CHEF JEFF TUNKS at the River Club is spreading himself thin. He's running not just that Georgetown dining-and-dancing restaurant, but also the new Notte Luna at 809 15th St. NW, where the menu is modern Italian. Notte Luna has a wood oven and grill, so naturally the specialties are fish and thin-crusted pizzas.
"We don't have a marinara on the menu," declares Tunks.
And how will he handle both places? Since the River Club is closed at lunch, he'll be at Notte Luna then, and will stay to set up dinner because the River Club doesn't get swinging until late. Then off to Georgetown where he'll oversee the River Club kitchen after 7 p.m. When will he sleep? He didn't explain that.
NEXT, FROM THE same people who have brought us the River Club, Paolo's, Notte Luna and more, we're going to have a barbecue on M Street. Hot peppers, vinegar, wood smoke and all, the restaurant will be Georgetown's second barbecue, at 3139 M St. NW, in a space that was formerly Williams' and before that Micheline and The Big Cheese. No news yet as to when these smokers will be ready to be fired up or what the restaurant will be called.
Georgetown's first barbecue, a carryout named Rocklands, recently opened at 2418 Wisconsin Ave. NW with a wood smoker to produce ribs, sliced and chopped pork and barbecued lamb. I haven't tried it yet, but its neighbor, Austin Grill, welcomes it with open arms.
"We're always eating each other's food around here," said Austin Grill's Rebecca Nance. She recommends the sliced pork and the barbecued lamb at Rocklands, and raves about the beans.
HOLIDAY FEASTS are often bracketed by suffering through airline meals, but people who take the train have happier options. Union Station's downstairs food court is a terrific source of carry-on meals for train travelers. And now it has hit a new high in efficiency: Movable Feast, the Washington caterer, has opened a counter at the food court.
In addition to its wide array of prepared foods displayed in bowls and on sandwiches, Movable Feast offers ready-to-run "express lunches." They are already packed, with utensils and napkins, in a two-layer compartmented plastic box, and the price is modest -- $4.50 -- for a choice of spiced chicken wings (eight juicy pieces), tarragon chicken salad or green salad, each accompanied by corn salad or black bean salad plus fruit salad and either roll or corn chips. This is well-prepared fresh food, plentifully portioned.
Movable Feast could use an express checkout for these lunches, but the cashier has been accommodating in trying to hurry you through for your train departure.
SURELY IT IS not meant as an antidote for slow service, but the current trend-in-the-making is pool tables in restaurants. First Faccia Luna, the pizza parlor at 2400 Wisconsin Ave. NW, added one six months ago, and now Alexandria's new Metropolis has opened with a pool table. So far I haven't had any inquiries about tipping or other matters of etiquette for pool-table dining, but I'm sure before long someone will want to know at least whether white wine or red is appropriate.
Phyllis C. Richman's restaurant reviews appear Sundays in The Washington Post Magazine.