What’s new at Nage includes the chef — sort of
By Tom Sietsema
Wednesday, January 9, 2013
Nage is not a new place to eat, but the restaurant in the Courtyard Embassy Row has seen so many changes in the past year, the destination feels fresh again.
The original red palette has been traded in for more natural hues. Yes, that’s actual moss on the wall of reclaimed wood in the dining room, softly lighted these days with dangling Edison-style bulbs. And there’s a new face in the kitchen, Miles Vaden, who last worked for Jeff Tunks at Passion Food Hospitality but is probably best known for his time at Fiola in Penn Quarter and Eventide in Arlington.
While retaining a few Nage hits, including lobster mac and cheese, Vaden says he’s serving “what I like to cook” on his American menu. Chances are you’ll like what he likes to make. His crusty crab cake, mostly seafood and easy on the Old Bay seasoning, would taste at home in Baltimore. A bed of sweet potato hash and a ring of jalapeno remoulade make the entree even more special. In the dark of winter, Vaden’s beef bourguignon, luscious bites of meat and porcini mushrooms in a glossy red-wine sauce, calls to me most.
Less appealing is the one-note grilled octopus with octopus-ink-tinted chickpea puree. But huzzah to the chef for offering an old-fashioned baked apple for dessert.
Nage’s motto — “creative food without the ’tude” — rings true at the rethought property. Lures include run from bottomless bloody marys and mimosas for $15 at weekend brunch and three- and four-course tasting menus for $40 and $45, respectively, Wednesday through
During a phone interview with general manager Adam Kaiser, I learn that Vaden has been onboard since last January. Management kept his arrival hush-hush so it could promote all of the property’s revisions, which extend to an ongoing redo of the hotel, simultaneously.
And you thought no one in Washington could keep a secret.