In the time it takes you to finish reading this sentence, at least three new restaurants will have opened in D.C. OK, that’s a bit of a stretch, but it feels as though local dining options are expanding at breakneck speed. We surveyed the horde of newcomers and put together the following must-try list. All five of these restaurants come from industry veterans, and they’re all worth a visit.
Hank’s Pasta Bar
600 Montgomery St., Alexandria; 571-312-4117
Chefs and colleagues Jamie Leeds (founder of Hank’s Oyster Bar) and Nicolas Flores had long dreamed of collaborating on a pasta project. That led to them opening this pasta house that serves generous, lightly sauced portions of the carbs. Many of the pastas are the handiwork of “pasta mama” Mirabella Salamanca, who starts making the fresh stuff each morning. Why go to that effort? Not only does fresh pasta cook faster, Leeds says, but it’s more delicate and chewy. Becky Krystal (TWP)
Pineapple and Pearls
715 Eighth St. SE
Rose’s Luxury chef Aaron Silverman’s refined take on a java shop serves coffee drinks from Parlor Coffee in Brooklyn, tea, lemon-thyme shortbread cookies, several house-made rolls and a trio of sandwiches, including a grilled chicken chimichurri on olive oil brioche. All the breads and rolls are made in-house. The cafe is a prelude to Silverman’s soon-to-open tasting room housed in the back. The coffee bar does not have any seating until the patio becomes available in warmer weather. Everything is for takeaway. Tim Carman (TWP)
2121 14th St. NW; 202-332-9672
This Southern-inspired newcomer replaced Eatonville earlier this year. It’s under the same ownership (community activist Andy Shallal), though the kitchen is helmed by Joseph Paire III. Expect classics such as buttermilk-fried chicken skins, skillet mac and cheese and gumbo with cornbread. Cocktails come courtesy of mixologist Evan Cablayan. There’s also a globally minded vintage shop within the restaurant overseen by Desiree Venn Frederic of Nomad Yard Collectiv.
Tail Up Goat
1827 Adams Mill Road NW; 202-986-9600
The addition of Tail Up Goat continues to raise the dining bar in Adams Morgan. You’ll happily trade that soppy piece of jumbo slice for more carefully prepared foods with a Mediterranean bent. Run by a trio of Komi alumni (Jon Sybert, Jill Tyler and Bill Jensen), this cozy spot is packed with precious touches — from the poem at the front of the menu to the dreamy decor, including high, lofted ceilings. Both the service and the food will have you wanting to visit for a quick bite or a special occasion.
2100 Connecticut Ave. NW; 202-813-9715
Following the success of Sushi Capitol, his sushi restaurant on Capitol Hill, chef Minoru Ogawa opened his second act in Dupont. Sushi Ogawa serves more elevated eats in a more thoughtfully designed space, with an entrance made to resemble a stroll through Japanese side streets. You have a choice of eating
a la carte in the dining room or sidling up to the chef’s counter for a set omakase menu. You can’t go wrong with either, but the latter promises more twists and turns (with a higher check).
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