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.
We stopped by Bardo (1200 Bladensburg Road, NE) on Tuesday to check out their second night of being open. While the bar was sparsely attending during the traditional happy hour timeframe, it does have great potential to become a nice neighborhood spot in the months ahead. Bardo eventually will be a large outdoor brewpub that will brew several of its own beers onsite and will have many more on tap. They already have picnic tables and cornhole and plan on showing outdoor movies and serving food in the future. A concept similar to Bardo was previously operated in Arlington by the same owners. Check out The Washington City Paper’s excellent profile of Bardo from several months ago to learn more about its background.
Bardo is a definite work in progress as one of the owners explained to us they simply wanted to get open as quickly as possible. The District government would only issue them one permit at a time, so for right now they have not built their onsite brewery and are only serving a few beers on tap. The next immediate step for Bardo is installing a canopy-like roof that will drape over the area in front of the bar to protect customers when it rains. The owners anticipate this canopy being up in the coming days (currently there is no cover if it rains). The owners already have much of the brewing equipment on site and plan on applying for the brewery building permit as soon as possible. One of the owners said that they planned to have the brewery part of Bardo open in three months. Continue reading
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?
We had the pleasure of stopping by opening night of Mike Isabella’s Kapnos (2201 14th Street, NW) on opening night, July 5th. Even ten days later, we are still savoring the taste of perhaps the best dinner we have had all year. While Isabella’s first restaurant, Graffiato, may have been a more anticipated opening in the media, Kapnos is already giving Graffiato a run for its money (and this is coming from huge fans of Graffiato).
Kapnos is located on the corner of 14th and W Streets, a block north of U Street on the first floor of a new apartment complex. The restaurant features a beautiful open kitchen that enables the diner to enjoy a full view of the show that goes into the preparation of their dinner. On opening night, Isabella himself helmed the kitchen and inspected every dish prior to it being sent out to the table.
We started dinner with one of Isabella’s kegged lemonades, a specialty of the house according to our waiter. While the second round had more fizz than the first round, both were a refreshing break from the hot and humid D.C. night that we had just come in from outside. In addition to the three versions of kegged lemonade, Kapnos has an extensive wine list and an in house sommelier (something our waiter pointed out several times) as well as many different cocktails.
Like his other two restaurants, the menu at Kapnos is divided up into categories of tapas. To sample the menu fully, we tried at least one from each category (a tasting menu is also available for a reasonable $65 a person). To begin our feast, we started with two of the spreads: a standard tzatziki and the melitzanosalata. The tzatziki was good, but the melitzanosalata, a smokey combination of eggplant, feta, and red peppers stole the show. Next we moved on to the “barely raw mezze” where we chose the bronzino. The Mediterranean fish was cured in a cucumber dill sauce and topped with two small slivers of the fish’s skin that had been lightly fried and tasted almost like slightly crunchier popcorn.
To pretend to be healthy, we tripled up on the vegetable section by ordering the asparagus, the beets, and the potatoes (the greek fries “vegetable” dish was not available opening night). In this section, the asparagus, lightly grilled with lemon rind and served with a generous helping of sundried tomatoes and feta, was transformed from a good but sometimes overused and forgettable summer vegetable into a stellar dish that we hope to replicate at home sometime soon. The smoky beets featured an interesting contrast between the spice of the green peppercorn crisp and the citrusy yogurt they were served with. While beets may be over featured on menus across town currently, you definitely don’t want to miss out on this delicious and unique preparation at Kapnos. Continue reading
Sol Mexican Grill (1251 H Street, NE) is set to open its long awaited second floor tomorrow and will celebrate with a grand opening party including a mariachi band. The downstairs section of the restaurant opened in April (you can see our coverage here), but the upstairs section and bar was held up for several months due to permitting delays with the D.C. government. After finally navigating through the District’s regulatory maze successfully, the owners are very excited to debut the upstairs section.
The upstairs section features a seating area overlooking H Street, a bar, and then an outdoor patio with several tables. While the downstairs section has a menu that is more fast casual style like Chipotle, the upstairs section has full table service throughout. You can check out the complete menu here.
The upstairs section is open for dinner and late night service starting at 5pm (the downstairs section is also open for lunch) and going until 2am on the weekends. The kitchen will remain open until 11pm on the weekends. Continue reading