Four members of D.C.'s "Top Chef" contingent helped exhausted journalists and government types relax from a whirlwind weekend of White House Correspondents' Dinner events Sunday morning. Spike Mendelsohn, Mike Isabella, Bryan Voltaggio and Bart Vandaele joined the Reuters/Yahoo News brunch atop the Hay-Adams Hotel, passing out dishes inspired by politicos and talking new restaurants.
A bowl of never-ending cannoli was the feature of Isabella's table in honor of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. The inspiration was obvious: Italian American guy = a classic mini cannoli.
Isabella was also publicizing his latest ventures: Kapnos, a 150-seat Greek spot, and G, which will serve Italian-inspired soups and sandwiches by day and a tasting menu by night. Kapnos will be a homecoming of sorts for the former executive chef of Zaytinya.
"Greek food is my [stuff]," Isabella said. (Ours too, Mike, ours too.)
But Isabella wasn't the only chef in attendance planning new ventures along 14th Street: Vandaele will open B Too, a sequel to his original Belga Cafe, on May 7. The restaurant is an ode to Belgium, with a waffle and frites bar, along with a Josper oven capable of reaching 900 degrees. Vandaele had the most elaborate dishes Sunday: truffle egg royals, served inside spray-painted egg shells, perched on beds of grass.
Mendelsohn, likewise, took a fairly unexpected approach. No burgers or pizza for this brunch; instead, an airy artichoke cappuccino with truffle oil creme. The dish was a nod to his upcoming Bearnaise Restaurant, a steak frites joint on Capitol Hill near Good Stuff Eatery and We The Pizza.
Voltaggio was the only guest chef who wasn't hyping new plans, though its possible most of the guests had already made it to his behemoth Range. And his bacon and caviar-topped deviled eggs were already enough of a conversation starter.