The Latest Dish

Mark Timms
Mark Timms

Hank’s Oyster Bar & Lounge at 1624 Q Street NW has doubled in size with both inside and outside dining as well as a private upstairs room that can accommodate up to 24 guests. Architect Eric Gronning transformed the space into a hip neighborhood oasis. For those into creative cocktail menus, that has expanded too as chef/owner Jamie Leeds hired a beverage director, Dana Mosbarger, and a mixologist, Megan Coyle. If you appreciate great limoncello (as I do), Megan created two types of delicious, authentic house-made limoncello.

Ch-ch-ch-changes:

Michael Sternberg re-acquired Harry’s Tap Room in Clarendon and plans to re-open it as Market Tavern later this month … Härth at Hilton McLean Tysons Corner just opened their new 52-seat outdoor patio complete with fire pits and fall cocktails to warm guests up inside and out … Ballston’s Willow Restaurant has expanded with a new bakery and casual bistro (lower price points) inside. Instead of opening a new restaurant, chefs/owners and wife/husband, Tracy O’Grady and Brian Wolken expanded within their existing space. The bistro’s small plates menu offers a variety of vegetarian options. The new “Kate at Willow” allows Kate Jansen to stretch her pastry chef creativity, which is a bonus for us all. The Ritz-Carlton, Georgetown has changed Degrees Lounge into Degrees Bistro, a French-inspired bistro with banquette seating for 46, serving breakfast, lunch, dinner and casual bar food. This new dining space was made necessary by their conversion of Fahrenheit restaurant into an event space.

He’s not just the master of fine dining French restaurants. Michel Richard plans to open a restaurant focused on meatballs in Penn Quarter at 626 E St. NW. Not just meatballs, but meatballs to be ordered with pasta, salad or sandwiches at prices up to $10. Slated to open in November, it will be called Meatballs, which is also the name of one of my favorite Bill Murray movies.

Chef & GM Update:

Joe Sluger has been named the new general manager for The Melting Pot in Gaithersburg. The new chef de cuisine at Watershed by Todd Gray is Godofredi Vaquerano, who has spent 11 years working with Todd Gray and held the same position at Equinox. Todd named Karen Nichols the executive chef at Equinox – a first in the restaurant’s history. Karen served as sous-chef at Gramercy Tavern in New York City.

Openings Update:

Cafe Deluxe, now operated by Clover Restaurant Group (CRG), will open in the RIO Center in Gaithersburg in mid-November, serving American brasserie fare. This will be its fourth location, with others in Tysons Corner, Bethesda, and Cleveland Park in D.C. CRG also plans to open its second Tortilla Coast at 15th and P Streets, NW in Logan Circle in mid-December. The new location will vary from its Tex-Mex sister restaurant on Capitol Hill and offer authentic Mexican fare … PAUL USA, the bakery that opened its first D.C. location at 801 Pennsylvania, NW has recently opened its second location on Wisconsin Avenue near M Street, NW… Wagamama, which has been expected to open in Penn Quarter for a while now, is now shooting for a spring 2012 opening in the space on 7th St, NW formerly occupied by Olsson’s Books … The second Founding Farmers farm-to-table-themed restaurant is slated to open in early November at 12505 Park Potomac Ave. in Potomac, Md. It will be overseen by corporate chef Joe Goetze, executive chef Rob Ross and pastry chef Courtney Goldian.

Quick Hits:

Mike Cordero, owner of Caribbean Breeze, Malibu Grill and Aqua Vida in Old Town plans to open Bronx Pizza in early December in Clarendon. Sushiko has a combination ramen and izakaya (Japanese pub) restaurant called Daikaya, slated to open next year at 705 Sixth St., NW in Penn Quarter … Pizza CS, a pizzeria slated to open in the first half of November in Rockville (where Three Brothers Italian Restaurant used to be), will feature Neapolitan pizza. Owners/operators are Ankur Rajpara and John Allen, formerly of local restaurant group, Latin Concepts. Bethesda Bagels is slated to open in the former Johnny Rockets space at 1718 Connecticut Ave. NW in north Dupont Circle by end of November. Jason Story and Carolina Gomez plan to open a charcuterie shop called Three Little Pigs in Petworth at 5111 Georgia Ave., NW by year’s end. Their plan calls for a sandwich station, retail space and charcuterie classes.

2100 Prime has opened in The Fairfax Hotel where The Jockey Club used to hold court. The new chef is Mark Timms, native of Sheffield, England, who has re-vamped the menu with lower prices and a greater focus on sustainable and local foods.

Chef/owner Patrick Bazin and his wife Julie plan to open a new authentic Mexican restaurant called Alegria, next door to their restaurant Bazin’s on Church, in Falls Church. It is slated to open in late December of 2011. The menu will showcase authentic Mexican food with a very strong connection to local growers and specialty regional suppliers. Outdoor dining on the patio will be offered as weather allows. The name Alegria (which means happiness) was chosen as a result of a Facebook page contest to name the new restaurant. The winner won dinner for eight on opening night for their winning submission.

Attention chefs:

MasterChef Season Three Open Calls are taking place. You will be given a few minutes to plate your dish at the given casting location, but there will not be a kitchen to cook or warm it up so come prepared. Visit MasterChefCasting.com. The event takes place Nov. 12 at Trinity Washington University from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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Nov 3, 2011 at 12:50 PM lad1

Can you tell us what's going on with Salt and Pepper on MacArthur Blvd? There's been some abrupt changes; the chefs no longer work there. Arrived one night for dinner last week and the sign on the door said "closed until further notice."

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