Tom Sietsema's Dish: Mendocino Grille Chef Is Headed for Arlington

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

CROSSING THE RIVER: After a change in residence from Adams Morgan to Del Ray last year, Barry Koslow is now switching restaurants.

Starting next month, the 39-year-old chef of Mendocino Grille & Wine Bar (2917 M St. NW; 202-333-2912) in Georgetown will be heading the kitchen at Tallula and EatBar, the adjoining American dining rooms in Arlington (2761 Washington Blvd.; 703-778-5051).

"I love Barry's food," says Michael Babin, president of the Neighborhood Restaurant Group, which owns both eateries. "It's exciting to have someone coming out of a wine-focused restaurant. We have a great list at Tallula."

Koslow, who spent 2 1/2 years at Mendocino and replaces Andrew Markert, says he and his future boss had discussed working together over the years, but the timing was never right. This go-round, Koslow says, "I'm ready for a change."

What can regulars expect? "We're still going to have a great burger and fries," promises Koslow, who is bringing his sous-chef, Joey Alvarez, with him. But they'll be adding fresh pastas, crudo, pâtés, terrines and "more refinement" to the equation.

Koslow will focus on Tallula; Alvarez will cook day-to-day at the casual EatBar. Says the new executive chef responsible for both venues, "We want to push the envelope a bit."

-- Tom Sietsema

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