Big dining news for the H Street Corridor yesterday: Toki Underground’s Erik Bruner-Yang is a semifinalist for the prestigious James Beard award in the Rising Star of the Year category. James Beard awards are a huge deal in the restaurant industry, and Bruner-Yang’s nomination is a testament not only to his hard work but the quality of H Street’s dining scene as a whole. The James Beard Foundation will present its finalists on March 24th in New York City. Congrats Erik!
Last summer, NoMa came close to getting a beer garden in the vacant lot in between the NoMa-Gallaudet Metro station and the Flats 130 apartment building (at 150 M Street, NE). The large lot has previously been used as a construction staging area but is now vacant for the time being. At that time, negotiations between the potential business partners and Stonebridge Carras, the landowner, did not work out. Now, however, negotiations have resumed and it seems very likely that the beer garden will become a reality this spring.
Business partners, including the owner of L’Enfant Cafe in Adams Morgan, are planning a hybrid beer garden and park that will cater to guests of all ages (and will likely allow dogs as well). The fenced in lot will be leveled and landscaped in a way that maintains a large open area for recreational activities. The partners in Wunder Garten are working closely with the NoMa Business Improvement District on the design to maximize the park area as NoMa currently has a deficit of parks. There will be beer benches like one would find in a German beer garden and a significant portion of the space will have a tent over it for rain. They will have multiple beers on tap at the bar they will build on site that will mostly be German and Austrian, but they do plan on having a few local microbrews as well. The space will not have a kitchen (the nearby Harris Teeter that is technically on the same land restricts what kinds of food can be sold in the space); however, there will be 2-3 food trucks in the space that will rotate. High end portable restrooms will be available for customers. In all, the space will be designed to fit 200-300 people inside.
DC Harvest (517 H Street, NE) has rolled out several new items on its winter menu, including:
- Pan seared Artic char with Meyer lemon relish over celery root puree with Maitake mushrooms and kale
- Confit duck leg with blood orange jus over crispy Spaetzle and roasted carrots and brussels sprouts (available as the special on Wednesday and Thursday)
- Watercress and citrus salad with watermelon, radish, and pomegranate and dressed with a lime vinaigrette
- Carrot and fennel soup with whole wheat croutons and creme fraiche
- Mussels with DC Harvest cherrywood smoked bacon (made in house), creole mustard and garlic
- Lyon rum cake with candied clementines and roasted strawberry gelato
In addition to these dinner additions, DC Harvest is now featuring $15 bottomless mimosas and made from scratch Bloody Marys during brunch on Saturday and Sunday.
You can check out our review of DC Harvest here.
Addis Ethiopian Restaurant (707 H Street) has been under construction for many months, but it is planning on opening next week. A peak inside the window shows that they are putting the final finishing touches on the dining room, and we are told that next week is when they will open.
Todd Gray’s Watershed, the coastal cuisine restaurant located within the Hilton Garden Inn in NoMa, has undergone several changes over the past couple of months. Less than a year after opening the restaurant in 2011, Todd Gray turned over operations of the restaurant to Culinaire, a food and hospitality management company (Gray operates several restaurants and wrote a cookbook). According to David Wood, Senior Vice President with Culinaire, Gray still plays an active role with Watershed and spends time in the kitchen every month with the staff. He recommends and changes certain dishes on the menu so that they maintain his “style and vision.” Culinaire’s vision for Watershed is to have the restaurant represent “a road trip down the Eastern Seaboard” like Todd Gray initially envisioned.
Now, the restaurant has brought in new Executive Chef Joseph Paire who has conducted an overhaul of the menu that features several exciting new dishes (view menu here). A D.C. native, Paire graduated from Johnson and Wales culinary school and has since worked in several kitchens around D.C. including Sonoma, Mussel Bar, Lincoln (opening Chef de Cuisine), and most recently Farmers Fishers Bakers in Georgetown. He was excited to come over to Watershed because of the restaurant’s beautiful space and the growing NoMa neighborhood. Continue reading
After years of delay, the H Street Streetcar will ‘likely’ begin official operations tomorrow according to two different streetcar operators we spoke with this morning. Both operators said that they have been told that tomorrow should be the first day of operation and that worst case scenario, operations would begin January 1st or 2nd. Outgoing Mayor Vince Gray stated earlier this year that the streetcar would begin official revenue operations before the end of this year, and there has been a major push by DDOT to get it up and running over the past few months. There has been quite a bit of speculation over the past month about when the streetcar might begin actual customer service. The streetcars have been doing non-revenue testing over the past couple of months. If the streetcar does begin operation tomorrow, it would fulfill Mayor Gray’s goal from earlier this year and give him a nice photo-op on his way out.