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Hunting Creek - Steakhouse in the Former Notting Hill Space In Old Town Now Owned by Yates Enterprises - Closed


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On 6/15/2014 at 4:24 PM, goldenticket said:

Notting Hill is Closed.

I've heard rumors about a potential new owner/manager and concept, but nothing I would feel is appropriate to share. Whatever happens, I hope the next go-round is something that works. It's such a great space, it's a shame for it to sit empty.

 

Exciting news on King Street!

The folks from A la Lucia (namely Michael Nayeri) have announced that they will be opening a new restaurant in the space at 1106 King Street. The news was announced on the A la Lucia Facebook page, as well as in a recent e-newsletter.

It will not be a second A la Lucia location. They're hoping for an opening in early 2015.

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I certainly hope they're not going to open another "way south of Little-Italy" red tablecloth restaurant. Every time something like this happens, it reminds me of those teenage crushes we used to experience (some of us a lot longer time ago than others :D).  That initial rush of hopes, agony, expectation, and that breathless anticipation.  Then the getting to know you stage... and then...the denoument...when reality rears it's ugly head and you start seeing the bad side....one can only hope that THIS TIME, maybe they'll get it right.

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I'm not sure what "this time" or "they" you're referring to - I only hope that this prime location is once again home to a successful business.

From what I've been told (by people who would know), the new location is not going to be Italian. I'll leave it to the owners to announce more details when they're ready to do so.

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Correct - A la Lucia will remain the Italian spot; Hunting Creek was never planned to be Italian. It will feature steaks, as mentioned above.  They have been doing a Steak Night feature at A la Lucia for several months, but that ended this week. Presumably it was a 'warm-up' for the new spot.

It is a nice nod to the local area!  I hope they can move through the permitting, etc. and open in the not too distant future. It's such a great spot and the garden/patio has been empty and unused for far too long!

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Correct - A la Lucia will remain the Italian spot; Hunting Creek was never planned to be Italian. It will feature steaks, as mentioned above.  They have been doing a Steak Night feature at A la Lucia for several months, but that ended this week. Presumably it was a 'warm-up' for the new spot.

Jackie, do you know that it's not going to be Italian? Steaks and seafood are important staples in Italian cuisine.

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Jackie, do you know that it's not going to be Italian? Steaks and seafood are important staples in Italian cuisine.

Yes, I'm fairly certain, based on what I've been told. Of course, I have no specific knowledge of the menu, so we'll have to wait and see if there are any specific influences, Italian or otherwise.

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I'm not sure a restaurant has ever had a quieter opening. When a friend suggested we try this recently opened steakhouse from the owner of A La Lucia I immediately starting searching for information about it. To my astonishment, the almighty Google barely even knew it existed. I sense this will not be so for long, as the experience was astonishingly good for a just opened restaurant.

We opened with a variety of fried goodies - clams, oysters, and artichoke leaves. The clams and oysters were among the best I have ever had - big, meaty, juicy with a crisp breading that showed almost no trace of greasiness at all. The steaks were perfectly cooked to order and tender to a fault. My wife's filet was the winner at the table, but the NY Strip was a solid enough offering on its own. Sides were also quite good - fingerling potatoes just tender enough but with a crispy skin along with halved brussels sprouts with just a hint of brown carmelization. The creamed spinach was good, but alas not quite up to what you get at Ray's (which is some damned fine creamed spinach to be fair.)

The most astonishing thing about the evening, however, was the consistency of everything. From food preparation to course pacing to overall service. The owner has clearly been training his team intensely. During a post dinner conversation with him he said they had been having a number of ramped up "friends and family" dinners to shock test the staff and it clearly showed.

All in all, perhaps the best opening to a restaurant I can recall. There really isn't anything else like this anywhere around Alexandria - a great addition to the community.

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Exciting! I walked by it today, seemed busy. I don't eat beef, but love steakhouses because they sometimes do lamb or pork well, and honestly, steakhouse Mac and cheese or creamed spinach can be so good (I'm talking to you Ray's, Hyde Park, Ruth's, Monty's, Morton's - you make a part Hindu non beef eater love steakhouses!)

Anyway, point is, they had duck, chicken, and I think lamb on the menu. I'm going to go soon... Even you non-beef eaters, give steakhouses a chance!

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Exciting! I walked by it today, seemed busy. I don't eat beef, but love steakhouses because they sometimes do lamb or pork well, and honestly, steakhouse Mac and cheese or creamed spinach can be so good (I'm talking to you Ray's, Hyde Park, Ruth's, Monty's, Morton's - you make a part Hindu non beef eater love steakhouses!)

Anyway, point is, they had duck, chicken, and I think lamb on the menu. I'm going to go soon... Even you non-beef eaters, give steakhouses a chance!

I'm glad to see this.  A great location that's been under-used for way too long.

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I had the pleasure of trying Hunting Creek the first week they were open. We were a party of 8 for a surprise birthday dinner on a Saturday night so I fully expected a few hiccups given our group. And though at times service was a tad slow, the staff all went out of their way to be helpful, friendly and more than accommodating to our party which at times was a tad raucous.

We waited briefly in the upstairs bar which is small but cozy and my husband enjoyed that they had a large tv on sports. Through out the night the owner (not sure of his name but I recognized him from our many evenings at A La Lucia) seemed to be on top of it all. From bringing back fresh wine glasses to making sure our table was happy with our dinner.

We started with the fried oysters, fried zucchini and fried Jerusalem Artichoke. They were all good but the fried oysters were a stand out dish! The breading was light in texture and taste and the oysters were fantastic! The waiter mentioned they were sweet water oysters. I'm not an oyster expert but I would order those again, every time.

I usually order the fish, however being in a steakhouse I ordered steak. I had the 8 oz. tenderloin and substituted brusslesprouts for the fingerling potatoes. The filet was cooked perfectly to my taste. The outside had a nice char and the inside was a perfect shade of red. The brusslesprouts were fine, though I prefer mine roasted and crisper then these were.

All in all I was very pleased with our experience and I will certainly be back here again soon.

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Grover and I went for dinner tonight and not only really liked the food, there was an even nicer surprise!  Mark Slater! So great to see Mark.  Food?  Oh, you'd like to know what we ate?

For an appetizer:

I had the Oysters.  Plump, juicy, not breaded but gently coated with an excellent crispy coating.  These oysters should be on the dinner menu. (There will be lunch service soon. I'm told the oysters may make their debut as a lunch item.  I'm not sure I'd ever order anything else).

Grover had the clams. Same excellent coating, same great taste.  Two clean plates, nothing left.

For mains, I had the hanger steak with fries.  Let me confess up front, I'm not much of a beef eater, but our server, Christian made it sound so good, I had to try it.  Believe me, it was worth it.  I ordered medium rare, it was perfectly medium rare.  The fries were done perfectly as well.  Lightly salted, crisp on the outside, nice and potatoy (is that a word?) on the inside.

Grover had the Swordfish.  I managed to get a bite of the swordfish and it was excellent (what?  You expected me to describe the taste of excellent swordfish?  Are you kidding?  If you like swordfish, you'll REALLY like this)

Too full for dessert, we decided after dinner drinks would have to suffice.  A very nice hard VA apple cider for her, a very smooth Port for me.  Sorry that I can't provide the names and vintages of either, but by that time we were both in a nice food fog and couldn't be bothered to ask.

So, to wrap this up:  Service: excellent without being obtrusive.  Not one server picked that exact mouth-full moment to ask for a 100 word description of how we were enjoying the food.

Food: Also excellent.  Hard to tell that Hunting Creek had just opened, everything was professional and smooth from the start.

And Mark S.?  The man knows his beverages.  I think we have found another great place to add to our regular rotation.  (and it's actually easy to find parking, even at rush hour).

(and goldenticket, was that you entering around 6:30?)

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:-)

Hunting Creek lunch special at the bar: 2 courses for $16. Almost everything on the menu (the U 10 shrimp and filet mignon are excluded) is available.

Strange that you should mention the exact two things I had for dinner tonight (along with the Termes). Some damn fine shrimp, not rubbery, great flavor and a filet that was cooked exactly as I like it and as tender as a mother's love. Hunting Creek seems to be getting better and better every week.

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Visited today for lunch at the bar.  Got to meet Mark, who was very gracious helping out little ol' me while also taking care of a table of guests nearby.  He recommended the Valpolicella Ripasso, Degani 2013, Veneto, Italy ($8.50, $34), which was a lovely red.  We also chatted here and there about everything from overcooked steak horrors to opera.

Had the Hangar Steak with Fries, which was a special for the day.  The steak was really tender, and was flavorful enough by itself that the red wine sauce on the side was used sparingly.  To start I had had the mixed greens salad, which had the right amount of a slightly sweet dressing.

The 2nd floor is a very nice-looking space (and from what I saw of the 1st floor it's the same).  They also have a patio in between their building and the building next door, with large trees that will provide daytime shade when the leaves finally decide to show up.

It's a great addition to the Old Town area and that section of King Street.  I look forward to visiting again.

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I'm not sure I've ever before been to a restaurant where Mark Slater was in residence. Went to Citronelle twice in the day so possible/likely when he was there but I wouldn't have known about him then despite the fact that I really should have given my longstanding, albeit higher-level/general, interest in wine. Never made it to Bastille.

Anyway, very recently I'd arranged to meet an old colleague and friend in Alexandria so Hunting Creek was an easy choice. We actually didn't have any wine since midday on a work day but Mark was there.

Fried oysters are a dish I'll nearly always order when on a menu of any higher-quality restaurant. Love oysters in dishes of all kinds. The oysters here were as good as any I've had in the area in recent years. And, I have some expertise...or, at least, experience with this dish! Crispy but light on the coating (panko? Rice flour? Just a very light hand?) with the temperature differential (warm/crispy on the outside; cool and still mostly raw on the inside) with gentle seasoning that really highlighted both the oysters and the careful hand that made them.

We both ordered the 6 oz hangar steaks with fries. We both finished every bite of both. As much as anything, I was just really impressed with the attention to detail on technique. The steaks were both seasoned and cooked perfectly to order. No games. about medium being deep red or grey according to the local chef. My medium was pink with just a bit of red in the middle. My friend's medium rare looked medium rare, relative to mine and to a reasonable medium rare standard.

I posted a report from Roofers Union last week in which I lamented some fries that looked good and had nice seasoning but were limp without even a bit of of the crispness so important for great fries. As simple a dish as any but they blew it. Not here. These fries looked hand cut, tasted great and arrived hot and crispy throughout. We both finished every fry in the generous portions.

One very minor nit. Minor because I'm very sympathetic to the reasons why many restaurants don't allow substitutions. When we ordered, I'd asked if my fries could be substituted for with a side of greens served with the minute steak dish to provide some veggie balance to my meal with the fried oyster starter. The kitchen wouldn't do this, which actually worked out fine since the fries were great. Should they have allowed it? I don't know and didn't care.

We'll go back soon for dinner. The patio area alongside the restaurant looks very inviting now that Spring and warmer days are finally here. And, I need to actually have the DC experience of following some of Mark's advice on a good bottle to pair with dinner.

Which all brings me to my last point.

If you're a big baseball fan, it's a thrill, even as an adult, to meet a player you admire. They have talent most of us lack and provide welcome entertainment and distraction in a sometimes challenging world. Likewise for a musician or film maker. I get really excited meeting a Director or Writer of a film I know that I thought great due to it's storyline, composition, costuming, lighting, and other factors. Most of us just can't do that.

And, so it goes with food and wine and how I feel about many professionals including Frank Ruta, Ferhat Yalcin, Joel Finklestein, Mark Furstenberg or Fabio Trabiocchi. In my book, they should have the same fame and recognition of people like Joshua Bell, Mike Trout or Ken Burns. Like the filmmakers, musicians or athletes, these people in food and beverage have talent and expertise that I just lack and that takes a ton of time, hard work and talent to build. In that spirit, it was such fun, and really an honor, to finally meet Mark Slater. Aside from being such an accomplished sommelier, he's just a wonderful host and person.

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Have tried this twice now and were quiet happy both times, looking forward to going back now that we can have a better range of food (We were limited to lean meat and veggies for a few months) - Great atmosphere, staff recognized us on second trip.  Steaks cooked perfectly. 

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It's no secret that Mark Slater is no longer here. After a fairly ordinary first meal (before Mark began working here), I had initialized coverage as a good, but not DR-recommended, restaurant; but then raised it to Italic based on an anticipated strength in the wine department; now, I can no longer assume that to be true, so it's back where it was. That said, I do look forward to returning here and trying it anew.

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Per Red Brick Town:

"Hunting Creek Steakhouse Has a New Owner"

This would be the third restaurant for Mr. Yates in Alexandria. In addition to Yates Car Wash, Mr. Yates purchased the Generous George's building and is looking to open Yates Pizza Palace. He also purchased the Table Talk Restaurant. In addition to these purchases, Mr. Yates purchased the Old Town Theater.

It's a New Year and exciting new things are happening at Hunting Creek!

I am pleased to announce that Yates Enterprises, as part of their growing presence in Old Town, are the new owners of Hunting Creek!

I have enjoyed my time on King Street developing this location and I wish the new owners all the best as I move on to other endeavors in 2016.

Cheers!

~Michael Nayeri

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MK and I ate at Hunting Creek before the Mount Vernon illuminations at Christmas.  I had a petite filet with shrimp and he had a hanger steak.  I asked for sauteed greens instead of creamed, no problem.  We had a bit of miscommunication about the greens so we got another set, but they were tasty and we ended up eating them all.  My shrimp were blackened, I thought they were a touch too salty.  But I thought the steak was good, and the wine choices by glass weren't bad.  I didn't love sitting in the back at a small table, it would be better when you could be outside.

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7 hours ago, meatwad said:

The re-built Generous George’s building has been in progress for some time now. They were interviewing “real” chefs awhile ago. Any idea on what they’re now planning for that giant dining room?

At this stage, I don't think anyone knows.  I haven't talked to anyone in the family for a couple of months.

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