new dining dc
DDG photo: The Majestic photo: Monica Alford

New, Notable, No Longer: June 2016

On Tap keeps locals in the know about the latest and greatest food and drink hotspots around town, plus our top foodie picks for the month.


Order: Fois gras French toast
Hotel restaurants are generally decent, but Kimpton remains the shining exception. The Masons/masonry-derived name underlines the modernized and posh colonial vibe, and the cocktail list focuses on colonial spirits (rum, madeira) – but there’s also a carrot-ginger mimosa at brunch that we can’t resist. Ashlar: 116 South Alfred St. #101, Alexandria, VA;

Barley Mac
Order: Bone Daddy (Old Grand Dad bourbon, Cinzano Bianco, celery and hopped grapefruit bitters)
Rosslyn is no longer just the sleepy front door to the Clarendon frat boy party corridor – it is now a destination in its own right. The latest addition has an American menu and a whiskey bar (with 100 different bottles, including 50 bourbons), and will be open until 2 a.m. Barley Mac: 1600 Wilson Blvd. Arlington, VA;

Order: Nocino (Don Ciccio Nocino, sherry, bourbon, bitters and almond tea smoke)
The theme is communal campfire, and smoke is treated as a normal ingredient on the menu, which also features a whole section devoted to s’mores. Raspberry pistachio s’mores, anyone?  Bonfire: 1132 19th St. NW, DC;

Buttercream Bake Shop 
Order: Everything
No more anticipatory salivation: DC’s sugar fiends can finally unleash their jitters at this hotly anticipated carb den. No sweet tooth? It’s okay: the croissants are buttery, the sandwiches are on homemade bread and there’s a breakfast pastry stuffed with scrambled eggs. Buttercream Bake Shop: 1250 9th St. NW, DC;

Duck Duck Goose
Order: Duck l’orange (bourbon, Grand Marnier, and maple and duck bacon lolli)
We heart this updated French brasserie with its bank of corner windows – no gimmicks, just beautifully made food and charming cocktails. Duck Duck Goose: 7929 Norfolk Ave. Bethesda, MD;

Lahinch Tavern & Grill 
Order: Boneless beef short rib shepherd’s pie
The Hughes Family (the Irish Inn at Glen Echo) welcomes Irish Inn Chef Ted Hughes (no relation) to the owners’ circle at Lahinch, a neighborhood Irish American pub featuring fresh, locally-sourced interpretations of Irish cuisine. Lahinch Tavern & Grill: 7747 Tuckerman Ln. Potomac, MD;

The Majestic
An institution in Old Town Alexandria, The Majestic has been reinvented multiple times since it first opened in 1932. Now under the Alexandria Restaurant Partners umbrella, the restaurant has just reopened with a new interior blending art deco with contemporary flair. Executive Chef Gaby Hakman says the simplicity and presentation of what she makes reflects who she is as a chef. “I want the plates to appear as if they might have been served from a kitchen in someone’s home in the countryside or from a small bistro in an oceanside town – easy, comfortable, approachable,” she says. Standout dishes include the baked feta with za’atar, chilies and country bread for $8 and the pot of mussels with tomato, wine, Calabrian chilies and frites for $18. The Majestic: 911 King St. Alexandria, VA;

Ottoman Taverna 
Order: At the Sultan’s Table
Restaurants remain an easy form of staycation, and Ottoman Taverna will transport you to the eastern Mediterranean in a heartbeat (or however long it takes you to open the door). The onyx-topped bar was mined in Turkey, and the walls of “evil eyes” will stave off jealous onlookers while you gorge on moussaka, Turkish coffee and Cappadocian wine. Ottoman Taverna: 425 I St. NW, DC;

Pow Pow
Order: Gluten-free fried chicken
Fast-casual Asian-fusion from the folks behind Lavagna – but no, this is not a Chipotle-style assembly line. Instead, select from a “curated” list of fresh, “chef-driven” bowls. The locals are raving, so we’ll stop the air quotes. Pow Pow: 1253 H St. NE, DC;

Order: Ricotta Situation (mahia fig spirit, ricotta, lemon, raw honey and vanilla)
Cocktail bar Radiator is, like fellow newbie Ashlar, in a beautifully overhauled Kimpton hotel, Mason & Rook (formerly Hotel Helix). But this one-ups the trendy factor. Stellar cocktail menu – check. Board games – check. Bacon-scented candles – well, not quite, but almost. We still love it. Radiator: 1430 Rhode Island Ave. NW, DC;

Republic Restoratives
Order: Civic vodka
Crowd-funded, women-owned, craft-made – you’re feeling all tingly already, aren’t you? Stay focused: thankfully, this beautiful distillery and cocktail bar is pouring some good drinks (priorities, folks). For now, it’s all about their Civic vodka – the bourbon is aging and therefore about 18 months away from our glasses. Incidentally, they are perfectly located for a distillery crawl: Jos A. Magnus, One Eight and New Columbia are all within a few blocks. Republic Restoratives: 1369 New York Ave. NE, DC;

Saison Wafel Bar
Order: Breakfast for dinner
Sometimes, dinner really should be a waffle topped with smoked salmon and a poached egg. We love this new Union Market counter opened by former Belgian embassy chef Jan Van Haute, which features a range of sweet and savory toppings for the made-to-order wafels. We also heart the pearl sugar-studded liege wafels, which are hard to find outside Belgium. Saison Wafel Bar: 1309 5th St. NE, DC;

Order: Cashew hummus
This stretch of K Street has been under construction for so long, we were startled one night to see Shouk’s bright lights beaming out of the preserved brick house that’s been so carefully slotted into a glass high-rise. We were doubly delighted to discover a 100 percent plant-based take on Mediterranean staples. Oh, and wine on tap. Shouk: 655 K St. NW, DC;

Order: A flight
With 40 taps and 100 different bottles, Bethesda has a new beer mecca in Tapp’d. And there’s an app for it: by using TapHunter, drinkers can see the rotating beer selection in real time on their phones. We also love that there’s a second happy hour that starts at 11 p.m. Tapp’d: 4915 St. Elmo Ave. Bethesda, MD;

The Den
Why: Literary eats
The basement café in Politics & Prose has been overhauled. We take note because now we can order “pie fries” (strips of cinnamon sugar-dusted pie crust served with pie filling for dipping) while we read our 1,000-page biography of Mao. Oh, and wine. The Den (inside Politics & Prose): 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW, DC;

Bistro Francais
Bistrot Royal
Cashion’s Eat Place
Crane & Turtle

DDG photo: 
The Majestic photo: Monica Alford