new dining dc
Photos courtesy of Greg Powers Photography, Hen Quarter, Daniel Williams, Alex McCoy, Farrah Skeiky, Joy Asico and The Bird

New Notable No Longer: September 2016

On Tap keeps locals in the know about the latest and greatest food and drink locales around town, our top foodie picks for the month, and spots that have recently closed their doors. Read on to get the inside scoop on what’s new, notable and no longer in the DC area.

Location: Cleveland Park
Lowdown: Indian street food
Ashok Bajaj didn’t need to find a new location for his latest restaurant. Instead, he just carved a space for Bindaas in Ardeo + Bardeo in Cleveland Park, bumping his new American bistro to one side to make room for his Indian street food-inspired venture. The two spots work surprising well together in an open concept space divided only by a bar, with Chef Vikram Sunderam (Rasika, Bombay Club) at the helm, crafting a lineup of affordable tapas-style dishes that highlight traditional fare served by street vendors in India. The Bindaas salad (papaya, mango, jackfruit and chickpea), the crab idiyappam with string hopper, coconut milk and curry leaf and the chooza kebab with chicken, makhani sauce and fenugreek are among the crowd favorites, according to the chef. As for his own top picks? “As a chef, all the dishes on the menu are equally dear to me,” he says. Fair enough, Chef Sunderam. We’ll just have to check it out for ourselves.  Bindaas: 3309 Connecticut Ave. NW, DC;

Hen Quarter
Location: Old Town Alexandria
Lowdown: Upscale Southern fare
Hen Quarter is the perfect location to satisfy your hankering for Southern comfort food while keeping it classy. The former Austin Grill on the corner of King and North Washington in Old Town Alexandria has been transformed into a charming space with a warm, authentic ambiance that “all comes together in a way that hopefully makes you want to come back again and again, because you feel like you belong,” says Pheast Food Group’s Robyn Leenaerts. Hen Quarter is the group’s first new concept, with inventive takes on Southern fare like the deviled hen eggs (bread and butter pickle relish, hickory smoked bacon, chive and smoked paprika) and belly pops (skewered smoked pork belly with brown sugar brûlée). But the true pièce de résistance is the chicken and waffles – all-natural fried chicken made with the group’s proprietary breading mix, waffles made with corn, cheese and a bit of leek, and maple syrup made with bourbon and “the sweetest watermelon you’re ever going to taste,” according to Leenaerts. In keeping with the Southern theme, Hen Quarter’s Brown 75 highlights the restaurant’s top 75 bourbons, ryes and whiskies, in addition to free-range cocktails that offer an original twist on classic drinks. Leenaerts puts it best: Hen Quarter is a great spot to enjoy “craveable food from your best childhood memories – kicked up a notch in flavor.” Hen Quarter: 801 King St. Alexandria, VA;

Logan Circle
Lowdown: Keeping it simple
Kingfisher is a no-frills neighborhood bar with a retro vibe and straightforward drink menu, plus an old-school jukebox and bring-your-own-food rule – my kind of place. One might liken it to a more alternative, laidback dive like Bloomingdale’s Showtime, but perhaps with a more varied customer base given its Logan Circle location and seasoned co-owners (former Iron Horse GM Daniel Williams and Big Chief’s Ben Sislen, with Jackpot and Iron Horse’s Sam Buis as manager). Kingfisher has a Tin Shop look to it but on a smaller scale, with furnishings by Ivy City Trading Company’s Carter Anderson and graphic design by artist Billy Colbert, who has a gallery space in Ivy City’s Hyphen. Old General Motors plant workbenches and carnival ride parts are just some of the materials used to give Kingfisher its vintage look. Williams says the concept for the cocktail menu is simplicity, put together by Proof’s Abby Sexton. “All we asked was for it to be delicious, fast, not overly complicated, and we didn’t mind a little muddling, but please don’t ask us to slap anything to awaken the aromas,” he says. “She nailed it.” Kingfisher is also a can-only joint, offering a solid range of canned beers and wines that Williams says allow the bar to carry more options. “The stuff that’s getting put in cans is really good,” he says. “Really, really good.” So swing by the bar for a drink, plus trivia on Tuesdays from Geeks Who Drink and a soon-to-be up and running jukebox that Williams says will be the only place in DC where you can hear Lawrence Welk playing non-stop. “Because who doesn’t want to drink when they hear a good polka?” Kingfisher: 1414 14th St. NW, DC;

Location: 14th Street Corridor
Lowdown: Asian-Latin fusion
Sakerum takes culinary innovation to the next level, with a refreshingly original menu from executive chef Khan Gayabazar that blends the flavors of Asian and Latin fare. One of the most buzzworthy dishes at the sushi bar and restaurant is the yaki tako (tender octopus with mango and oranges), according to owner Stephanos Andreou (also a partner at Dupont’s Barcode). Andreou is particularly smitten with the Mar y Tierra roll, “our version of a surf-and-turf with lobster tail and wagyu beef.” Add a stunningly bold and eclectic interior, year-round rooftop bar and cocktail maven Gina Chersevani’s input to the mix, and Sakerum has all of the makings of DC’s trendiest new dining spot. Chersevani’s insider knowledge of rare sake and rum, and ability to conjure up the Wandering Samurai (just a little ‘ol libation made with six pieces of sashimi and served ablaze), will keep cocktail connoisseurs and adventurous drinkers alike on their toes and eager for more.  Sakerum: 2204 14th St. NW, DC;

Tchoup’s Market
Location: Park View
Lowdown: A nod to the Big Easy
There’s no place like home for Alex McCoy, who has transformed his recent pop-up Alfie’s into Tchoup’s Market, an authentic New Orleans restaurant. McCoy grew up in the Big Easy – his mom still lives on Magazine Street – and he’s all about representing the city as it is, and not just as the Mardi Gras-beaded party central on Bourbon Street that many people think of. “At Tchoup’s, we are who we are and we are defined by the people who work here, the food we make and the traditions that have raised us,” he says. “No bells and whistles, no foams or emulsions, no fancy pomp and circumstance. Just good food, good company and a good time. That’s what it’s all about.” Tchoup’s has a family-run vibe, with a menu full of McCoy’s own family recipes and dishes that remind him of home-cooked meals down South. Po’ boys are prominent on the menu (choose from shrimp, oyster, catfish and roast beef), but he notes the gumbo (his grandmother’s recipe), red beans and rice, hot chicken, and shrimp Arnaud as other signature dishes worth checking out. Tchoup’s also offers a rotating selection of craft and local beers – plus some NOLA classics – and a fall lineup that includes trivia, happy hours, football on the projector screen and TVs, and special events. Soon enough, McCoy will be adding a raw bar and hosting live music at his home away from home. The only thing missing? “All I need is my mom yelling at me from the kitchen to help her chop onions for the Arnaud sauce.”  Tchoup’s Market: 3301 Georgia Ave. NW, DC;

Vieux Carre
Location: K Street
Lowdown: Nawlins-inspired cocktails
Seth McClelland wants you to be immediately transported to the Big Easy when you step inside Vieux Carre. The cocktail bar’s creative director got it right, because one foot in the elegant double doors and I was feeling nostalgic for one of my favorite cities. “The spirit of New Orleans begins with our baroque design and cocktails that all originated in or are inspired by the Crescent City, then is finished with Southern hip-hop and po’ boys,” McClelland says. The dark walls, opulent lighting and wrought-iron mezzanine have all of the charm of the French Quarter (and thankfully, none of the chaos), with a cocktail menu that pays homage to the city’s famous cocktails. McClelland says the Vieux Carre (rye, brandy, sweet vermouth, Benedictine and bitters) and hurricane – watch out, this one can be deadly – (rum, passion fruit, orange and lime juice, and grenadine) are the most popular on the menu thus far. Guests can soak up some of the alcohol this fall with po’ boys, Cajun fries and dipping sauces from the late-night kitchen. Check the Nawlins-style spot’s website for details about a grand opening party early this month.  Vieux Carre: 1413 K St. NW, DC;

Just Opened
Bên Tre: 2418 18th St. NW, DC
Buredo: 1213 Connecticut Ave. NW, DC;
Devon & Blakely: 601 Massachusetts Ave. NW, DC;
The Dirty Goose: 913 U St. NW, DC;
Emissary: 2032 P St. NW, DC;
Haikan: 805 V St. NW, DC;
The Haymaker: 1015 H St. NE, DC;
Ice Cream Jubilee: 1407 T St. NW, DC;
Nando’s PERi-PERi: 2631 Connecticut Ave. NW, DC;
On Rye: 6th and H Street, NW, DC;
Osteria Al Volo: 1790 Columbia Rd. NW, DC;
The Passenger : 1539 7th St. NW, DC; www.passengerdc.comSaxby’s Coffee: 1303 19th St. NW, DC;
Reren Lamen: 817 7th St. NW, DC;  Maryland
Brother Jimmy’s: 177 Fleet St. Oxon Hill, MD;
Honu Hawaiian Barbecue: 9201 Woodmore Center Dr. #404, Lanham-Seabrook, MD;
Modern Market: 4930 Elm St. Bethesda, MD;
TapaBar: 4901 A. Fairmont Ave. Bethesda, MD;  

Aggio: 20462 Exchange St. Ashburn, VA;
Boru Ramen: 2915 Columbia Pike, Arlington, VA
Burton’s Grill & Bar: 21434 Epicerie Plaza, Sterling, VA;
Colada Shop: 21430 Epicerie Plaza, Sterling, VA ;
Coton and Rye : 44050 Woodridge Pkwy. Leesburg, VA;
District Dumplings: 2985 District Ave. #110, Fairfax, VA;
Halal Guys: 6304 Springfield Plaza, Springfield, VA and 2670 Avenir Pl. Dunn Loring, VA;
Honeygrow: 1100 S. Hayes St., Arlington, VA;
Live Oak: 1603 Commonwealth Ave. Alexandria, VA;
Matchbox: 1100 S. Hayes St. Arlington, VA;
Myron Mixon’s Pitmaster Barbeque: 220 N. Lee St. Alexandria, VA;
Ocean Blue: 21438 Epicerie Plaza, Sterling, VA;
Room 19: The Carlyle Club, 2050 Ballenger Ave. Alexandria, VA;
Taco Bamba: 164 Maple Ave. W. Vienna, VA;
Uptown Alley: 8300 Sudley Rd. Manassas, VA;
Vola’s Dockside Grill and Hi-Tide Lounge: 101 N. Union St. Alexandria, VA;

The Bird Pop-Up
Logan Circle
Bird is the word
On Saturday, September 17 and Sunday, September 18, Logan Circle’s The Pig will host a poultry-themed pop-up for Shaw’s The Bird, opening next month. The latest eatery from EatWell DC will highlight “four seasons of foul,” with globally-inspired “beak-to-toe” dishes that range from chicken, duck and turkey to quail, goose and ostrich – and their eggs. The pop-up’s brunch offerings (available from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.) will include a sampling of starters and breakfast meats, according to Chef Michael Bonk, a “birdcuterie board” with capon rillettes, duck prosciutto, pheasant galntine, mustards, pickles and toast, and egg dishes like the duck hash and smoked chicken benedict with brined, smoked and pulled Amish organic chicken, poached eggs, yuzu hollandaise and biscuits. If you’re out and about later in the day, check out the “early bird at the bar” options (available from 3 to 7 p.m.), like duck fat-roasted nuts, the fried chicken and biscuit sandwich or popcorn seasoned with a salt made from dehydrated chicken skins. EatWell Owner David Winer tells On Tap that The Bird is another opportunity “for us show the dinning public that food and dining can and should be fun, as well as showcase the fresh vegetables from our own farm, EatWell Natural, in La Plata, Md.” Don’t miss the sneak peek this month before the real deal opens mid-October. The Bird Pop-Up at The Pig: 1320 14th St. NW, DC;

Toli Moli Stays Put
Location: Union Market
Lowdown: Falooda pop-up finds a home
Mother-daughter team Jocelyn Law-Yone (or Chef JoJo) and Simone Jacobson are pros at running pop-ups, with four under their collective belt. Their most recent pop-up at Union Market this summer earned them a brand new – and more permanent – spot at NoMA’s foodie hub, giving them the opportunity to start serving more Burmese fare. Up until now, the gals exclusively served falooda, a dessert drink often consumed as a street snack in Southeast Asia and the Middle East. Toli Moli’s colorful, layered treats are made completely from scratch – the jellies, noodle pudding and syrups. Jacobson says the love and care she and her mom put into each layer of their faloodas is one of the reasons why folks appreciate their signature snacks. She walked me through a few of her faves, including the black eye (cold-brew coffee jellies, condensed milk, basil seeds, noodle pudding, vanilla ice cream, iced coffee and coffee-oat crumble) and the all-vegan mango mogul topped with a dollop of Dolcezza’s “velvety champagne mango sorbet,” and it made me want to eat all the things. Don’t forget to try the Burmese noodle salads, just added to Toli Moli’s menu at the end of August. Toli Moli at Union Market: 1309 5th St. NE, DC;

American Tap Room in Clarendon
The Boulevard Woodgrill in Clarendon
Cappy’s Crabs in Petworth
Chez Billy in Petworth
Chili’s in Crystal City
Czars 11 International Tapas, and its affiliated Exhale Bar, in Adams Morgan
Matuba in Bethesda
Panache Restaurant in Dupont Circle
Ping Pong Dim Sum in Penn Quarter
Pollo Granjero in Adams Morgan
Radius Pizza in Mount Pleasant
Sushi Go Round in Chinatown
Yamas Mediterranean Grill in Adams Morgan

Photos courtesy of Greg Powers Photography, Hen Quarter, Daniel Williams, Alex McCoy, Farrah Skeiky, Joy Asico and The Bird