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Elias Hengst

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About Elias Hengst

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  • Birthday 11/12/1972

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    Washington DC

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  1. Christopher, Thanks for your interest (I believe you meant to refer to Sonoma, not Mendocino as written above). The news about our new Chef De Cuisine, Nicholas Sharpe, has been out there for about 4 months now, see Tom Seitsema's chat reference to it here back in April. The early reception to Nick's cuisine has been very positive - his most recent stints were in NYC and DC with Fabbio Trabbochi as well as at Mio - and this background is evident in his approach to our italian-inspired, seasonal mid atlantic menu. Thanks!
  2. Just a quick note to share our Inauguration Week schedule and our all-week brunch menu. Fortunately, Sonoma is on Pennsylvania Avenue just outside Capitol Hill's security perimeter; if you can't make it through the gates, we'll of course be showing the entire event live on multiple flat screens. Look forward to seeing you.... Sonoma Restaurant & Wine Bar Inauguration Weekend/Week Schedule Saturday, January 17 Brunch 11am-230pm Dinner 530pm-close Sunday, January 18 Brunch 11am-230pm Dinner 530pm-close Monday, January 19 Brunch 930am-430pm Dinner 5pm - close *Tuesday, January 20 Brunch 800am-430pm Dinner 530pm-close Wednesday-Sunday, January 21-25 Brunch 11am-230pm Dinner 530pm-close Click here for a map of closures and ped/bicycle friendly areas. sonoma_inaug_week_brunch.pdf
  3. I heard it's becoming a burger joint-taqueria-yogurt shop. So many trends to keep up with these days! Of course, reality isn't as exciting as rumor. Jared and I remain sole owners of Mendocino, Troy Bock, our longtime wine buyer, is overseeing the intimate restaurant while we open Redwood.
  4. Redwood is scheduled to officially open on/around the 21st of July. More details will follow soon. Thank you.
  5. Cork is the kind of independent restaurant that makes a city unique, and, to me, is a refreshing reminder that good local restaurants have something that the out-of-town-celeb-chef-driven "concepts" so clearly lack: soul. I've had nothing but great experiences at Cork and some of the small bumps people describe are typical for ANY new restaurant. Having only been open a month or so, I think they are ahead of the curve. The restaurant is simple, warm, and elegant without being pretentious, and DC could use a dozen (or more!) neighborhood places like it.
  6. Thanks for those very kind words - they mean a lot to all of us here at Mendocino! Due to overwhelming Restaurant Week demand, we have opened up a handful of early reservations for the remainder of this week. The seating is from approximately 5:15-7:00PM, and space is quite limited. Thanks for your interest and support! 202.333.2912 / online reservations
  7. I agree with JLK - there's alot to like about one of Georgetown's few 'neighborhood' places, and the owners are, frankly, some of the most sincerely hospitable and caring restaurant owners (they're brothers, actually...) in Washington.
  8. Thanks for all the visits and great feedback on our imported purebred kuroge wagyu beef; if anyone wants to see the cow's "nose print" and accompanying certification documents, I'll be posting them on our website in the next few days. As was noted on another post, there seems to be alot of "kobe" beef around town these days, but if its not from Japan, and not from Kobe, it's not really Kobe - just like if it's not from Champagne, it's not really Champagne. Regarding our wine selection in the 2nd floor Avenue Lounge, it's pretty simple: we limit the offerings because we do not yet have a Winekeeper upstairs to guarantee the proper conditions for storing and preserving more than a handful of wines. Downstairs, we can comfortably serve up to 40 out of our Winekeeper system; in the Lounge, we prefer not to risk a bad pour. If there's something downstairs you're dying to try, however, let us know - we'll always make the trip down to get it for you. Thanks for asking.
  9. For anyone interested. Please note that the first seating, from 4-6pm, will be vets and their families only. Thanks! Eli ### Sonoma Restaurant Hosting “Sunday Night Dinners” For Veterans and Families at Walter Reed Medical Center and Introducing Fundraising Efforts Sonoma Restaurant, in coordination with the Armed Forces Foundation, will begin hosting a series of “Sunday Night Dinners” for returning veterans undergoing treatment at Walter Reed Medical Hospital. Foundation and Walter Reed staff and family members of the veterans will also be included at the gatherings. The kickoff “Sunday Night Dinner” will take place at Sonoma on October 28th, 2007, from 4 PM to 6 PM with additional Sunday suppers to follow in 2007 and 2008. Sonoma owners Eli Hengst and Jared Rager are underwriting the entire cost of the dinner while the Armed Forces Foundation will handle the transportation to and from the restaurant and coordination with Walter Reed Medical Center. The inspiration for “Sunday Night Dinners” was an eye-opening special report by former ABC News anchor Bob Woodruff, on the injuries Iraq War veterans sustain and the devastation those injuries, as well as post-trauma care have on their families. Hengst was deeply moved by the situation. “It’s tough for vets and families at Walter Reed and other hospitals to get out because of logistics, finances, and injury-related issues. Seeing Bob Woodruff’s very personal report of returning soldier’s experiences inspired this extremely modest way to thank our veterans, but the thought was really rooted in simple idea of getting them out for an evening of good food with their families and friends. Our goal is to make this a monthly dinner for as long as possible,” says Eli Hengst. For those wishing to make their own contribution, Sonoma Restaurant & Wine Bar will be offering a "featured wine" starting on October 28, with 50% of all the featured bottle’s sales benefiting the Armed Forces Foundation and other similar organizations. “Sometimes it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the larger issues, and we wanted to provide a modest way for our guests to support our veterans, while helping to keep the issue at the forefront of people’s minds," Eli notes. The Armed Forces Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C. committed to serving members of the Armed Services and assisting them in their time of greatest need. For additional information about the Armed Forces Foundation please visit armedforcesfoundation.org.. Sonoma Restaurant & Wine Bar at 223 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE. For additional information please call (202) 544-8088 or visit sonomadc.com ###
  10. We'll have an update on the property soon, but to make very long story short, but the last of the building's prior tenants (not visible from the street, actually) has been delayed in vacating the space.
  11. Most people either love - or hate - the truffled peaches. They're not for everyone, but they have a dedicated following.What would be the point if everyone like them? I don't see a whole lot of consensus on any interesting ingredient or food. But make up your own mind: Print out this post, bring in into Sonoma today or this weekend (Sept 21/22/23), and we'll send a couple your way to try, free.
  12. It WAS a pile on. (Notice how the tone changed after an objective authority was brough in by DR). We should give new restaurants and bars the benefit of the doubt before drawing conclusions from their website v1.0. Instead of tearing him down online, go support him and while you're drinking be thankful that the DC-metro market is now large and sophisticated enough to support "yet another" wine bar. There are worse things, right? Most professional critics visit a new restaurant or bar several times, over several months, before reviewing, and I think the "virtual" reviews we saw by people who had never set foot in the restaurant or spoken to Adam isn't right. I mean, reviewing a place via it's brand-new website on the day it opens? That's tough - and unfair. I think people sometimes forget that in DC, you're often dealing with individual owners, not chains or celebrity-chefs impervious to online innuendo; restaurant owners and chefs are (shocker!) real people who put their money and lives on the line, largely out of passion, who care about what you say, and will attempt to improve if the comments are sincere and helpful. Adam worked at Mendocino, with its 200+ California and Northwest wines, and helped open Sonoma and implement the wine program there. In both places he developed lasting relationships with the premier wine suppliers and many of their winemakers. His bona fides aren't an issue. Beyond all that, he puts his heart into his work. We wish him the best!
  13. It always strikes me as odd that diners pay more attention to where their wine comes from, the year, the varietal, etc. than they do about the proteins and produce they ingest. Companies like SYSCO are the behind-the-scenes link between factory farm and restaurant in the industrial food production chain, and supply many more restaurants than people realize. If the Exec Chef at your restaurant of choice can't - or more likely won't - tell you where their steak or tomato came from, or, better yet, the name of the person who raised either, you might be an unknowing participant in the process. If you shop at the farmer's market, you buy organic or naturally-raised, you care about local economies, why eat SYSCO when you're out? For an insightful, well-written book covering this thread and much more, read The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan. Great writer, great work, including some interesting chapters on "beyond organic" movement in the Mid-Atlantic, something we at Sonoma and Mendocino are proud to be ambitiously pursuing.
  14. As I talk to guests and with other owners/chefs, I get the impression that many are growing a little weary of Restaurant Week. It seems like the dining pros - Rockwellians among them - are starting to avoid Restaurant Week like a New Yorker avoids Times Square on New Years Eve. Has RW run its course? Or do the discounts outweigh the anguish and chaos?
  15. I second all of Dean's comments about open table, and especially his suggestion to book through the restaurant's web site, if possible. Between Mendocino and Sonoma, our Open Table charges come to several thousand dollars a month!I'd also note that using Open Table eliminates a lot of human error on both the restaurant's and guest's part...if you make the reservation, we get the exact reservation you requested, in real time. The downside? Sometimes people take advantage of the system: a trick we see from time to time is the reservation "bait and switch" - a guest is unable (via phone or online) to get, say, a 4-top on Friday night at 7PM. So they book a 2-top on Open Table, then show up with their party of 4, insisting that they put 4 in the system, even though all those slots have been full. Sometimes it's an honest mistake, but it can put the restaurant in a tough spot on a busy night..... Aside from that, we love it - just remember to save your local restaurant .75/cover and book through their site.
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