Picture yourself on a sunny afternoon playing shuffleboard -- real cruise ship-sized shuffleboard, not the tabletop version – on a restaurant patio while sipping on a frozen Last Word cocktail, or a White Russian made with habanero vodka and cookies-and-cream ice cream. Coming from the grill: lamb belly tacos, skewers and other finger foods. If the sun's too much, you can move inside to play checkers and dominoes.
Oh, and this is all a block from Logan Circle.
There are big plans for Radiator, the restaurant and bar in the Mason and Rook Hotel, which takes the place of the Hotel Helix later this spring. Where Helix Lounge was full of mod white banquettes and bright pops of color, Radiator will be more industrial, with garage doors and displays of vintage car parts. (The name comes from 14th Street's history as Washington's automotive district, full of showrooms and repair shops.)
Chef Jonathan Dearden heads the kitchen team, and while his descriptions of the menu can lapse into Restaurant Buzzword Bingo – "small plates," "food-focused," "ingredient-driven," "locally sourced" – he sounds serious about his approach. "I used to be a fine dining chef," explains the former executive chef at Ardeo/Bardeo and the luxury Andre Balazs Properties in the Hamptons. "But I want to do something unfussy, more exciting – more informal and approachable."
Dearden says the bar program will be a mix of pre-Prohibition classics with more modern touches, such as a Stinger with pineapple-infused brandy, and he's planning a bar menu that includes kimchi pickles and roasted romanesko with harissa. We'll get more details about the bar program once staff has been chosen. For now, we can just wait.
Radiator at the Mason and Rook Hotel. 1430 Rhode Island Ave. NW. 202-742-3100. masonandrookhotel.com.