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Zola Wine and Kitchen, 9th and E Streets in Penn Quarter - Retail Wine Store and Test Kitchen - Closed


Waitman
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As a deeply conservative individual I can't help but be suspicious of a wine shop that announces itself thus: "a new concept in the nation's capital: a distinctive wine shop combined with a chef's test kitchen so patrons can see new recipes in the making while wine shopping in the Penn Quarter." Seems forced, at best. I mean, have you ever said to yourself: "nice selection? If only there were a chef nearby testing out a new seasonally appropriate locavor grass-fed beef dish in the room, this place would be perfect"?

And language like "artfully displayed "great find" wines from around the world....n addition to the striking walls of wines in the shop [which is, natch, designed by Adamstein & Demetriou] , seasonality will be taken into consideration in four "food columns" which flank the space. Here, to help demystify the wine buying experience wine is paired to match specific food types ranging from Asian and Italian to BBQ, as well as seasonal offerings from holiday festivities to special occasions" reminds me way too much of Best Cellars, the wine shop that sells cases of justifiably obscure plonk through a similar "artful display and demystification" strategy.

Christ, maybe that's what people need to buy wine in a recession: interior design and cue cards. Those Penn Quarter condos can't be appreciating.

On the other hand (he said, shaking off his hangover), proprietors can't be blamed for the breathless prose of their press agents and the insecurities of the wine-buying public. And a shop stocking 400 varieties of decent vino (allegedly " ranging from famous to little known boutique producers, exciting new offerings as well as hard to find cult wines") in Penn Quarter gives the neighborhood an important bit of yuppie infrastructure and a summertime Thursday trifecta -- the Penn Quarter Market, Cowgirl Creamery and, now, Zola Wine & Kitchen.

There also will be a comfortable couch for make-out sessions before deciding how much to spend on wine for your date or for perusing Zola-provided glossy wine magazines and cheat sheets that always seem too pretentious and expensive to buy yourself but which you're always secretly eager to page through. And, while the phrase " selection of pre-packaged sandwiches and gourmet products" is today used to describe anything from actual "gourmet" food to shrink-wrapped dreck (the list actually looks like the former, with the caveat that the proof is in the eating) , it appears that we'll no longer be dependent on those soft pretzel and cold hot dog trucks to assemble an on-the-Mall picnic. One hopes that they'll also stock go-cups and cheap plastic corkcrews so we can match the gourmandise with something besides Diet Pepsi without attracting the attention of the Park Police. (Get there early Inauguration Day!).

You can rent the kitchen for parties. No word on whether civilians get to play with the cool (earning two paragraphs in the press release, almost as much as the wine) stove.

More here

Zola Wine & Kitchen

505 9th Street, NW

202-639-9463

M-S 11-8,

Sun. (starting soon, call first) 12-6

(Note to Press Team and Zola management: damn hard to find the phone number and hours)

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I'm sorry to hear this. I never went to the wine shop part, but the kitchen was one of my favorite places for lunch. I was just there Friday and didn't see any indication of a place in trouble. Perhaps they decided to pull the plug before it got to that point though.

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I'm sorry to hear this. I never went to the wine shop part, but the kitchen was one of my favorite places for lunch. I was just there Friday and didn't see any indication of a place in trouble. Perhaps they decided to pull the plug before it got to that point though.

I can't imagine they aren't still leasing the space, so perhaps something different will come of it.

Hamburgers? Cupcakes? Fro-Yo? Ack

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I'm sorry to hear this. I never went to the wine shop part, but the kitchen was one of my favorite places for lunch. I was just there Friday and didn't see any indication of a place in trouble. Perhaps they decided to pull the plug before it got to that point though.

Agreed. Great lunch spot. Too bad.

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