Vendetta (1212 H Street, NE) opened earlier this week in the space that used to be the Red Palace until it closed last New Years. The restaurant had been planned for several years by H Street titan Joe Englert, and many in the neighborhood were quite excited to see it open. We stopped by the second night it was open to check it out.
Outside of Vendetta
We were very impressed with redesigned space–it was almost impossible to recognize that it used to be the Red Palace (check out a Frozen Tropics post here for more details on the space). Vendetta is an Italian restaurant with a strong focus on pasta (check out their menu here). To start, we tried Vendetta’s bread which was served with an unusual, but quite good, peach jam. Their olive appetizer was fine but only as exciting as a plate of olives can be.
For entrees, diners are encouraged to try one of the different preparations of pasta featuring a variety of proteins ranging from pancetta to pork meatballs to squid as well as several vegetarian offerings. Once you have selected a preparation, you pair it with one of their many different types of pasta (there are seven different types ranging from penne to gnocchi). We sampled two of the different pastas. We tried the squid ink with seared squid accompanied by penne pasta. While the appearance of the dish might be off-putting to some because of the squid ink sauce, the dish’s taste made up for it. Tender squid combined with a savory sauce made for quite an enjoyable evening. We also sampled the meatball and turnip ragu which featured somewhat spicy meatballs in a garlic and pepper sauce.
Sol Mexican Grill (1251 H Street, NE) officially opened on Friday for lunch, dinner, and late night service (open at 11am everyday until 9pm during the week and 3:30am on the weekend).
Chorizo and al Pastor Tacos at Sol Mexican Grill
Currently only the first level is open until they open their second floor and patio in a few weeks. When they open the upstairs section, it will feature a more expansive menu and table service.
We stopped by on Saturday to enjoy our first lunch. We tried several of the tacos and were very impressed. The chorizo and al pastor tacos reminded us of the authentic tacos that we used to enjoy out in L.A. and were quite delicious. We also recommend the fish tacos as well. Even though it was 1:30pm, Sol was doing a steady lunch business on its second day. We look forward to many more trips in the future.
We were told earlier today that Sol Mexican Grill needs to make a few minor adjustments before passing final inspection and will not open this weekend as previously planned. Instead, they plan to open next Friday, April 12th. In the meantime, you can check out our preview here and their menu here.
At the beginning of the year we took a look at what new bars and restaurants were planned for H Street in the coming year. Now that a quarter of 2013 has gone by, we wanted to provide an update on new openings, newly announced concepts, and progress towards opening. For each of these categories we list the establishments in order of going west-east down H Street. If we’ve missed a place, please let us know in the comment section.
Opened this Winter
- Batter Bowl Bakery (401 H Street)–delicious new bakery from the owners of Ethiopic (next door) that is open all day and serves a variety of baked goods, sandwiches, and salads (see menu here).
- Hikari Sushi and Sake (644 H Street)–new sushi restaurant with two floors and extensive bar. See our initial review here.
- Thaaja Indian Food Bar (NoMa region, 1335 2nd Street, NE)–features customizable Indian food in a format similar to Chipotle. See our opening night review here. Continue reading
Entrance to Sol Mexican Grill
After quickly completing a full renovation of its space, Sol Mexican Grill (1251 H Street, NE) plans to open next week for lunch, dinner, and late night service. Sol currently operates two food trucks serving tacos, burritos, and burrito bowls in the downtown area. Sol took over the space previously occupied by Danny’s Carryout and transformed the space into a beautiful two story restaurant, featuring an upstairs bar and patio area.
Upstairs Bar at Sol Mexican Grill
Sol’s new restaurant will have two parts: a downstairs area featuring quick and takeout service much like its two trucks and an upstairs area (including the patio) that will feature table service and a full bar (and tableside guacamole service). You can view the extensive full menu here.
Patio at Sol Mexican Grill
The owners plan to open Sol in two phases. The first phase next weekend will be for the downstairs area. They plan to have a soft opening Friday night and then a full opening for the downstairs area on Saturday night. In approximately three weeks, they will open the upstairs section and patio for complete service. Continue reading
Here is a copy of the menu at Sol Mexican Grill at 1251 H Street.
Menu for Downstairs Section at Sol Mexican Grill
Upstairs Menu at Sol Mexican Grill (Part One)
Washington City Paper had written several months ago that Top Chef participant Timothy Dean was looking for a space to open his second TD Burger somewhere in D.C. and likely in NoMa (Dean currently has one in Maryland). ANC Commissioner Tony Goodman tweeted earlier today that TD Burger will officially be moving into the retail spot at the Loree Grand building in NoMa (3rd and K Street, NE where Zuppa Fresca was).
From the Washington City Paper preview several months ago:
The D.C. location of TD Burger will be similar to the original, which serves burgers, Neapolitan-style pies, sandwiches, milkshakes, and more, but with the addition of a full service bar. Dean will also rename the burgers after various presidents who he’s cooked for or crossed paths with over the years, including Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama. And instead of the Martin O’Malley burger, which is available at his Maryland location, a D.C. councilmember may also get his or her own meat patty.
While the restaurant has been open for awhile now, Thaaja Indian Food Bar in NoMa will be hosting an “opening” party tomorrow. The first one hundred customers at lunch time will get a free bowl or wrap (these items will be $3 the rest of the day). Our first impressions of Thaaja have been really positive so far. You can check out our preview of Thaaja here and a review of our first visit here.
We’ve confirmed that the owners of Hikari Sushi (644 H Street, NE) are planning to open a second restaurant on H Street that will be a hibachi restaurant. They are still in the process of looking for a building for the second restaurant, but we’ve heard that they are looking towards the western end of the corridor. We’ll update as we get additional details.
We stopped by opening night at Thaaja Indian Food Bar in NoMa on Wednesday to check it out. Opening night saw a moderate but steady flow of customers despite the extreme cold outside. We tried the rice bowl with steak and added roasted corn, cheese, chickpeas, tomatoes, and topped it off with the vindaloo sauce. The sauce had a nice spicy kick, the steak was very tender, and the portion was very generous. We also tried the Thaaja roll appetizer with the samosa filling and enjoyed it. If you’re looking for a less spicy sauce, try the “Triple C” (cilantro, cucumber, and coriander) which we sampled and also liked. You can check out our complete preview here and see their menu here.