Po Boy Trophy
Po Boy Jim (709 H Street, NE) will be hosting a po boy eating competition during H Streetfest next Saturday involving a stuffed 10 inch version of their chicken and pulled pork po boy. Every contestant will begin eating at the same time and the first person to finish the entire sandwich will be the winner. The entrance fee is $10, but the winner has the fee refunded as well as receiving a special Po Boy Jim trophy and a po boy named in their honor at the restaurant for a month. They are still accepting signups at the restaurant now!
They also plan on having a full bar with outdoor seating setup in front of the restaurant during the Festival on Saturday.
Chef David Conn’s path to becoming head chef at Kitty’s Saloon (1208 H Street, NE) has not been the most traditional. Initially a music professor at Cornell University, Conn decided that he was tired of academia and was ready to pursue his passion for the restaurant industry. After several years of culinary training in Savannah, he spent the next 14 years in the Nashville restaurant scene where he developed his own spin on country and western cuisines. Next he spent time in the New York City area where he opened additional restaurants before being attracted to the D.C. area.
Chef David Conn of Kitty’s Saloon
In the coming weeks, Kitty’s Saloon will replace the long closed Souk on H Street. The interior and exterior of the restaurant have been completely redesigned. Much of the wood on the inside of the restaurant came from an 1870s barn and has been restored for use in the space. Currently, the restaurant only occupies the ground floor, but the owners of Kitty’s are working with the landlord to buy the upstairs and expand the restaurant (and possibly create an outdoor deck in the coming months). Prior to opening, we caught up with Chef David Conn to discuss his plans and vision for Kitty’s.
After one trip to H Street, Conn was sold on the area. He says that one trip to the Pug and a taste of Toki Underground’s ramen were enough to convince him that the neighborhood was the place to be. He hopes that Kitty’s Saloon will become a neighborhood hangout that will add a unique element to H Street but that will become fully engrained in the neighborhood. For Conn, having a strong connection to the neighborhood and a good relationship with the neighbors is essential for success.
Initially, Kitty’s Saloon was advertised as “contemporary redneck cuisine,” but Conn sees it as a blend of country and western cuisines. The menu will feature around ten small plates at any one time as well as several larger entree plates. Look for it to rotate significantly by season. Conn considers his spice rack and the different blending of spices to be essential to his style. He joked to us that his spice rack is so large that it takes up half of his storage space. Slow braising and other styles of cooking that develop a deep spice and flavor profile are key to the dishes he makes. Continue reading
Table at DC Harvest
DC Harvest (517 H Street, NE) will officially open next Tuesday (September 2nd) for dinner. You can check out our detailed preview here. The following week they will open for brunch on the weekends.
We got a sneak peak of the tentative brunch menu when we came to take pictures of the space. It will be arguably the most impressive brunch menu in the H Street Corridor.
Bar at DC Harvest
A few brunch dishes to look forward to:
-three different egg scrambles: one with housemade spicy lamb sausage, one with a mushroom mix, and one with Maryland blue crab
-turkey hash made with their freshly roasted turkey
-steak and eggs
-oysters on the half shell
-a traditional greens salad and an heirloom tomato salad
-fruit and granola
We also learned that instead of a traditional bread plate at the beginning of dinner service that the restaurant will instead offer roasted butternut squash chips. And to conclude dinner, all diners will receive several housemade marshmallows with their check. Continue reading
Heavy Seas Alehouse in Rosslyn
For many years Rosslyn has been defined primarily as a large office area without any real population after 5pm. Its dining scene was similarly defined: many takeout lunch spots that were open for breakfast and lunch but closed around 3pm. Over the last year or two, that image has begun to change with the announcements and openings of several new restaurants in the area. We caught up with Mary-Claire Burick, President of Rosslyn BID, recently to discuss those changes and to look ahead towards the future of Rosslyn’s dining scene.
Mary-Claire Burick, President of Rosslyn BID
Ms. Burick came to Rosslyn BID last fall and says that when she took over Rosslyn’s dining scene was on the brink of emerging. While she agreed with our assessment that Rosslyn has long been known primarily for all of its office buildings, she pointed to ten different restaurant openings in the last year as a sign that change is on the way. The primary driver of this change is the growing residential population—now at 11,000 residents—with many more buildings scheduled to break ground in the coming years. As more people begin to live in the Rosslyn area, they are demanding dining options that stay open past 5pm and that are open on the weekend.
Rosslyn has many features that should attract both additional residents and new restaurants. Burick described it as a “premiere urban center” with easy access to downtown D.C. and all areas of Northern Virginia. She said that one of the greatest strengths of the area is that the major developers who are opening or planning buildings in Rosslyn are completely dedicated to investing in the neighborhood and creating a real community feel. The BID is working to develop the community by planning neighborhood events ranging from the existing outdoor movies to a jazz festival to fashion trucks to other popup events that will incorporate food.
She pointed to the success of Baltimore based Heavy Seas Alehouse, which opened last year in the upper section of Rosslyn, as a prime example of how a full service restaurant can thrive in Rosslyn. Heavy Seas has “surpassed all expectations” and has helped to create energy on its street that is helping to attract other restaurants to the area. In the past couple of months, Sip Wine Tasting and Tapas, Secret Chopsticks, and SpinFire Pizza have all announced that they will be opening locations in Rosslyn. Even restaurants that are typically viewed as lunch spots, such as the Capriotti’s that will open soon on Wilson Boulevard, are working to attract an evening crowd as well by offering drinks as well as food. Burick told us that an exciting new concept from North Carolina is planning on opening in Rosslyn and is in the final stages of negotiations.
Chilled Avocado Soup with Pickled Shrimp at DC Harvest
DC Harvest, a New American restaurant specializing in fresh and local ingredients, is hoping to open by the end of August at 517 H Street, NE. Brothers Arthur Ringel (head chef) and Jared Ringel (General Manager) plan to have a seasonally rotating menu that will focus on ingredients from the Chesapeake Watershed Region (you can read more on the Ringel brothers’ impressive culinary backgrounds from our friends at the Washington City Paper). They are currently in the finishing stages of a complete renovation of the space and hope to pass final inspection and begin staff training in the coming weeks for a grand opening towards the end of August. In the coming days, the exterior of the restaurant will get a completely new paint job in addition to a brand new sign for the restaurant.
District Cuisine was lucky to get a sneak preview of the menu. A few of the items that you can look forward to trying on the opening day menu:
Appetizer – Chilled Avocado Soup with pickled shrimp. Garnished with micro cilantro and fresh radish (see picture above).
Pasta – Fresh Homemade Kale/Whole wheat Agnolotti filled with homemade Ricotta served with yellow tomato confit, eggplant and fresh marjoram.
Entree – Zatar seasoned Turkey Breast with kamut, shitake mushrooms, swiss chard, pan jus and garnished with crispy turkey skin cracklings.
Additionally, we were told that everything will be made in house and from scratch and that homemade pastas will be a staple of the menu. They chose the turkey breast as opposed to chicken because it was a healthier protein that they knew they could source locally. DC Harvest will feature several local DC brews and will be giving each DC brewery a selection on tap.
We’re very excited for DC Harvest to open up on the Western end of H Street. In the meantime, you can track their progress on their website, Facebook, and Twitter
OhZone Lounge will replace Ohio Restaurant at 1380 H Street. Ohio Restaurant–abandoned and deteriorating for years–has quite a history (including being owned by a drug-dealer turned FBI informant who was tragically murdered in Alexandria). The new owners are planning a bar that will have a patio and eventually a rooftop area. It will feature jazz nights as well as karaoke on certain nights. The owner told us that he plans on opening in October after renovations. His wife is working on the menu that will have a wide range of food. They hope that OhZone Lounge will be welcoming to everyone and will become a neighborhood hangout. It appears that they are working on a website that you can view here.
A note posted on the door of Caribbean Best (1370 H Street, NE) says that the restaurant closed for good on July 31st. According to the note, the owner will continue to do catering.