Earlier this month, the Port of Piraeus location in West End (1155 21st Street, NW) closed its doors permanently. The Greek restaurant had been at the West End location since 1989; however, owner Frankie Doyle tells us that it was time to streamline operations by closing this location and consolidating the business in the restaurant’s other location in Franklin Square. The other location will continue to offer breakfast and lunch as well as catering across the city. No word on what might replace the restaurant.
Currently H Street’s restaurant scene is divided into two sections: the Western end and the Eastern end without almost any restaurants in the middle. The Western end runs from Ethiopic in the 400th block to Hikari Sushi in the 600th block. The Eastern end starts with the Atlas Room in the 1000th block and runs to the 1400th block. In between there are not really any restaurants (the new Chupacabra being the exception). There is a lot of development planned for that section (including three apartment buildings and a Whole Foods) but not much has materialized so far. Continue reading
Our first trip to TD Burger in NoMa (250 K Street, NE) almost didn’t warrant a return trip. It was very disappointing as the restaurant has a great outdoor seating area and a Top Chef contestant as the chef (Timothy Dean). Yet, the fast casual burger restaurant had a weird set up, confused service, and unimpressive food. Since that, our most recent return trip saw some improvement. However, we hope that this trend continues and accelerates as the restaurant still needs help.
Customers order their food at the counter and then go sit down with a number card for food to have their food delivered to them. But there’s a catch: you can’t order any alcoholic drinks at the counter and instead have to go to the bar or get the attention of the cocktail waiter/waitress (only one or two employees had the ability to serve alcohol even though there were close to ten employees serving customers). It took us around seven minutes to order drinks once we sat down even though the restaurant was empty and we’d already asked a different server for help. This was after waiting several minutes to order food (there was no one in line in front of us) due to a combination of the server being completely confused and the computer system being down. Additionally, this set up is not ideal as it requires customers to open a second tab for alcohol even if they only want to order a beer.
The food did not improve the night. The “Sonia from the Bronx” burger sounded intriguing: avocado, cheddar cheese, mushrooms, and grilled romaine. The burger probably would have been great if it had been served as a salad without the bun. The grilled romaine was tasty and the burger had promising flavor. Unfortunately, all of this was overshadowed by a soggy bun that fell apart and could not hold the burger properly. We were a little confused at how the bun was so soggy as it had clearly been thrown on the grill for a few seconds and had light grill marks. Regardless, it ruined the burger. The allegedly “beer battered” onion rings tasted like onion rings we could have picked up in the frozen section of the grocery store.
Energy Kitchen (1901 L Street, NW), a fast casual restaurant focusing on “healthy fast food,” closed earlier this week. No word yet on what might replace it.
After significant permitting and zoning delays with the D.C. Government, RedRocks (1348 H Street, NE) has moved into the final phase of zoning permits and hopes to open prior to Labor Day. The restaurant has been ready to open for the past several weeks but was held up by the District Government. Earlier this week, they received good news on the zoning front and should be able to open up all three levels for dinner when they open in the coming weeks. RedRocks features Italian food and pizzas and has three other locations in Columbia Heights, Old Town Alexandria, and Arlington.
Newton’s Noodles (1129 20th Street NW), the fast casual noodles concept from chef Dennis Friedman (Newton’s Table in Bethesda), is set to open in the coming days. Friedman tells us that they are putting the final touches on the interior of the restaurant and plan to begin training their staff this week or the beginning of next week. Friedman says that they should be open within the “next week or two,” but he does not want to rush to open until they are 100% ready to go. Bethesda Magazine reported last year that Newton’s Noodles will feature “Fuzu” noodles, a unique “comforting rice noodle dish similar to Pad Thai” that Friedman created at Newton’s Table.
Chef Jose Andres’s Pepe food truck has launched a loyalty card program where you get a star for every regular sized item (ranging from Pepe’s signature flautas to a large order of soup) that you purchase. After you get ten stars punched on your loyalty card you get one item free. We’ve heard that Feelin’ Crabby food truck also has a loyalty program, have you heard of any other trucks that do?
Friday evening update: Hikari needed one minor modification prior to final inspection today and will not be able to complete the final inspection process prior to New Years. The restaurant will now open January 2nd or 3rd.
We’ve learned from the owner that Hikari Sushi and Sake Bar (644 H Street, NE) will open this weekend (first dinner service either Friday or Saturday night). Hikari comes from owner Heesook Chun, who has opened nine Japanese restaurants over the past fifteen years, including the Matsutake restaurants located in Northern Virginia. The Matsutake Sushi located in Reagan National Airport was recently rated as one of the top twelve airport restaurants nationwide by food critic Andrew Zimmern. The interior of Hikari will have “a warm and trendy” atmosphere. Hikari is located towards the middle of H Street in a block that will see two new major residential buildings in the next few years. Hikari’s owner says that the planned future development combined with the future streetcar was a major reason for choosing H Street for a new restaurant. In addition to dine in service, Hikari will feature takeout and plans to offer delivery through a third party service.
2012 was a very exciting year for H Street that witnessed a ton of new restaurants and bars opening. 2013 promises to be another exciting year for the neighborhood with many more openings on tap. Here’s our rundown of places slated to open in the new year and some of the important questions for the H Street region as we enter 2013. Thanks to our friends at Frozen Tropics and H Street Great Street who broke much of the news on the future openings earlier in the year. Did we miss a planned opening? Please let us know in the comment section.
Likely Openings in the New Year (listed in order of going west-east down H Street)
- Batter Bowl Bakery (401 H Street)–bakery from the owners of Ethiopic, featuring breakfast, lunch, and dinner as well as baked goods, likely opening in January (h/t Frozen Tropics)
- Hikari Sushi and Sake (644 H Street)–sushi restaurant from the owners of Matsutake Sushi restaurants in Northern Virginia, we’ve heard that it could open in the next few weeks
- PoBoy Jim’s (709 H Street)–poboys and other cajun food with bar and patio in the back, owners have experienced a few construction surprises but should be opening early in the new year (see our preview here)
- Ben’s Chili Bowl (10th and H Street)–restaurant from the popular U Street restaurant, will be two levels and feature a bar as well
- Mythology (1005 H Street)–steak and seafood as well as brunch from current general manager of the popular Atlas Room, will also have extensive craft beer and wine selections (h/t H Street Great Street) Continue reading
Today was a big news day for two H Street restaurants that announced exciting expansion plans.
First, Taylor Charles Steak & Ice (1320 H Street, NE), the new Philly cheesesteak place from the owners of Taylor Gourmet, announced that it will have its grand opening next Wednesday (December 12th). More details on Taylor Charles Steak & Ice from Washington Post.