Tom Sietsema's Dish

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

When Washington baker Mark Furstenberg complained last fall about the pedestrian food his friend Saied Azali was serving at Perry's restaurant in Adams Morgan, Azali responded with an invitation: "Would you like to do something about it?"

Furstenberg bit. His first effort at turning around the kitchen, now staffed with line cooks but no dedicated head chef, was to create Perry's menu for Valentine's Day. His second task was to revamp the standing menu of the second-story dining room. Starting next month, Perry's gradually will begin rolling out Furstenberg's satay of the day, fish tacos, crab cakes and new pastas, says Azali, who intends to continue Perry's popular sushi items.

The menu changes, including a tweaked brunch menu, will coincide with the arrival in June of a new chef, Robert Dahlia, a six-year veteran of Buck's Fishing & Camping, who initially will work alongside Furstenberg. (Full disclosure: The baker and I are longtime friends.)

There's more news: Azali recently signed a lease for the vacant market directly below Perry's, which he plans to turn into a bistro featuring "simple American food" by Dahlia. Azali says he hopes to open the new place in November and will call it Adams.

Furstenberg, meanwhile, says he's "desperately, desperately looking for a location for my bakery and breakfast restaurant." He doesn't have a space, but the concept has a name: Bread & Breakfast.

-- Tom Sietsema

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