IMM Thai Launches Lunch, Applies for Liquor License, and More

31 Jul
Signage for IMM Thai on H Street

Signage for IMM Thai on H Street

IMM Thai (1360 H Street, NE) has applied for a liquor license (they currently cannot serve alcohol, see our review here).  Of note on their liquor license, they have applied to allow live music on Fridays and Saturdays.  Additionally, IMM now serves lunch during the week.  We spoke with representatives at the restaurant, and they told us that they plan on offering delivery in the near future.  Additionally, they are working on renovating the upstairs area.  While the final plans are still up in the air, the second floor may have a bar and/or a sushi bar.

Masseria Impresses with Soft Launch

30 Jul
Fresh Fruit and Sorbet at Masseria

Fresh Fruit and Sorbet at Masseria

You will need to suspend your disbelief when you approach the front entrance at Masseria (1340 4th Street, NE) in the Union Market district.  While the restaurant will one day be a neighbor to upscale apartments and retail, it is currently across the street from a wholesaler, next to an empty parking lot, and a half block down from a Motel 6.

Open Faced Ravioli with Rock Shrimp at Masseria

Open Faced Ravioli with Rock Shrimp at Masseria

But don’t let that scare you away!  Once you enter Masseria’s front gate, you will completely forget the outside surroundings.  Immediately upon walking in, you walk through a beautiful outdoor patio and lounge with couches and a floor that is covered in tile.  Via a large bar, the patio gives way to the indoor dining space that features an open kitchen where you can watch your dinner being made.  There are several seats at the kitchen bar that give you the best view.

Summer Soft Shell Crabs at Masseria

Summer Soft Shell Crabs at Masseria

Dinner starts with an amuse-bouche followed by a presentation of bread featuring fresh focaccia, miniature breadsticks formed into small rings, and a sundried tomato sauce.  Masseria has a robust wine program as well as a large craft cocktail list (we tried a type of mojito that included beer in it…sounds strange but it worked).

Sample Menu at Masseria

Sample Menu at Masseria

The menu is a tasting menu (either three or six courses) where you can choose what you want from the menu.  The menu is broken up by antipasti, pastas, fish/seafood, and meat (see sample menu above).  On the pasta front, we tried the linguine with salami and a spicy XO sauce as well as the open faced ravioli with rock shrimp.  Both were wonderful with the spicy XO sauce packing a real punch.  From the seafood category, we tried the summer softshell crab dish featuring two halved crabs in a bed of summer corn.  The soft shells were delicately sauteed and topped with basil blossoms, which added a strong basil flavor.  The combination of the corn and the basil blossoms made it taste like pure summer. Continue reading

Maketto Launches Rewards Program

29 Jul

Maketto (1351 H Street, NE) has launched a loyalty/rewards program for its coffee service.  After you buy 10 coffees, you will get one free.  They are handing out punch-cards to everyone who purchases a coffee.  As frequent patrons of Maketto, we plan on fully taking advantage.

Da Luft Applies to Change Its Liquor License, Only Months After Fight and License Suspension

7 Jul

Approximately three months after a reportedly large fight and liquor license suspension, Da Luft (1242 H Street, NE) has applied to change its liquor license from a Class C Restaurant License to a Class C Tavern License.  Without getting into the fairly complex details of DC liquor laws, a tavern licensee does not have a requirement to make a certain percentage of its revenue from food sales whereas a restaurant must have 45% or more of its gross annual receipts come from food sales (here’s a helpful breakdown from our friends at Frozen Tropics from a few years ago).  In other words, a restaurant has to actually serve a lot of food and a tavern does not.  In many neighborhoods, ANC alcohol committees will protest and try to block tavern licenses as frequently tavern licenses are used for clubs or establishments that focus solely on alcohol sales.  Da Luft initially applied for a liquor license as a seafood restaurant several years ago.

This new application comes only a few months after a reported fight at Da Luft that caused the Chief of DC Police to shut down the restaurant for days.  According to a Alcoholic Beverage Control Board (ABRA) hearing from April 23, 2015:

“On April 11, 2015, a serious altercation occurred in the establishment (Da Luft) involving approximately 40 patrons.  One patron was slashed on her leg with an unknown object inside the establishment.  The fighting patrons spilled out of the establishment onto the street.  It took approximately 20 officers to break up the fight.  One patron was arrested for assault on a police officer.  There are concerns regarding the establishment’s cooperation, or lack of cooperation with ABRA investigators and MPD, and interference with a crime scene, and an investigation”

Later in the hearing, a representative for the DC Attorney General’s Office stated that, at the time, Da Luft’s “continued operation presents an imminent danger to the health and the safety of the public.”  In order to reopen, Da Luft agreed to a new security plan.  All of this occurred in mid/late April and now Da Luft is attempting to change its license.

Da Luft did not respond to multiple attempts for comment.

We reached out to Christopher Seagle and Jay Williams, the co-chairs of ANC 6A’s Alcohol Beverage Licensing Committee, to get their thoughts on Da Luft’s attempt to change its license.  They told us that “given the recent events at Da Luft, where the city stepped in to require additional security, the ANC is concerned about this request.  We look forward to hearing from the owners as to why they are requesting a change so soon after Chief Lanier closed the establishment in April.”  ANC 6A01 Commissioner Omar Mahmud, who has Da Luft in his district, said that he shared these concerns and looks forward to hearing from Da Luft representatives.

Da Luft’s hearing date in front of ABRA will be on August 24th.

6th and H Bar and Grill Plans Soft Opening for Wednesday

6 Jul

6th and H Bar and Grill (523 H Street, NE) is tentatively planning its soft opening for lunchtime on Wednesday (July 8th).  You can see our preview of the restaurant here.  Initially, they will be serving breakfast and lunch during the week and brunch on the weekends.  Dinner service will be added later.

Initial hours: 7 am-5 pm on Monday-Friday for breakfast and lunch; 10 am-3 pm for brunch on the weekends.

More details to come as we get them.

Masseria Close to Opening Near Union Market

1 Jul
Sign Posted Outside of Masseria Near Union Market

Sign Posted Outside of Masseria Near Union Market

Masseria (1340 4th Street, NE) is nearing completion and could open in the coming weeks (see our preview here).  We stopped by the Masseria drink pop-up that was held last week right outside of Union Market (there is another one tonight!) and learned that construction is almost complete.  There are a few finishing touches that must be applied and some final permits that they need from the DC Government prior to opening.  Once all of that is complete, they will train their staff and open up.  We peaked at the construction a few days ago and noticed some beautiful tile work in the patio area of the restaurant.  We were also quite excited to learn that the patio will have both heaters and cooling equipment to help make the patio usable almost the entire year.

Nando’s Quietly Progressing on H Street

26 Jun

There hasn’t been much news on it lately, but construction at the future Nando’s site on H Street (411-413 H Street, NE) has been progressing nicely over the past several weeks.  They knocked the entire building down except for the front wall on H Street.  They replaced the windows on the front wall, but not much else has been visible from H Street.  However, a walk behind the building in the alley revealed that the exterior of the building has been almost completely rebuilt.  Pictures below…

Construction Progress at Future Nando's on H Street (Taken From Alley Behind Building)

Construction Progress at Future Nando’s on H Street (Taken From Alley Behind Building)

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