Derek Brown has found a chef to replace Javier Duran at The Passenger and Columbia Room , the twin bars he owns with his brother Tom: Joe Rumberger, the sous chef since January at Restaurant Nora .

Rumberger was one of “quite a few candidates” winnowed down to several people who were asked to do a tasting menu for the owners. “There were a couple (chefs) we really liked,” says Brown. “After Joe’s first dish,” he says he thought, “this guy is going to be great for us.”

Captivating Brown and company was “a simple take on a Caprese salad with local ingredients and agar agar-encapsulated sherry vinegar,” similar to tapioca beads. The opening course “showed technique but also reverence for the simplicity of the classics, something very close to our hearts.”

In the small world department, Rumberger previously cooked under chef Daniel Bortnick at Firefly in Dupont Circle, where Brown once served as manager.

The bar’s new chef starts August 25.