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Pyramids - Closed.

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Now that thoughts are turning to Restaurant Week -- I'm thinking about revisiting places NOT participating in RW. One of them is Pyramids -- a moroccan restaurant a couple of blocks south of Howard University Hospital on Florida Ave (two blocks east of intersection with Georgia Avenue). I was part of a mixed group of DR and CH folks who recently tucked into an amazing meal there. Steve's report on Chowhound reflects my experience at the table. One thing, the carrots had an intense cumin flavor that reminded us of some "special Sichuan" food no longer found in our area (NO relation, just happy memories).

If you're driving east on Florida, turn right on 6th on the corner where the restaurant's located and I've been lucky with parking in the first block in the neighborhood. Kdhkg Bnows (cook & wife of owner) says she usually stays open well past midnight because Howard Univ. students call for late, late meals (a real endorsement). Note that there are only three 4-tops, 2-3 deuces and about 5 tall stools for eating on a bay window bar -- our group of five put two of the 4-tops together because we ordered so very much...

I must give props to Tom Sietsema for writing a blurbette on this place in May (repeated again in a recent TomChat):

The Weekly Dish Wednesday, May 3, 2006; Page F05 GOOD AND CHEAP: Don't go to Pyramids (600 Florida Ave. NW; 202-232-6776) looking for a sense of style or a lot of service. The storefront isn't much to look at, just a handful of tables and TV suspended near the door. And the staff tends to answer the phone with the kind of greeting ("Hello?") that suggests you're calling someone's home rather than a business. Whatever. Once you get your food, you're likely not to care. There aren't many places to explore Moroccan cooking around Washington, and Pyramids does well by standards such as lamb tagine -- tender, spice-rubbed meat and a stew of tomatoes served with a colorful rice pilaf -- and bisteeya , its crackling cover of pastry dusted with powdered sugar and hiding a savory filling of ground chicken. There are also luscious salads -- peas, carrots and green beans tossed with rice is practically a meal -- and very good renditions of Middle Eastern hits, including a top-notch eggplant puree seasoned with sumac. You may have sampled these flavors before, at the late Taste of Marrakesh on Ninth Street NW, which is where owner Salah Awadlla and his cook and wife, Kdhkg Bnows , served customers before they left for a neighborhood with lower rents. Entrees $5-$7.50.
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My major regret is not attending one of their Ramadan break-the-fast sundown buffets. Chowhound scooped this week's Going out Gurus:

Shaw's Pyramids, which was open late on weekends, serving fragrant Moroccan couscous and bastillas, has shuttered and disconnected its phone. The closing is a huge loss for the neighborhood and for all of D.C. Pyramids offered hope that tiny, nondescript restaurants with delicious food could prevail in the area. Sources say that increased rents forced the husband-and-wife owners to close the doors.
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I suspected something was up when the last two times I went there for lunch they were closed. This is the latest info from the Bloomingdale listserve.

From a LeDroit Park resident:

I was incredibly sad to arrive back to Le Droit Park from the Holidays to find Pyramids Restaurant on 6th and Florida closed. I called the owners Salah and Kadijah right away to find out what is happening. Turns out the lease was up and the owners of the building, "MCN Build", want to raise the rent by an astronomical amount to what someone would pay for the same space in Georgetown or Dupont Circle. The amount forced Pyramids to close. MCN apparently said they are willing to hold discussions with Salah and Kadijah, but have not returned phone calls and seem content to leave Pyramids in limbo or worse. Pyramids has become a gem in our community and has become the best place we have for eating and meeting. MCN Build's motto is "Projects That Preserve and Empower Our Community". This doesn't seem quite right. If anyone has any creative ideas on how to bring Pyramids back to our community (a new space, influence on MCN, etc), please step forward.

Salah and Kadijah said they are still willing to cater events, so call them if you are interested. Their numbers are 202-378-7243 and 703-998-2306.

Thank you and let's hope we can get Pyramids back!!!

This is a pretty crappy corner for a condo but I guess someone thinks they can make money off of it. This was a great off the radar chow place. The menu was completely useless in describing what they had to offer. The best approach was to look into the kitchen and pick what smelled or looked good or to ask what was good that day. It will be missed.

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