleanser, done differently than at Chinese restaurants - it has thicker stems $125 for 3 of us, including one adult beverage each. Not really "fast-casual" - it takes a bit of time to get your food, as it is made to order, and it's not exactly cheap to get full for dinner (what we had was a good amount, we finished almost all of it and were comfortably full). But, high quality. I really like it - I would go back for that lamb stir fry. The ingredients are all really good compared to most Asian places, I think that's why everything just tasted "brighter". And, as someone else on Yelp said, it's not really Chinese - Korean fusion - it's Chinese and Korean dishes, all on the same menu. It's pronounced - "Chi" with a long I sound .. duh - "Chinese Korean". Got corrected when we said chee-ko.
  3. Cafe Kimchi has closed. The space is now open under (I believe) different ownership with a new name and prettier look. The new restaurant is Torai, which serves Korean and Japanese food. Yelp link (obligatory "Sorry, Don.") Someone I know who lives nearby told me about the change and said that the food is quite good and a step up from Cafe Kimchi. I have not been in to eat here yet and, for that matter, only got food at Cafe Kimchi once. I forget what it was but it wasn't something that traveled too well. Given the small space, takeout probably remains the best option here, though there is some seating. The space is at 751 8th Street, SE, next to District Doughnuts.
  4. The new name of the new fine dining restaurant from Aaron Silverman will be Pineapple and Pearls: "Rose's Luxury's Sister Restaurant Has a Name: 'Pineapple and Pearls'" by Jessica Sidman on washingtoncitypaper.com Café/coffee/sandwich shop in the mornings and fine dining (with reservations accepted!) in the evenings. They're only going to be open 4 nights a week and no weekends. A very bare bones website is up too: PineappleAndPearls.com
  5. Garrison has been open for just over a week now. It's a handsome restaurant with a pleasant patio space in front. The menu is vegetable-centric and apparently emphasizes seasonal produce. Mr. P and I nibbled our way through a number of vegetable side dishes/appetizers and a pasta course. Poppy seed gougères were excellent: very small and took awhile to come out, suggesting they were made to order. Gougères are as much about texture as flavor, and these were spot-on. Heirloom tomato salad was nicely composed, with a piece of burrata and mint rather than basil (a nice change of pace), and slivers of almond. Fennel gratin was straightforward but intense, the flavor punched up with a splash of Pernod. Squash blossoms with smoked provolone and Romesco sauce were outstanding, perfectly fried and not too much cheese, so the flavor of the blossoms wasn't overwhelmed. Mr. P also had the roasted cauliflower; he liked it but said it was his least-favorite dish. As I don't care for cauliflower I can't usefully describe the dish. Sweet corn tortellini was a nice summery pasta dish, buttery but not overwhelmingly so. The pasta was a tad overcooked but I'm so accustomed to that now it doesn't bother me. We also ordered two of the three desserts, a chocolate terrine and buttermilk panna cotta, which were pleasant but unremarkable. A nice way to end a meal, not too sweet, not too large, and blessedly not precious, either. Coffee was adequate. Would have liked to have half-and-half or cream with it rather than cold milk, but nope, not an option. Service was genuinely friendly and polite but somewhat lacking in a few ways that aren't worth going into, because for a place open just over a week it was impressively good.
  6. Souk Bakery and Market was scheduled to soft open in the Hello Cupcake Barracks Row space today (via PoPville).
  7. Rose's Luxury is accepting reservations. For a larger party. Well, actually, you're going to need to get a small group of people together since it is designed for 8-10 people. This is for their "private luxury roof garden" tables @ $125 for "all you can eat" per person and as much time as you want to spend. Plus, "booze", tax and tip. And they "have an awning." This is a private dining "rooftop" which is designed for eight to ten people. (You can reserve for two but you'll pay for eight.) They accept reservations on Monday mornings @ 11:00AM through their website (no phone calls). They are also already booked through May.
  8. A new neighborhood kebob spot from the folks behind Nooshi and (I think) Moby Dick. Soft opening tonight for neighbors with 50% off of all checks. Lovely decor and a small but tasty menu... Reasonable prices. "Fast casual" with table service and a full bar. A good addition to the neighborhood. Look forward to the Nooshi-esque concept opening upstairs from it in coming months.
  9. Interesting piece by Tim Carman on Ambar. It reads a little like Richard Sandoval (one of the owners!) thinks Balkan food kinda sucks. Anyone eaten there yet?
  10. I could have sworn that I had posted something on this place last year after my first visit, but I can't find a topic for it, so I must have been a little more drunk that night than I thought. I recall having a decent fried baby artichoke appetizer and some woefully undercooked gnocchi with pear and gorgonzola--nothing that encouraged me to return. I had heard that they brought in a new chef this past spring, so Bob and I dropped in here for dinner on Wednesday night. Lavagna seems to be positioning itself somewhere between old-style Italian places like Trattoria Alberto and places selling more contemporary (and pricier) cuisine. The menu is brief and focuses mostly on simple preparations, house-made pastas, and fresh ingredients. It's an honorable concept, and I wish I could report that it is fulfilling that mission successfully. Unfortunately, my experiences at Lavagna suggest it falls smack-dab into the overall mediocrity that marks so many Hill restaurants. It's not a terrible place, and there is even some respectable cooking going on, but the lack of refinement and carelessness make it a frustrating experience. For instance, the two parmagiano arancini that served as my appetizer on Wednesday were perfectly cooked, well-sized, and on a mild but pleasing marinara sauce. Their problem was that the parmesan was erratically scattered through the rice, so the flavor was mostly bland except for an occasional pocket of cheese flavor--very different from, say, Taylor's arancini with their molten-cheese centers. Bob's fritto misto also seemed ungreasy and appeared cooked well, yet the taste of the calamari was muted by a taste of raw flour. Flouriness also marked the pasta in my fettuccine bolognese, though cooked more or less al dente. The sauce was okay, though no particular flavor stood out except pepper (the pork was so finely minced that one would be hard pressed to know this was a meat sauce). Bob's mussels were good-sized and tasty, with a rather peppery tomato broth, served with four thin croutons that proved inadequate to soak up the juices. The wine flights each of us had reminded me of similar service we had at Ezme a few years ago, and none of them stood out. Service was pleasant and even a bit overeager, with different servers duplicating others' efforts. If Lavagna were out-and-out bad, I think I would have felt less frustrated than with the erratic nature of our experience. (Even that earlier gnocchi entree showed they had a good idea going, but a major lapse in the kitchen spoiled it.) I like the simplicity of the menu, and there is some skill to be discerned, yet the kitchen doesn't seem to have the overall finesse and reliability to make this a place I want to return to anytime soon. Too bad.
  11. Xavier Cervera has produced another visually appealing restaurant, but this one looks somewhat different than the others. Located in the old Capitol Video Sales space at 514 8th Street, SE, it’s quite a transformation/reinvention of place. Nice bright tile complements the bright plates and glasses. It just feels light all around, even on the inside. There is also a rooftop bar and dining area and downstairs patio. The downstairs barstools are made of rattan or something similar and bolted to the floor. Unfortunately, one common element to his other projects--building out a narrow space towards the back and upwards--results in very narrow passageways to the back of the restaurant. Getting to the bathrooms requires a tight navigation around the kitchen, with people running in and out carrying food. They opened one week ago for a couple days and then closed again for a few more (according to their twitter feed, this was to get more power to the building). I’d held up on going because I didn’t want to go immediately and then they were closed. When I checked yelp, initial reports were good on the drinks, mixed on the service, and pretty bad on the food. Then I saw one very recent post from a yelper saying they had installed a new chef from Austin and the food had improved, so I decided to give it a go today for brunch. I saw the executive chef go by when I was there, and it was Gregorio Martinez from The Chesapeake Room (same ownership). I’m not sure if there is also a chef from Austin or exactly what the kitchen situation is, but the food I had today was pretty good, though with room for improvement. I also thought it was expensive for what it was. The menu on Urbandaddy (there isn’t one on the Pacifico site yet) listed nachos, which interested me, but they’re not on the brunch menu. I wanted chips, though, so I got an order of chile con queso with chips ($8) as well as huevos rancheros ($13), which is one of my standards for evaluating a Tex-Mex restaurant. The bartender was having some trouble understanding my order (I asked just for “queso” at first and he must have thought I just wanted cheese), but he asked me twice for clarification until he felt he knew what I wanted. I’d rather have that then get the wrong order. He was a bit slow but trying hard and he hasn’t worked there long, so it wasn’t a big deal. At first I thought the queso (which came with a shredded white cheese on top) wasn’t spiced at all, but it had more of a kick as I got farther in. This would be a moderate-sized appetizer for two people to share. I was hungry and ate it all. The amount of queso was perfectly matched to the amount of the chips. The huevos rancheros were not what I was expecting but good nonetheless. Menu description specified 2 fried eggs; 2 soft corn tortillas; ranchero sauce; refried beans; crema fresca; cotija cheese; red onion. It came out layered like a torte, not much bigger than the tortillas that were its base. I’d sort of compare this to Texas stacked enchiladas, but it wasn’t quite that either. In any case, it was tasty, but I’m not sure how I feel about the price tag. These two things plus a draft Pacifico ($6), set me back $36 after tax and tip, and I wasn’t completely full. I don’t like being stuffed full, so that’s not a complaint. Generally, though, I can’t finish a full meal at a restaurant, so that’s my basis for comparison. The most striking element is the rooftop bar and dining area. After I finished my meal, I went up to look around and ran into friends who were eating and drinking at the bar. This gave me the opportunity to sample even more food and a bit of the mango margarita. Sitting up there feels like being at the beach. It's configured to facilitate a nice breeze blowing through. It started to get a little too hot after a while, but it’s a great spot. That’s definitely the selling point of the restaurant. They were finishing the last of what they ordered when I arrived: guacamole in a huge molcajete ($12); pork, grilled fish, and shrimp tacos ($5 each; does not include rice and/or beans); chile con queso; salsa and chips ($3). They were drinking mango margaritas ($8) and sangria ($8). First, the worst: the salsa tasted like crushed canned tomatoes and desperately needed salt and other flavor. I didn’t try any of the tacos, but they liked the pork and fish more than the shrimp. (One of the people adores Senart’s shrimp as much as I do, so I’m not sure why these tacos didn’t please. Maybe it’s not the same sourcing.) The guacamole seemed to be mostly smashed avocado and red onion. There was probably something else in there, but I couldn’t identify it. I make better guacamole at home. Twelve bucks for this was ridiculous. For half the price, okay, but $12?! The mango margarita was strong and big for the price (gorgeous glassware!). It’s a slushy frozen type that melts into lovely liquid in the heat. The person whose I tried also likes their strawberry margaritas, but they were out of those. The price for margaritas is oddly low given that draft beers are $6 and canned are $5 (a can of Tecate accompanied my brunch encore). A bucket of 5 beers is $20, for anyone planning an outing. I didn’t try the sangria, but that’s half-price on Sundays after 5PM, as are nachos, so I may be back.
  12. Yes, it's going in the former veterinary clinic near the Belga; it will be called Senart's Oyster House, after an old ghost mural that is painted on the outside wall of the building.
  13. This morning in his chat, Tom Sietsema said that the owners behind Matchbox and Ted's Bulletin are opening DC3, a hot dog-oriented place in the old Firehouse Cafe spot. But the Barracks Row Main Street blog says that Xavier Cervera, the owner of Molly Malone's, Lola's, and the Chesapeake Room is behind it. Are all these folks working together on this place, or is one of these sources wrong? It sounds interesting, though I remember the sausage place up in Adams Morgan didn't last very long, so I wonder how this will do.
  14. Chesapeake Room, yes. From the Lola's and Molly Malone's folks ... which has mixed implications. (At this point I'm far more intrigued by Ted's Bulletin ... but I won't write off Chesapeake Room til it's had a chance.)
  15. Saw this banner walking home from Barracks Row the other day. 735 8th St SE, pretty much right across from the barracks. Can't find much other information besides their Facebook page which says they're opening this December. Anyone have any other info? (Sorry if there's already an entry on this somewhere; I searched and searched and couldn't find it.)
  16. Had a craving for nachos last evening, so I went to the Ugly Mug. It's the only nearby place I could think of that has them on the menu. Still not a place I gravitate to, but service has gotten much more attentive and friendlier over time. The nachos were okay. Craving sated and at a reasonable price. If only I hadn't got caught in the storm on the way home...
  17. Molly Malone's will be reopening in this space within the next couple of weeks. They're hoping to make it before St. Pat's Day but aren't 100% sure they'll make it by then. Definitely look for them by the weekend after the 17th. The theme is comfort food. I wish I'd taken notes from the menu recitation because all I remember is chicken pot pie, shepherd's pie, rosemary mashed potatoes, and country ham sandwich. The listing of menu items I heard was much longer and sounded fabulous. Lola's is packed to capacity much of the time. They're apparently turning hundreds of people away every weekend, so having this two story place next door should work well. People who have seen the inside (just a 3 month renovation) say it's gorgeous.
  18. The new name now appears on the outside (Lola's Barracks Bar and Grill--named for the new owner's late mother) but it does not appear to be open for business yet. At least there was no sign of activity when I peered through the windows yesterday in the early afternoon. It looks gorgeous on the inside. Lots of dark wood. There are cool little lamps all the way down the bar. The lamps were on, but that was the only sign of life (at that time of day anyway).
  19. Couldn't find a thread for Cafe 8 so...here goes. Cafe 8 occupies the old Ellington's on Eighth and they have done a great job of redoing the space, creating 3 seperate but interlocking dining areas...a place that you hope will survive, because it's friendly, reasonably priced and, well, as we all know, Capitol Hill can always use better dining options. Unfortunately, my small sampling last night was mediocre at best. First the highlight: The red lentil soup was darn tasty on a chilly and rainy night, hearty with a little kick of pepper. Served luke warm, but still good to the last spoon. Middlelights: We went with a sampler of 3 mezze, hummus (dull, needed more life, lemon, garlic, tahini something!), spinach and feta puree thing (again, dull, lacked salt), baba ganoush was the best of the three with a nice smoky flavor. Lowlights: The bread/pita...they serve fluffy style pita and our first batch was either stale or it was reheated in the microwave because after a couple minutes it had that hard around the edges quality you get when you reheat bread products in the microwave. Our second batch was hot and soft. I'm not going to give up on the place and would like to sample more of the menu...with some tweaking of the seasoning all three meze would have received a rave review...but the seasoning sucked.
  20. Yes the general consensus here is that Banana Cafe on Captiol Hill is crap...so why start a thread you ask, because there is new found proof that even crappy restaurants can produce a good dish and I have found that dish at Banana Cafe: The plantain quesadilla! The tortilla was perfectly golden brown and crisp, the plantains meltingly soft and delicious...a light smear of sour cream set it all off. Conversely the stuffed yuca with chorizo, carrots and olives off the "tapas" menu was a disgusting mess.
  21. Just tried the Levi's Port Cafe on Barracks Row (south side of the bridge) and I love it. My East Carolina (Tarlboro) friend gave thumbs up to the chopped East Carolina BBQ (vinegar base) and the fried chicken was delicious. Yams are on the sweet side, but very good, collards were fine, mac and cheese was above average, and sweet tea, cornbread, and various ribs are all options. I've heard the ribs are great, but a big group cleaned them out before we made it in. Pricing is VERY reasonable - $8 for two large pieces of fried chicken (of your choosing) with two sides of your choosing. You can leave this place stuffed for $10 before tip. They are only open until 8 pm and don't seem to have a liquor license. The chef/owner/manager? is a super nice guy named Johnny who's from small town Eastern Carolina himself. I've been inside studying a lot lately, so I'm probably overly excited to get out, but it didn't feel like I was in DC while I was here - and I mean that in a very good way. It felt more like small town NC to me. Very relaxed environment, good mix of people from the greater neighborhood area, and fantastic pricing. This is now one of my favorite small businesses around. I'll be back soon to try the ribs. And Johnny said Friday nights they are going to start doing seafood platters with crabcakes, fish fries, etc. ETA - others recommend the pork chops, and apparently the mac & cheese and peach cobbler are quite good.
  22. We tried the EAT bar last night. It's new and it was pretty busy. Started with a couple of snacks - 2 of the excellent salt cod fritters and an order of roasted olives(not sure I get the idea of roasting olives). We both had the chestnut soup with duck confit. This was absolutely wonderful and suprisingly quite spicy. I then had a strip steak (comes on its own - I'd probably order some frites next time). She had the garlic sausage with red cabbage. Both were very good. We had a couple of Victory Hop Wallops on tap, and a couple of glasses of something red. I would hope that they can extend their beer offerings in the future - I think there were 6 decent drafts. We'll definitely be back and maybe eat at a booth next time. Eating at the bar got a bit crowded out.
  23. Since we are bashing on crappy Hill restaurants, has anyone been to Fusion Grill, I believe that is what it is called on 8th Street, SE Use to be a crappy Chinese restaurant, they remodeled, went all modern looking. The name alone should be warning enough...but I'm craving Chinese but can only eat on the Hill tonight. So no Virginia burbs or Rockville Pike snobbery please
  24. Rock-n-Roll Sushi is at least better than the flyer Nooshi mailed out last year advertising "Funky Sushi" at happy hour. Funky sushi. EWWWWWWWW.