dining in dc

New Notable No Longer: March 2017

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.


Colada Shop’s DC Location
Open: February 1
Location: 14th Street Corridor
Lowdown: A taste of authentic Cuban culture
The buzzworthy Cuban coffee and cocktail bar is now in the District, after opening its first location last summer in Sterling, Va. Colada’s Communications Director, Maru Valdes, says the DC spot is a cozier interpretation of the Loudoun County flagship, but both locations have the same energy and radiant atmosphere. “Colada Shop is the story of the rich history between Cuba and the U.S., and where the authentic bold flavors of both countries come to life,” Valdes says. “There is a fascinating story behind Colada Shop that marries two seemingly different cultures under the same roof: the contemporary lifestyles of Washingtonians with the Cuban culture of sharing and social gathering.” Valdes says customers are really digging Colada’s Cubano sandwich (slow-roasted pork shoulder, Swiss cheese, cured ham, pickles and a signature mojo sauce, with a veggie option also available) and classic piña coladas. For an authentic Cuban experience, check out the Calle Ocho beverage menu (featuring eight specialty cocktails all priced at $8), or the Colada (a 40-oz., Cuban-style espresso meant to be shared). Colada Shop: 1405 T St. NW, DC; www.coladashop.com

La Puerta Verde
Open: January 17
Location: Ivy City
Lowdown: Mexican cuisine, industrial vibe
Ivy City’s new culinary hotspot had been part of the Mindful Restaurant Group’s master plan for some time now, according to the group’s director of operations, Brian Zaslavsky. The group’s founder, Ari Gejdenson, (Dock FC, Sotto, Ghibellina and Ari’s Diner are among his other locations), knew the up-and-coming ‘hood would be the ideal place to connect his love of Mexican cuisine and culture with his beloved home in Northeast DC. Zaslavsky says it’s important to the group to create neighborhood restaurants, providing an integral and everyday place for local communities to gather and connect. Ivy City’s “organic, gritty and creative” evolution into one of the city’s hippest new areas really resonated with Gejdenson and his team. “Ari and his design team have created an incredible environment that transports you to Mexico, but at same time really pays homage to the industrial and warehouse feel of Ivy City,” Zaslavsky says. Locals are raving about the guacamole, made with a unique twist by Chef Camacho, who grills the avocados first. Other favorites are the carne arrachera (grilled skirt steak with traditional accompaniments), camerones a la diabla (head of shrimp with slightly spicy chipotle tomato sauce), the margarita with a hint of cilantro and the michelada. Zaslavsky strongly recommends the mezgroni, a play on a negroni using smoky mezcal and amaro. La Puerta Verde: 2001 Fenwick St. NE, DC; www.lapuertaverdedc.com

Open: February 17
Location: H Street
Lowdown: Mediterranean variety and social traditions
H Street’s brand new Mediterranean restaurant is all about variety, with husband-and-wife team and co-owners Mike and Hatice Rosato striving to switch up the menu on a regular basis to feature the fare of as many of the 23 countries along the Mediterranean Sea as possible. “Our inspiration is simply our love for the Mediterranean culture and lifestyle in which food, coffee and wine are almost always shared at leisure with family and friends in a comfortable environment,” Hatice Rosato says. “When you are in the Mediterranean, whether you are a houseguest or dining out, you always take time for yourself, and your friends and family, and savor your food and enjoy life.” Rosato is Turkish, and grew up eating a primarily plant-based diet. She and her husband combine her vegetarian/vegan influences with meat-lover options (such as the porchetta sandwich and whole fish), all with flavor and spice combinations reminiscent of the region. Customers are encouraged to swing by Sospeso for a cup of coffee; Rosato quotes the Turkish saying, “One cup of coffee can be remembered for 40 years” when emphasizing the symbolism of drinking coffee as a way to strengthen Mediterranean social relations. The lemon swath shakerato (espresso, milk and sugar shaken over ice until frothy) and her husband’s Sicilian mourner cocktail (marsala, dry vermouth, almond grappa, squid ink and angostura) are among her favorites, or choose from their Southern Italian, Greek, Lebanese and Balkan wine list. Sospeso: 1344 H St. NE, DC; www.sospesodc.com


AMP by Strathmore’s Revamped Menu
Start date: January
Location: Bethesda
Lowdown: Concert fare worth trying
If you’re a music nerd like me, then you’re probably familiar with the lineup of local music venues that serve food. Generally speaking, the options are pretty limited and, for lack of a better term, “Eh.” And if you’re also making a concerted effort to eat healthy like me, or prefer something a little more upscale, then chicken tenders and burgers are probably not up your alley when catching a show. Enter AMP by Strathmore, the intimate music venue in Bethesda’s Pike & Rose neighborhood known for its unique lineup of jazz, bluegrass and rock acts (check out our next issue for an interview with Dengue Fever, performing at AMP on April 22). AMP kicked off 2017 with a revamped food and drink menu, and full waiter service. Concertgoers can enjoy sharable plates like the Korean spiced BLT sliders, steamed edamame, prosciutto or tomato-fennel flatbreads, Cuban or roasted vegetable paninos, among other options. For those that do want to splurge, cheesesteak spring rolls, boardwalk fries and other treats are available. AMP’s new menu also includes craft beers on tap, specialty cocktails, and a range of wines by the glass or bottle. Andrew Chalfant, the senior vice president of operations at Ridgewells (the Bethesda-based catering company that provides all of AMP’s fare), says the menu is meant to match the vibe of AMP. “It’s a very unique and modern place, and we feel the menu offered complements the space nicely,” he says. “[I’m] not aware that you can get such high-end food and beverage options at a live music venue [anywhere else] in the heart of Montgomery County.” AMP by Strathmore: 11810 Grand Park Ave. North Bethesda, MD; www.ampbystrathmore.com

Blue Duck Tavern’s New Pastry Chef, Erin Reed
Start date: January
Location: Georgetown
Lowdown: Nostalgic desserts with a hint of Pennsylvania
Blue Duck Tavern’s brand new pastry chef is creating quite a buzz in the city, with a dessert menu featuring unique concoctions like the caramelia Bavarian (with Cope’s Corn ice cream from Pennsylvania Dutch Country, sage cream and fried sage) and rosemary olive oil cake with grapefruit. Pennsylvania native Erin Reed comes to Blue Duck, which she says really fits her style, after a few years with the RW Restaurant Group at Marcel’s as pastry sous chef and most recently at Old Town Alexandria’s Brabo as pastry chef. Before that, she worked at DGBG in City Center and back in her home state at Starr Restaurant Group’s Buddakan in Philly. Reed says she’s trying to bring a sense of nostalgia to the menu, using Blue Duck’s Americana vibe as an opportunity to bring in a lot of her own personal influences and memories from her childhood into her desserts, something she’s never really been able to do before. Her current menu has a big Pennsylvania influence, and she’s already got her spring menu outlined including a play on her mom’s rice pudding (with strawberry sorbet, fresh strawberries and green tea) and a banana fluffernutter sandwich reconstructed with a frozen banana parfait, tempura-fried marshmallows, toast cream and peanut butter powder. When it comes to her personal dessert preferences, Reed likes to keep things simple. Apple crisp is her fave, as long as it’s served cold. Blue Duck Tavern: 1201 24th St. NW, DC; www.blueducktavern.com

Catoctin Creek/Coton & Rye’s Signature Whiskey Launch Party
Date: March 23
Location: Leesburg
Lowdown: Limited-edition Virginia whiskey
Loudoun County-based Catoctin Creek Distilling Company and restaurant/tavern Coton & Rye (inside Lansdowne Resort and Spa) are teaming up to create a private barrel whiskey. Catoctin Founder, VP and GM Scott Harris says the limited-edition whiskey is spicy because of the rye, with a hint of grassy hay (unique to this variety of Leesburg rye provided by Three Monkeys Farm), and rich notes of toffee, butterscotch and tanned leather. At the launch party on March 23, folks can try Lansdowne original the Cherry Blossom Julep, and the classic Boulevardier, created by Harry McElhone from Harry’s New York Bar in Paris in or around 1930. Harris also recommends drinking a Sazerac or Old Fashioned with the spirit, and says he and his wife Becky, Catoctin President and Chief Distiller, will share how the rye was grown, harvested and made into whiskey with interested party guests. The event runs from 6-8 p.m., and tickets are $35. Visit Eventbrite for details. Coton & Rye: 44050 Woodridge Pkwy. Leesburg, VA; www.destinationhotels.com/lansdowne-resort/dining/coton-and-rye


Armand’s on Capitol Hill
Avenue Jack in Dupont
The BBQ Joint at Union Market
Bonfire in Dupont
Chao Ku in Shaw
Clyde’s in Tysons
Mad Rose in Clarendon
Mai Thai in Georgetown
Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt in Arlington
Naples Ristorante in Bethesda
Pasara Thai in Dupont
Piassa Ethio Cuisine & Cafe in Shaw
Sea Catch Restaurant & Raw Bar in Georgetown
The Shaw Bijou in Shaw
Yamas Mediterranean Grill in Adams Morgan
Table in Shaw
Water & Wall in Virginia Square
Z Pizza on H Street
Zengo in Chinatown


Modern Market: 1010 Vermont Ave. NW, DC; www.modernmarket.com
Pidzza: 2000 Hecht Ave. NE, DC; www.pidzza.com
Red Apron Burger Bar: 1323 Connecticut Ave. NW, DC; www.redapronburgerbar.com
Rōti Modern Mediterranean: 2221 I St. NW, DC; www.roti.com
The Smith: 901 F St. NW, DC; www.thesmithrestaurant.com
Sweet Science Coffee: 1847 Columbia Rd. NW, DC; www.sweetsciencecoffee.com
Sylvan Cafe and Bakery: 104 Rhode Island Ave. NW, DC; www.sylvancafe.com
Tiger Fork: 922 N. St. NW, DC; www.tigerforkdc.com
Umaya Izakaya: 733 10th St. NW, DC; www.umayadc.com
Union Kitchen Grocery: 1251 9th St. NW, DC; www.unionkitchendc.com
Wet Dog Tavern: 2100 Vermont Ave. NW, DC; www.facebook.com/wetdogdc

Ditto Shanghai Bao Kitchen: 7101 Democracy Blvd. Bethesda, MD; www.shanghai66.weebly.com
Olivia Macaron: 7101 Democracy Blvd. Bethesda, MD; www.oliviamacaron.com
Yum Crepes: 7101 Democracy Blvd. Bethesda, MD

Alta Strada Mosaic: 2910 District Ave. Fairfax, VA; www.altastrada-mosaic.com
Baba: 2901 Wilson Blvd. Arlingon, VA; www.baba.bar
The Block: 4221 John Marr Dr. Annandale, VA
Choolaah Indian BBQ: 2911 District Ave. Suite 100, Fairfax, VA; www.choolaah.com
EatsPlace: 105 N. Union St. Alexandria, VA; www.eatsplace.com
Fogo de Chao: 1775 Tysons Blvd. McLean, VA; www.fogodechao.com
Heroic Aleworks: 14910 Persistence Dr. Woodbridge, VA; www.heroicaleworks.com
Pamplona: 3100 Clarendon Blvd. Arlington, VA; www.pamplonava.com
Quinn’s on the Corner: 1776 Wilson Blvd. Arlington, VA; www.quinnsonthecorner.com