John Manolatos bought this beloved foodie hangout from his longtime bosses, Ann Cashion and John Fulchino, over a year ago. Any plans to replace the sign out front now that he’s the top dog? “With all the changes in D.C., new restaurants from out of town, I thought it would be really cool to keep Cashion’s as it is,” says the 34-year-old chef. Wise move. And smarter still for him to maintain the high quality -- the designer ingredients, the intriguing wine list -- promoted from Day One at the modern American restaurant in Adams Morgan. Regular customers can still find veal sweetbreads, goat cheese souffles and signs that Cashion is a Mississippi native (notice the collard greens slipped between sheets of pasta in the mushroom lasagna?). But these days, the ever-changing menu also acknowledges Manolatos’s heritage, with vegetable spreads among the appetizers and Greek sweets among the desserts. Indeed, one of the best dishes at a recent dinner was plump grilled quail, rubbed with hot spices and served with a chickpea curry. And one of the best hunks of meat for a mile remains the bison rib-eye, massaged with Middle Eastern spices and draped in a cloak that’s as sweet with honey as it is zesty with ancho. Some servers are smoother than others, and not every dish is something to text home about. But it’s a comfort to return to this warmly lit room and a pleasure to find the rear walls dressed, as always, with the family photos of the principals. (That’s the chef’s dad watching over the kitchen entrance.)
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