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Todd Gray No Longer Affiliated with Watershed in NoMa

4 Apr
Patio Area at Watershed by Todd Gray

Patio Area at Watershed by Todd Gray

Chef Todd Gray (Equinox) is no longer affiliated with the NoMa restaurant that was previously called Todd Gray’s Watershed, representatives for Gray and the NoMa Hilton Garden Inn confirm.  According to a representatives who answered the phone at the Hilton Garden Inn, the menu remains the same for now, but the restaurant is transitioning to a new management team and new concept (there is a liquor license for a different, unnamed restaurant in the window).  The restaurant remains operational for the hotel and the general public.

Watershed opened in mid-2011 in the Hilton Garden Inn as part of NoMa’s Constitution Square development that also includes Harris Teeter and Flats 130.  When the restaurant opened up, NoMa was first becoming a residential neighborhood, and it was the only real sit down restaurant in the area.  Gray brought star power to the restaurant, but overtime Gray had less and less involvement with the restaurant.  A management company had taken over the operations of Watershed, but it maintained Gray’s name and influence.  Most recently, Joseph Paire had taken over the kitchen at Watershed and introduced several new items to the menu.  However, Paire is now the chef at Mulebone on 14th Street.

Chinito’s Burritos to Reopen as Similar Concept with New Name

5 Jan
An Old Photo of the former Chinito's Burritos

An Old Photo of the Former Chinito’s Burritos

Chinito’s Burrito’s (635 Florida Avenue, NE), a burrito takeout spot across from Gallaudet University that served Asian influenced Tex-Mex food, closed several months ago.  The spot has been vacant since.  Recently, construction has been going on inside the restaurant.  District Cuisine spoke with a representative of a new concept that will be opening in the space at the construction site several days ago.  After undergoing some renovations, the spot will reopen (potentially by February) as a similar concept with a new name.  It will offer similar food to Chinito’s that has an Asian fusion influence.  They plan to be open for lunch and dinner and may deliver as well.  More details as they become available.

Union Social Space Available for Holiday Parties

15 Dec

unionsocialprivateevents

Need a spot for your last minute holiday party or gathering?  The recently opened Union Social (100 Florida Avenue) in NoMa is taking reservations for large group events now through the holidays.  You can choose from either a full sit down meal or a happy hour with food and drink.  As we mentioned when it opened, Union Social has a large separate bar space off to the side of the main restaurant that is intended for private functions.  Unlike many other venues, the private area has a separate bar that is just dedicated to the private party.

Need Thanksgiving Plans? Check Out Union Social’s Thanksgiving Buffet

25 Nov
Union Social in NoMa

Union Social in NoMa

Union Social (100 Florida Avenue, NE) will be hosting a Thanksgiving Day feast for anyone in DC looking to eat out at a restaurant.  Starting at 6 pm, there will be an hour long complimentary cocktail hour, followed by a buffet style Thanksgiving dinner at 7 pm until 9 pm.  Union Social will have a communal table set up for solo diners to eat together, and dinner will be $25 per person.

Union Social Opens Today

15 Oct
Main Bar Area at Union Social

Main Bar Area at Union Social

Union Social (100 Florida Avenue, NE) opens up for dinner service today (brunch will be added soon).  You can check out the menus here.  The restaurant is part of a family of restaurants including Copperwood Tavern in Arlington.  Chef Randy Mosteller will be in charge of the kitchen at Union Social, having previously been the Executive Chef at Redwood in Bethesda before leaving to open Union Social.

USMussels

DC Brau Mussels at Union Social

There will be a focus on local ingredients that are served fresh everyday.  Mosteller says that he likes to take simple ingredients and prepare them well using creative preparations and drawing on his training at the New England Culinary Institute.  Playing off “social” in the restaurant’s name, many of the dishes are intended to be shared among friends at the table, including the (very) large flatbreads that are available.

Seared Scallops at Union Social

Seared Scallops at Union Social

Continue reading

Union Social Will Have Private Event Area, Large Pet Friendly Patio

14 Oct
Exterior of Union Social

Exterior of Union Social

Union Social (100 Florida Avenue, NE)–opening Thursday in NoMa–will have both a private event area inside and a large patio space out front that (they hope) will be dog friendly.  The private area is towards the back of the restaurant and features its own bar, a retractable glass garage door, and a TV.  Once Union Social opens up, the space will be available for renting out for parties and events.

Bar in Private Space at Union Social

Bar in Private Space at Union Social

While they are still working out the details, the entire space in front of the restaurant (which is quite long, almost a full block) will be a large patio for the restaurant.  Union Social’s owners are dog lovers, so they are hoping (pending DC permitting) that the space will be dog friendly.

Roll-up Garage Door Window

Roll-up Garage Door Window

US Stoplight

Union Social Opening on Thursday in NoMa (Complete Menu)

13 Oct
View from Inside Union Social Overlooking Florida Avenue

View from Inside Union Social Overlooking Florida Avenue

Union Social (100 Florida Avenue, NE–immediately north of the NoMa Metro stop) will open officially on Thursday.  They will be hosting residents of their building tonight (Elevation at Washington Gateway) and friends and family on Wednesday prior to opening to the public on Thursday.  Union Social is from the owners of Copperwood Tavern in Arlington and hopes to be a neighborhood destination where diners can enjoy locally sourced dishes and an extensive bar.  Union Social has a transit theme to its interior and many of the items on its cocktail menu.  They will be open for lunch, dinner, and brunch on the weekends (although not initially).

Interior of Union Social

Interior of Union Social

The complete dinner and brunch menus are below.  Click here for a larger version of the dinner menu and here for a larger version of the brunch menu.

Full Dinner Menu at Union Social

Full Dinner Menu at Union Social

Full Brunch Menu at Union Social

Full Brunch Menu at Union Social

US dinner

TD Burger’s BBQ: The Taste Doesn’t Match the Smell

1 Sep
Patio at TD Burger

Patio at TD Burger

We really want to like TD Burger (250 K Street, NE).  It has a great location right across the street from the always popular Indigo and who doesn’t like a good burger place with an awesome patio?  Sadly our previous experiences at TD had taught us to avoid the place.  However, recently the restaurant has set up a smoker on its patio that wafts delicious hickory BBQ smells for multiple blocks.  After attempting to avoid the temptation multiple times, we finally gave in and gave TD Burger another shot.

Brisket at TD Burger

Brisket at TD Burger

Unfortunately, we should not have.  Let’s start with the logistics of takeout: an unnecessary nightmare.  You order the BBQ inside and then pick it up from the guy at the smoker outside.  Makes sense but wait: there are only certain BBQ items that you pick up from the guy outside–for other random ones, you pick them up inside.  For example, we ordered a half BBQ chicken and an order of brisket.  The chicken comes from outside, the brisket from inside.  It didn’t make any sense, but we went with it.  We placed our order and then went outside to pick up the chicken.

BBQ Chicken at TD Burger

BBQ Chicken at TD Burger

TD Burger was not busy at this time.  There was one guy in front of me also waiting for chicken.  It took about ten minutes for him to get his chicken (even though it was already done in the smoker), and then it was our turn.  The chef manning the smoker told us to wait a minute and then he would be right with us.  He disappeared inside for five minutes or so and reemerged with a tray of raw pork ribs.  He proceeded to marinate the various racks of ribs and threw them in the smoker while we waited.  He then washed his hands in a bucket full of dirty water (no soap) and then proceeded to grab our chicken out of the smoker.  Using his bare hands (which he had 30 seconds ago been marinating the raw pork ribs with) and tongs that he had also “washed” in the dirty water he divided my (measly) half chicken into thirds and cut it up.  When we asked about having BBQ sauce on the side, it was interpreted as an odd request.

The whole process took at least 20 minutes, despite the fact that the chicken was done and ready to go the second we walked outside.  We walked back inside to pick up the brisket that was surely done by this point.  Wrong.  Took another 5-10 minutes for that to come out as well. Continue reading

Seoul Spice Coming to NoMa

6 Aug

seoul spice

A restaurant called Seoul Spice is slated to move into 145 N Street, NE in NoMa’s Constitution Square development.  This space had previously been leased to Kraze Burger, prior to that chain running into financial difficulties.  The restaurant’s owners aren’t ready to divulge details yet, but we will share them as we get them.

Wunder Garten to Open in May

30 Apr

Good news for NoMa today–Wunder Garten, the beer garden planned for 150 M Street, NE in NoMa, is planning on opening in the month of May.  You can see our preview here.  Wunder Garten received building permits this month and over the past several days we have noticed light construction activity taking place inside.

Complete press release from NoMa BID:

NoMa Beer Garden Opens in May

WASHINGTON, DC, April 30, 2015 — In May, Wunder Garten beer garden is opening at 150 M Street, NE, just steps from the NoMa/Gallaudet U Metro station. The beer garden will occupy the last parcel in the 2.5 million SF Constitution Square development. The 300-seat venue is styled as a Bavarian beer garden and is a place neighbors and friends can meet, socialize,or take an outdoor education class with REI. The drink menu will feature Bavarian, Austrian, and German beers, as well as regional microbrews. Food will be provided by a rotating selection of the region’s most popular food trucks.

“I’m looking forward to sitting down and having a Hefeweizen with my friends,” said Robin-Eve Jasper, President of the NoMa Business Improvement District. “We’re tickled to combine great outdoor education, craft beers and good food in a fun neighborhood space.”

Wunder Garten is operated by Proust Partners, which is owned by Christopher Lynch (co-owner of L’Enfant Cafe in Adams Morgan) and Biva Ranjeet. Munich native Allon Pultuskier advised on the beer garden’s design and ambiance. The owners have been working with property owner StonebridgeCarras and the NoMa BID over the last year on this initiative.

REI, which is opening a 52,000 SF flagship store in the Uline Arena just a few feet away, will hold free classes at the beer garden on a wide range of topics on how to live a life outside. Whether locals want to learn a new activity or advance their skills, REI will offer its expertise on bike repairs, camping, the best local outdoor destinations and more. REI will also host fun events like presentations from outdoor personalities and celebrations of the local nonprofits that take care of DC’s trails, bike lanes and rivers.

Wunder Garten will use umbrellas and tents to shade benches and tables on the rear of the lot. Decorative landscaping will create a causal and inviting atmosphere and transform a currently unused lot into an urban oasis.

“We are excited to provide an inviting space for the neighborhood and the city to gather, enjoy themselves outdoors, and have a beer,” said Christopher Lynch. “With all the rapid growth in NoMa, bars and recreational spaces were two things we have consistently heard that residents want.”

Operating hours are as follows:

MondayThursday: 4 PM to 10 PM

Friday: 12 PM to 12 AM

Saturday: 12 PM to 12 AM

Sunday: 12 PM to 10 PM 

For more information, visit wundergartendc.com.