Group:

Young and the restless

What's hot right now? These eight dining rooms are at the cutting edge of D.C.'s evolving dining landscape.

  • Updated 09/17/2012
  • 8 Items
 
 
1.

Eric and Ian Hilton have a funny way of telling people they're not empire builders: They keep opening cool places to eat and drink. Following on the heels of Chez Billy in Petworth is the brothers' new Brixton, a ground-floor tavern topped with a lounge capped with a rooftop deck. The British-bowing retreat taps into Eric's Anglo passion. Where else can you get Scotch eggs and samosas followed by the possibility of sipping under the stars? With the exception of a salad here or pot de creme there, the short menu highlights British pub staples.

2.

The French bistro is run by the owners of Marvin and Blackbyrd Warehouse. The watering hole spreads across two floors; a mezzanine lounge looks down on a bar featuring two-stool nooks that give occupants privacy even during rush hour. The small dining room on the ground floor is dark and moody, but also cozy with flashes of green (curtains and panels) and white (globes set off each booth). It's the middle of a heat wave, and I'm eating beef daube -- but no sweat. This restaurant does justice to the wintry braised beef, in a neighborhood hungry for better places to eat.

3.

The heavy wooden door opens to reveal a Logan Circle space that looks as if it has been around for ages. The kitchen sends sensual tastes of EspaƱa -- jamon-wrapped figs, chilled gazpacho and shrimp punched up with garlic and lemon -- to your massive table. Weighty chandeliers, a movable red-leather wall and a treasure-trove of (white and red) Rioja make Estadio the most alluring place to graze on Spanish savories that can sometimes be lacking. Estadio means "stadium." Don't expect any serenity with your sangria.

4.

This no-reservations Thai restaurant is a product of the same minds behind its neighbor, the starry Komi. Dinners are served family style. Every dish (and every drink) is accompanied by a short story or helpful instruction. A plate of sliced house-made pork sausage is garnished with sprigs of anise-flavored Thai basil that a server tells us to use for bundling the spicy coins of meat. A short stack of pork ribs, marinated in fish sauce and whiskey imported from Thailand, then smoked and grilled, is so tender, I'm not sure how the meat stays on the bone. I do know this: The finishing accents of red chili paste, fresh dill and sugar leave a trail of pleasure on the palate.

5.

Former Central Michel Richard chef Cedric Maupillier steps out on his own at this Adams Morgan spot that weaves traditional French accents with American food favorites. Even the most familiar-sounding dishes surprise you with their rich treatments and vivid flavors. The interior bows to the food. Knotty reclaimed wood, leather booths the color of espresso and some strategically placed wheat stalks and vintage ironwork create a cozy, uncomplicated setting for Maupillier's scene-stealing cooking. However, you'll need strong lungs to communicate with your table mates. The sound levels here place you on a factory floor.

6.

Pearl Dive Oyster Palace is the fifth restaurant from chef Jeff Black, whose domain includes Addie's in Rockville, Black's Bar & Kitchen in Bethesda, Black Market Bistro in Garrett Park and BlackSalt in the Palisades. His latest might be his greatest, or at least the most fun. Danny Wells, a longtime chef with the Black Restaurant Group, heads the kitchen, where he and his mates crank out big, bold-flavored food that suggests a Crescent City denizen is stirring the pots: Cue batter-fried shrimp with Vietnamese-style slaw, and three zesty gumbos. The dining room staff couldn't be more doting. And Core Architecture Design has done a terrific job of taking a vacant shell and turning the space, which includes an adjoining bar, Black Jack, into a beacon on its block.

7.

I've always admired Ripple for the warmth of its service and the wit of its dining rooms, and now I can vouch for the cooking. Since Logan Cox came aboard in May 2011, the modern American bistro has evolved from a shiny bauble into a certified gem. I don't need food to entertain me. The interior does a good job of that. Owner Roger Marmet, a former executive at the Learning Channel, didn't have to look far for a tastemaker. He tapped his wife, Betsy, who has a master's degree in design from Parsons. Using the mosaic bar she inherited from the former Aroma cigar den as inspiration, she dressed the banquettes in a patchwork of fabrics that bring the '60s and '70s to mind, hung turquoise chandeliers from a chocolate-brown ceiling and added red pressed-paper tiles to a wall, suggesting swirls of wine.

8.

The Taiwanese-style ramen shop has acquired a cult following that knows to be in line by 5 p.m. or risk an uncertain outdoor wait. There are fewer than 30 stools, all but a few squeezed in front of a ledge that rings most of the room. Strapping bowls of steaming noodles from Taipei-born, Tokyo- and Woodbridge-raised Erik Bruner-Yang are the lure, but the setting registers a 10 on the fun meter, too. Skateboards stand in for guardrails, interior shingles and footrests. Japanese anime art serves as wallpaper, and red paper lanterns dangle from faux tree branches.

Go Out Lists
A fun way to save and share your favorites

Love the review you just read? Want to tell others about your favorites? Save it to your Go Out List. Here's how to get started.

Create a Go Out List
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
What You've Recently Viewed On Going Out Guide

E-mail This Go Out List to a Friend

Young and the restless

(Enter the e-mail address of the recipient(s), separated by commas. Please limit to 10 recipients. )

chars typed
 
Submit
 
 
 
 
Cancel
 
 
 
 
 

Save to Go Out List

You must be signed in to complete this action. Sign In or Register

Request Removal

 

Your request has been submitted.

List: Young and the restless
Expand
What is this toolbar at the bottom of my screen?
It's a new way to save your ideas about places to go and shows to see in Washington, and it can help you find things to do with your friends.
See something interesting?
Click on the I want to go button to add it to your Want to go list. The number on the button shows how many people want to go. If you're signed in with a Facebook account, your friends can see where you'd like to go.
Already been there?
If you have been to a place or event already, click the I've been there button to add it to your Been there list. The number shows how many people have been there. If you're signed in with a Facebook account, your friends can see where you've been.
Where are my lists?
The things you add to your Want to go and Been there lists will be saved for you. Click on your username anytime to view your list and see all those ideas.
When you want to keep your plans private, turn off the sharing toggle. You'll be able to save items to your lists without sharing them on Facebook.
Why should I sign in with Facebook?
It can help you make plans with friends for things to do together. When you share your Want to go and Been there lists with your Facebook friends, it's easy to see when you and your friends want to go to the same place.
Close
For a better experience, Please login with Facebook
What are the benefits of connecting with Facebook?
Sharing your ideas about places to go and things to see just got easier. Share your Want to go and Been there lists with Facebook friends and see where your friends want to go or where they've been and make plans together.
Ready to get started?
Log in to Facebook
Close