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  1. 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.
  2. We stopped in for a quick dinner at what I suppose is a relatively new addition to the Capitol Hill sushi scene, "Sushi Capitol" on Pennsylvania Ave. SE between 3rd and 4th St. SE. This place is really bare bones - a small place with a handful of 2-top tables and a sushi bar in back. No real decor to speak of, and Japanese pop music playing on a boom box in the back. So far, so good, as it really reminded us of the places we loved back in New York. A pot of hot tea was brought out soon after we sat (a small thing, but not a guarantee since we were brought hot water and a lipton green tea bag at Hikari on H St. NE). We started with a nice version of seaweed salad inexplicably served over ribbons of romaine, and tempura vegetables. A couple of pieces of the tempura were ever so slightly greasy, but most were appropriately crunchy...no major complaints on either of these. The sushi was certainly a level above the quality at Hikari, Sticky Rice, and Nooshi. Based on this one visit, I'd put it below Sushi-Ko, but repeat visits may change that. It was served with freshly grated wasabi, which was a nice touch. A word of warning, the "spicy" rolls look to be served with a heavy dose of mayo, so if that's not your thing, steer clear. They have no liquor license, and I didn't think to ask about their BYO policy, but that is definitely something we'll be inquiring about before our next visit. Bottom line: I love hole in the wall Japanese places, and that may have inflated my opinion here, but I think of the sushi joints in the Capitol Hill hood, I'm putting Sushi Capitol on top.
  3. Thanks to Metrocurean, I saw that Art and Soul had opened yesterday, and so I bopped over for dinner last night. The common wisdom about restaurant openings is that you should "give them time to settle in." However, in my experiences, I often find that the food is as good as it will ever be the very first week a restaurant is open; it's the service that almost always needs to settle in. The two things I look for with opening service are a positive attitude, and a pleasant demeanor. Most technical issues usually get ironed out in a few weeks. Everyone at Art and Soul last night was genuinely nice, and service-wise, that's all that matters to me right now. And I'm happy to say that the food was across-the-board good, with no real misses at all. The menu features three "hoecakes," which are cornmeal pizzas, something like an oval-shaped johnny cake with an airy fluffiness in the dough. Land and Sea ($12) sounded like a big clash to me, with blue crab, braised beef, and brie. I was wrong, and the dish worked. This was primarily shredded, braised beef, with a few lumps of fin-meat, and only a gurgle of brie-based sauce, enough to moisten and accent the dish but not clash with it in any way. An appetizer of Shrimp ($14) was several medium-sized shrimp, grilled and wrapped in Smithfield ham, and came across as a bit salty only until eaten with the mild grits. Together, the two worked in balance, and a little chow chow lent a snap of acidity. A Rockfish entree ($26) was also Smithfield-wrapped, and was a relatively small portion, ever-so-slightly overcooked. But it came on top of some crab risotto which was remarkably good - firm, and smartly touched up with asparagus tips - and the tiny pool of brown butter at the bottom of the plate made an irresistible risotto-swab with some of the homemade griddle-bread brought out at the beginning of the meal. Pork Ribs ($12) are an appetizer marinated for several hours - little tiny riblets bathing in bbq sauce and served with a carrot-cabbage slaw that was crunchy and correctly not sweet (you don't want sweet slaw with this dish). It worked pretty well with a side order of Macaroni Casserole ($6) which was cavatappi-like pasta in a creamy cheese sauce, served in a cast-iron skillet. Yes, it was mac and cheese and a darned good one at that. The siren song: Sweet-Potato Bread Pudding with a whiskey-caramel sauce. This was a microcosm of the rest of the dishes - comforting, balanced, not too sweet, potentially heavy but executed with a light, elegant touch. A jovial but soft-spoken Art Smith was in for the opening and prowling the dining room, but the execution of the food last night was all Ryan Morgan. One of Smith's partners is also down from Chicago for the opening, and she said to come back in a month, or three months, "to see how we've grown." "Or how you've fallen apart," I joked. Fortunately, she laughed and joked right back. But the key to this restaurant's success will be putting out food six months, a year, two years from now that was just as good as they put out last night. If they can pull that off, they've got themselves a winner. A very quiet, soft, but successful opening last night for Art and Soul. Congratulations to Chef Morgan, and best wishes to the entire team at this promising new restaurant. Cheers, Rocks.
  4. Brohim and I went to Emilie's last night (Friday). We had a 6 p.m. reservation but arrived at 5:30 p.m. They promptly seated us at the counter and gave us the menus but it was a little while before someone came to take our drink orders. The cart menu was a little confusing and we had to have it explained twice. No bread comes with the dip, so you have to order bread (focaccia or sourdough) from the kitchen menu for $9. However, if you order a bread, it comes with your choice of one dip. Each additional dip is $3. In our case, we ordered focaccia - 4 pieces of rather chewy and dense foccia. We ordered the chicken liver pate and sichuan honey butter but due to their delay, they gave us all 6 dips (babaganoush, apple butter, seaweed butter, and mascarpone & jelly). I thought the chicken liver was fantastic. For apps, we ordered SCALLOP CRUDO - crispy okra, curry leaves, chili oil. BEEF TARTARE - cured egg yolk, crab fat mustard, pecorino. The scallops, after swishing around in the sauce, are fantastic. The beef tartare were even better. Mixed with egg yolk and pecorino, it had the texture of almost cooked meat. The combination of ingredients were new to me but the best that I can think of. Finally, we shared the PORK BLADE STEAK vermicelli, nuoc cham, peanut sauce. This is a straight up Vietnamese dish with a different cut of pork. The pork was tender, well seasoned, but fatty and sinewy which made it hard to chew. You can get almost the same dish at 1/3 of the price by going to Eden Center but that's an entirely different atmosphere. So I recommend you try both and see which you like better (just order grilled pork w/ vermicelli at any Vietnamese restaurant for comparison). This place will be a winner, similar to Rose's Luxury. Great, seemingly creative food that's really not, served at hipster prices for those who have disposable income, who rather stay in the city instead of venturing out into the burbs for authentic food. The lighting was awful. The only light source is the fluorescent light in the display kitchen. I also used a iPhone 6....and couldn't hold still while taking the tartare shot.
  5. So a place called Acqua al Due is coming to a space across 7th Street from Eastern Market formerly occupied by two clothing stores. (Just up the block from Montmartre.) (Here is a blurb.) Has anyone eaten at this place, the original of which is in Florence and an outpost of which is in San Diego? I can't imagine this is bad news, given that neither Dottie's nor A&A Athletic had attracted my disposable income while they occupied the space. But how good is the news?
  6. Even though nobody asked - there you have it. Straight from the horse's sorry...hostess' mouth. Posted on eGullet - really recently. I imagine shrieking "Ask Me!!" while staring at the audience with dead-pan eyes a la resurrected fortune teller in Warlock II. Seriously, though, definitely upscale of Bistro Lepic. Menu recently revised. Commenting on food would be mucho inappropriate for me, but the place has been booming lately. Rather than telling you what the place is, I would tell you what it is not. Not an intimate, romantic dinner place. Dining room is large and lively, and there is only one reasonably private table for two. PM me if interested in better table numbers for future reservations. Not a small plate heaven. Menu offerings fall neatly into appetizers or entrees unless you want to graze at the bar. Not a stuffy, overly formal French place. Not a place to go if you don't fancy being greeted by a poster of a nekkid lady over the host stand. The bar scene is great and busy on weeknights but almost empty on weekends. Take note. Tasting menus: yes Cheese plate: yes Smoking at the bar: yes Eating at the bar: yes Reserving bar tables: no (well, PM me) Best-looking front of the house staff in town: yes Late dining: yes (we seat until 10.30) Chefs kissyface: no
  7. Anyone been yet? I made up my mind as soon as I saw the signage (and later looked at the website) that I would never go here, but my wife's friends are already talking about a marguerita happy hour some time next week. TS' fairly scathing review, which should come as no surprise to any of us: http://www.washingto...tic-review.html
  8. Stopped by 7th Hill Pizza (next to Montmartre) a couple of hours ago. I walked in to look around, and they're giving away slices of pizza. I thought the pizza was pretty good (nice brick oven). Apparently they're still lacking an inspection before they can open for business fully. I'll be back when they are.
  9. Had lunch at Montmartre today on their little terrace and thoroughly enjoyed it. They have a braised paleron steak on the menu right now that's like beefy butter. It's even better than their onglet, and that's saying something. The iles flottantes were also as good as usual. I'm going to make an effort to get down there more.
  10. 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?
  11. Somehow this place has passed me by with stealth. I just really noticed it today, and it's apparently going to open in mid-May. (Well, that's the target.) Two of us spoke with a man working outside I assume is the owner, and he said that he plans outdoor seating and will also be applying for an alcohol permit to serve wine (or at least wine). Projected hours: 6AM to 9PM Mondays through Thursdays and 6 to 10 on Fridays and Saturdays. Closed Sundays. Since it has completely passed me by, I have no idea how far he has gotten with any of the permitting for outdoor seating or alcohol. I'm not sure how the immediate neighbors will react to those two facets of the operation. There is a decent space for a patio outside. (Visually, this is catty-corner from the northeast corner of the Car Barn, at 101 15th Street.) Their website is up and functioning: http://www.miascoffeehouse.com I wasn't sure if this was the right forum for the posting, but given that this is the coffee menu, I figured here: Espresso Americano Flat White French Press Pour Over Macchiato Cortado Cappucino Latte Cold Brew Iced Coffee Decaf House Blend
  12. I'm really looking forward to trying this place. Has anyone been yet? Thrillest article: http://www.thrillist.com/eat/washington-dc/20003/beucherts-saloon?utm_content=feature&utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_term=Washington%20DC&utm_campaign=2.13.13%20DC:%20Beuchert%27s%20Saloon Restaurant website
  13. District Soul Food & Lounge is taking over the former Banana Cafe space. Capitol Hill Corner with the goods: "Two Brothers Soul Food, a popular but short-lived restaurant on Route 1 outside the Beltway has chosen the former Banana Café on Barracks Row as their new home. According to ANC Commissioner Kirsten Oldenburg, in whose district the restaurant lies, the restaurant plans to open in September. Banana Café closed last December, when owner Jorge Garcia-Meitin Zamorano retired. District Soul Food owners Chris Everett and David Roundtree announced last November that they were closing Two Brothers after seven months and relocating. The restaurant opened in May of 2017 and had experienced a number of structural issues with the building, which eventually drove the decision to relocate. The menu will feature authentic Southern cooking, heavy on fried chicken, pulled pork, fried fish, collard greens, baked beans, etc. Oldenburg says that the owners will offer live jazz in the former piano bar on the second floor. Everett and Roundtree are partners in other real estate deals, but relative newcomers to the hospitality business – Two Brothers was their first venture as restaurateurs. The space is undergoing renovation, which, according to ANC Commissioner Chander Jayaraman will include plans for indoor trash storage. Jayaraman, as chair of ANC6B’s Alcohol Beverage Control Committee, has been a strong advocate of indoor trash storage, and developed a strategy of using alcohol beverage license applications and renewals to encourage Barracks Row restaurants to provide indoor storage to combat rodent issues."
  14. I thought there was a thread for this restaurant but I can't find one. I stopped in this evening and got a Troegs DreamWeaver beer and a small plate. The food was pork and veal meatballs cabbage all'Amatriciana. The vinegar on the raw cabbage made the whole thing work super well. Wow, that was good. It was $13. (Beer was $7.) There were maybe 5 meatballs, but it was enough for me and what I wanted. I've heard mixed things about this place, but I think the most critical comments were about the bourbon selection, which is not something about which I claim any expertise. The meatballs and cabbage were awesome.
  15. Plenty of asparagus and strawberries floating around Eastern Market, not sure how local they are...otherwise nothing has really taken off yet.
  16. Dorjee Momo should be on the radar screen for all people who love good personal food mixed with a heartwarming story. Dorjee Tsering was born to a nomadic Tibetan family, became a Buddist monk, fled Tibet to Nepal and then India, met his now wife Amberjade, and eventually settled in Washington, DC. With stints at Bullfrog Bagels, Maketto, and Honeycomb Grocer, Dorjee has opened Dorjee Momo, a small pop-up restaurant located on the second floor of Bullfrog Bagel near Eastern Market. The pop-up is open Thursdays thru Sundays and is expected to be located at Bullfrog until late summer. The upstairs space is small and intimate, with low lighting, a handful of bench-style seating tables and four seats at the bar. The staff is friendly and enthusiastic about what they are producing. Definitely the kind of place you hope will succeed and grow. I got there around 8:45pm on a Thursday and all the tables were full (but there's only like 5 tables) but was able to get a spot at the bar. Seating is walk up unless you are doing the hotpot, which is by reservation. The menu consists of a handful of vegetarian/vegan dishes and a handful of meat based dishes, about 5 or 6 dishes per side. I went with the Pan Fried Lamb Momo (because momos!) - $14 for 6 pan fried dumplings with 21-spice sepen (which was like a thick pepper sauce, not that hot but I detected sichuan peppercorns as part of the mix) and a garnish of green onion. Really quite tasty, moist, with some lamb gaminess cut by the sepen. I also ordered the Sunflower Buns (because steamed buns!) - $8 for 2 buns stuffed with spinach, glass noodles, tofu, mustard oil glaze and basil-cilantro sauce. Also very good, the basil-cilantro sauce played nicely with stuffing. I will be back next week for a deeper dive into the menu... Lamb Momo followed by Sunflower Buns
  17. There's a sign in the window of the old Ben & Jerry's saying the place is leased. 'Bold Bites' is the name of the place I think. No idea when it'll open.
  18. What, no thread on Belga? Dropped in last night with my brother and nabbed the last two seats at the bustling bar. Despite the frenzied atmosphere, our bartender provided us with calm, cool, and efficient service. We both had steaks-- he had the hanger with roasted potatoes, and I had the "Belga Steak" which was a filet with herbed butter and their killer frites. Both steaks were cooked perfectly and absolutely delicious. My only complaint would be that the menu should state that the "Belga Steak" is a filet mignon. I'm glad I ordered it, but I'm not typically a big fan of filet as I prefer the more flavorful cuts. If you haven't been yet, go!
  19. Bullfrog Bagels did a few pop-ups around the city, but has now opened a permanent store on one side of the Star and Shamrock bar on the East end of H St. I stopped in around 8:30 this morning, and there was a line of about 18 people. The selection today included all the standard bagels as well as a reasonable looking bialy. I needed to get in and out quickly, so decided against any of the breakfast sandwiches (egg & cheese, lox, smoked whitefish, etc.), and got a sesame and everything bagel to go, with sides of scallion/chive and smoked salmon cream cheese. The little guy got a bialy. The everything bagel was indeed everything. Almost, but not quite too salty (which is the perfect amount of salty for a bagel), with a shiny, dark brown outside and perfectly chewy inside. This was a damn fine bagel. The sesame looked like it could've used a few more minutes in the oven, and was a bit pale and soft on the outside. Overall, it was still a pretty good bagel, but didn't compare to the other. I'm not much of a bialy expert, but this one at least looked like the ones I remember from NYC. Nice softened onions and poppy seeds filled the middle. Given the crowd, they're definitely filling a need. Another day, another quality opening on H St.
  20. Boxcar Tavern (originally to be called "Boxcar Bistro") opened December 30th. The original concept was for a wine bar, but it opened as a gastropub with a wine program. The executive chef, Brian Klein, was also the opening chef at Senart's. The interior looks much the same as Cervera's other restaurants, most closely resembling Senart's and then Lola's. It's a shotgun style, long and narrow. The buildout took many months, extending out into the back alley. I've always liked the look of his places--and he does the interior design elements, such as lighting and seating, on his own. He's very talented at this. They are comforting and pleasant. I am beginning to hit a point of fatigue, though, which is why it took me a month to go here. The staff were lovely. I got a Victory Pils on tap ($6) and a Boxcar quesadilla, with Duck Confit, Pulled Pork, Red Onion, Roasted Pepper, Melted Cheddar & Gruyere ($11). The quesadilla was small. Even though it had been cut into quarters that were stacked on each other, it was, when pulled apart, really small. The texture was mushy. Okay, I'm no food critic, but I couldn't have told you what the meat was in it if I didn't know. It came with sour cream and an avocado-ish spread that were not anything special. I like enough of the food at his other places not to give too much weight to one quesadilla that was so-so. The fatigue has set in, though. I know he thinks that his places don't all look the same, but that's because he's looking at what are minor details to everyone else.
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