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Found 8 results

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. worst burger I've had in a long time...Finn MacCools, almost inedible...if I hadn't been starving and rushing to get to the DC United game it would have been inedible. and speaking of inedible...their Irish nachos most simply put is a big pile of crap covered in melted crap.
  4. 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.)
  5. You just kind of got the feeling he hasn't been doing all this as a "labor of love." "Xavier Cervera Entertains Offers To Buy His Capitol Hill Restaurants" -- by Larry Janezich for capitolhillcorner.org
  6. The Wall Street Journal reports: Comment from Xavier Cervera here. (I'd actually heard quite some time ago--pre-sale--that this was going to happen, but that rumor was focused on The Chesapeake Room.)
  7. 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).
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