new dining march

New Notable No Longer March 2016

Why: Korean food has moved from “trendy”’ to “staple”
Bibim was opened by a restaurant industry veteran so she wouldn’t have to drive to Annandale for good Korean food. The scallion pancakes are still a work in progress, but the homemade kimchi is on point.  BIBIM: 923 Sligo Ave. Silver Spring, MD; 301-565-2233;

Why: From sleek to splinters
Paul Bunyan meets Elvis in Oya Restaurant & Lounge’s makeover into a posh log cabin with electric purple carpets. The menu is New American (a.k.a. whatever the chef feels like making) and the cocktails are solid. We particularly love brunch, when we can order the $40 bourbon punch bowl (#SquadGoal: this bowl holds 15 glasses).  BOE:777 9th St. NW, DC; 202-393-1400;

Why: George Washington might have slept here
Colonial architecture meets New American cuisine at this first restaurant from local catering company The Joy of Eating. When daylight lasts longer (to better appreciate the view of the Potomac), this will be the place to take visiting parents – who will also, hopefully, foot the bill.  CEDAR KNOLL RESTAURANT: 9030 Lucia Ln. Fort Hunt, VA; 703-780-3665;

Why: Suspenders are back
The Columbia Room was one of DC’s first speakeasies, and the city’s drinkers collectively cursed the redevelopment that led to its closing. Now, however, we can rejoice at its reincarnation as a larger, multifaceted drink destination in ultra-trendy Blagden Alley. Details add up – spring water is sourced from spirits producing regions like Kentucky and Scotland – but as before, it’s worth the splurge.  COLUMBIA ROOM:124 Blagden Alley, NW, DC; 202-316-9396;

Why: The Cheesecake Factory meets wine tasting
This Illinois chain produces its own wine from a mix of grapes from around the world; their best seller is their almond sparkling wine, and their wine club has 160,000 members, making it the largest in the country. The idea of combining a full-service restaurant with a vineyard tasting room is surprisingly rare, and Cooper’s Hawk swoops in with a long New American menu to fill the void.  COOPER’S HAWK WINERY: 19870 Belmont Chase Dr. Ashburn, VA; 703-840-0999;

Why: Because every cocktail menu should have a $100 drink
The Left Door offers a short and stellar cocktail menu in an intimate space from cocktail god Tom Brown (Hogo, and brother of Derek). Go.  THE LEFT DOOR: 1345 S St. NW, DC; 202-734-8576;

Why: Think tank reception food
Hummus is a food group for Washington’s young professionals – but Little Sesame (from the DGS Delicatessen team upstairs) is Raman to your think tank’s Cup O’ Noodles. Hummus serves as the base for a variety of composed meals – the roasted beets are particularly popular.  LITTLE SESAME: 1306 18th St. NW, DC; 202-463-2104;

Why: Let’s get pisco’d
We were sad there was no cuy – a Peruvian delicacy of fried/roasted guinea pig – on the menu at this restaurant (with small influences from Japanese settlers), but the creative range of strong pisco cocktails cheered us up. We loved the super-rich Mochica Leche (pisco, carob syrup, evaporated milk, conceded milk and egg yolk). NAZCA MOCHICA: 633 P St. NW, DC; 202-733-3170;

Why: Ye Olde Worlde experience
This cheerful, local chain features an extensive menu of “tavern fare” (think fish and chips and shepherd’s pie). With footie (a.k.a. soccer) on the telly, you might consider this a kind of staycation.  PARK LANE TAVERN: 3227 Washington Blvd. Arlington, VA; 703-465-2337;

Why: Eden Center needs the competition
Customize your order via iPad kiosk at this Vietnamese fast-casual; the winner on the menu is the banh mi.  ROLLPLAY: 8150 Leesburg Pike, Vienna, VA; 703-891-5595;

Why: The bus to NYC takes too long
Public House Collective opens its first cocktail bar outside of Manhattan. This intimate, high-ceilinged ode to libations is a transplant we welcome without hesitation. QUARTER + GLORY: 2017 14th St. NW, DC; 202-450-5757;

Why: Mainstream Korean
Fast, casual Korean comfort food à la Chipotle, fun bevvies (yogurt-soju cocktail on tap!) and the owner is also the National Symphony Orchestra’s Acting Principal Percussion Chair.  SEOULSPICE: 145 N St. NE, DC;

Why: Strong cocktails and red meat
This family-owned business is a great addition to Wheaton. And they’re luring the brunch crowd with their $22 “Hair of the Dog” all-you-can-eat brunch buffet, which includes three bloodies or mimosas. The Red Line is for pre-gaming, right?  SQUIRE’S ROCK CREEK CHOPHOUSE: 2405 Price Ave. Silver Spring, MD; 301-933-8616;

Why: “Tail up goat, tail down sheep”
Learn to tell your animals apart at this buzzy Mediterranean in AdMo from Komi alumni.  TAIL UP GOAT: 1827 Adams Mill Rd. NW, DC; 202-986-9600;

Why: The Ghostwood Development, with Jensen Old Tom gin, sapin liquer, Salmiakki Dala Fernet, port, whole egg  and savory spices
From the folks behind Hank’s Oyster Bar comes this mellow libation destination in Petworth where you can actually have a conversation without shouting.  TWISTED HORN: 819 Upshur St. NW, DC; 202-290-1808;

Why: Iconic, almost
Whisky Magazine shortlisted Catoctin for three of their Icons of Whisky awards (including Master Distiller of the Year for cofounder Becky Harris!) Next year, they’re a sure thing.  CATOCTIN CREEK DISTILLING COMPANY: 120 West Main St. Purcellville, VA; 540-751-8404;

Why: A phoenix
Congrats to neighborhood fave Kefa Café for getting back on its feet and reopening after a devastating fire.  KEFA CAFÉ: 963 Bonifant St. Silver Spring, MD; 301-589-9337;

Why: A winner
KO Distilling took home the award for “Virginia Moonshine Distillery of the Year” at the sixth annual New York International Spirits Competition.  KO DISTILLING: 10381 Central Park Dr. Manassas, VA; 571-292-1115;


  • Crios Modern Mexican
  • Posto
  • Rogue 25

Shirlington is abuzz thanks to Palette 22, a creative space for enjoying street food-inspired cuisine while also checking out the eclectic works of local artists. The coolest part? Two of the artists-in-residence will always be working in the restaurant during lunch and dinner, so you can sneak a peek at their latest masterpieces and chat them up. Four murals by local street artists, including one by Aniekan Udofia – best known for his portrait of Chuck Brown, Bill Cosby, President Obama and Donnie Simpson on the side of Ben’s Chili Bowl – also cover the Arlington eatery’s walls.

Palette 22’s Arts Director, Cara Rose Leepson, says, “Art is unavoidable in this place. It’s going to be talked about, whether [people] like it or they don’t. If they’re having some kind of reaction, in my mind that makes it successful artwork.”

Graham Duncan, the Corporate Executive Chef for Alexandria Restaurant Partners (Palette 22 is the newest member), put together the globally-inspired street food and small plates menu, describing his creations as “accessible and bright, with punctuated flavors.” Each dish comes out of the open-display kitchen’s huge 900-degree oven in a matter of minutes. Duncan’s faves include the fried watermelon and Halloumi (also our top pick thus far) and vegan ceviche.  PALETTE 22: 4053 Campbell Ave. Arlington, VA; 703-746-9007;