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Energy Kitchen Closed on L Street

19 Sep

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.

Energy Kitchen Closed on L Street

Energy Kitchen Closed on L Street

RedRocks Planning to Open on H Street Prior to Labor Day

25 Jul
Exterior of RedRocks on H Street

Exterior of RedRocks on H Street

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.

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Newton’s Noodles Set to Open within Two Weeks

24 Jul
Exterior of Newton's Noodles

Exterior of Newton’s Noodles

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.

Pepe Food Truck Launches Loyalty Program

16 Jul

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?

Loyalty Card from Pepe

Loyalty Card from Pepe

Update: Hikari Sushi and Sake Bar Opening this Weekend

27 Dec

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.

2013: The Year Ahead for H Street’s Dining Scene

26 Dec

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

Exciting News Day for H Street Restaurants

5 Dec

Today was a big news day for two H Street restaurants that announced exciting expansion plans.

Newly Renovated Exterior at Taylor Charles Steak & Ice

Newly Renovated Exterior at Taylor Charles Steak & Ice

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.

Menu at Taylor Charles Steak &Ice

Menu at Taylor Charles Steak &Ice

Second, H &pizza announced to the Washington City Paper that they will be opening their second location this spring on U Street.  Our previous coverage of H &pizza.

Sol Mexican Grill: Coming to H Street in December?

4 Nov

We caught up with a representative of Sol Mexican Grill during H Street Festival a few weeks ago to learn more about their first stationary restaurant that is coming to H Street soon.  Sol Mexican Grill currently has two food trucks that roll around downtown serving a variety of tacos, burritos, and bowls featuring chicken, steak, carnitas, brisket, and vegetables.  Our favorite is the chicken bowl where they give you a generous serving of your choice of grilled chicken (tender and not overcooked), rice, beans, lettuce, corn, cheese, sour cream, guacamole (extra), jalapeños, onions, and three different types of salsa (the spicy one has a good kick).

Future Site of Sol Mexican Grill

Future Site of Sol Mexican Grill on H Street

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Thaaja Bringing Customizable Indian Food to NoMa

15 Oct

Over the past couple of years, NoMa (roughly defined as the region to the north of Union Station) has seen its population grow exponentially thanks to the opening of several large apartment buildings.  Unfortunately, there has not been similar growth in the number of good food options in the area that are open for dinner.  NoMa residents are currently restricted to the pricey (and less than stellar) Watershed, a few fast food places, or going elsewhere for food.  Thaaja Indian Food Bar, 1335 2nd Street NE (in the same building as the Courtyard by Marriott), has the potential to improve the NoMa dining scene when it opens in mid-November.

Future Site of Thaaja Indian Food Bar

We recently caught up with Thaaja owner Shailesh Kumar to learn more about the new place.  Thaaja will be Kumar’s first restaurant and will draw upon the flavors and experiences of the Indian food that Kumar grew up on as a child.  Kumar wants Thaaja to show customers that Indian food can be done quickly, while still being delicious, fresh, and healthy.  Thaaja is still in the middle of renovations, but Kumar expects that it will be ready to open in November.  Once Thaaja has been open for a little while, it will begin delivery.

At Thaaja–which translates as fresh–diners will choose their ingredients and build their meals from scratch.  The customization will be similar to that of Chipotle, ShopHouse Kitchen, or H&pizza.  Customers will first choose a base: Indian wrap, tortilla wrap, rice bowl, or salad bowl.  Next they will add the type of meat that they want as well as other toppings before finishing the meal off with a variety of Indian sauces of different spice levels.  The meats will be chicken, lamb, steak, paneer (smoked Indian cheese), and tofu.  The other toppings will range from onions to chickpeas to cucumber to fried onions.  According to Kumar, they will have “six signature homemade sauces which vary in spiciness, some of which offer very traditional Indian flavors, while others are a little more modern.” The sauces are broken down into spicy ones (a tikka masala sauce, a spicy vindaloo sauce, and a “Tandoori Buffalo” sauce) and savory ones (a yogurt based sauce, a coconut sauce, and one with cilantro, cucumber, and coriander). While the full details of the menu at Thaaja are still being ironed out, there will be a variety of sides on the menu, likely including Indian bread baskets with dipping sauces. Continue reading

An Early Preview of Po Boy Jim

30 Sep

We had heard several months ago that a new cajun restaurant focusing on po boys (special cajun style sandwiches) was planning on opening at 709 H Street but had not heard anything else until they put up an opening soon sign during H Street Festival earlier this month.  We recently reached out to the owners to learn more.  While the details of the restaurant are still being worked out, we were able to get an early preview of the restaurant that they hope will open by late November or early December.

Po Boy Jim Coming this Winter to H Street

Po Boy Jim will serve po boys as well as other cajun and creole dishes.  However, unlike Tru Orleans down the street which serves a fairly wide variety of cajun foods, Po Boy Jim will primarily focus on its po boys.  The owners have Carribean and Louisiana backgrounds, so their cooking is reflective of both culinary influences.  They hope that their restaurant will create an “experience that we feel is unique to our restaurant and representative of the diversity of this city.”  As such, Po Boy Jim will serve classic po boys from New Orleans like shrimp and roast beef as well as other po boys that have a more “international or ethnic twist.” Continue reading