TO THE RESCUE: Name what's missing on the local dining scene, and Leopold's Kafe + Konditorei (3315 Cady's Alley NW; 202-965-6005) in Georgetown seems to fill in the blanks.
The all-purpose restaurant serves breakfast Tuesday through Sunday and welcomes customers who just want dessert and coffee. Outdoor patio? Check. Interesting design? The furniture is sleek and Italian.
But first you have to find the place, and if your experience is anything like mine, a taxi driver won't be of much help. "We're behind M street, between 33rd and 34th streets," someone at Leopold's directs me when I call for help on my cell phone.
My pals and I are eventually rewarded with some pleasant Austrian-accented fare -- oxtail soup, snappy bratwurst, a slice of Sacher torte -- in a light-filled room that includes a small bar and overlooks a brick courtyard. Behind the flavors: Chef Nancy Kershner comes to Washington from Town in New York, where she served as pastry chef. Meanwhile, the "Leopold" of the new restaurant refers to veteran local architect Leopold Boeckl, explains Albrecht Clary, one of three partners in the upstart.
Clary, a native of Austria who says he spent 20 years in the hotel and restaurant business in Spain, calls Leopold's "the beginning of a small group of restaurants." Indeed, a second place -- a beer garden in a former carriage house in Dupont Circle -- is scheduled to roll out as early as this summer, he says.