The List’s List of Area Eats, Summer Ready

Buzz

 

Let's embrace the vibrant spirit of spring in DC. Join us as we delve into the lively culinary scene. We savor all the seasonal delights and have the 411 on the latest menus prepared by your local faves - and maybe some there’s a name or two that’s new to you. We are ready for spring on a plate — you? 
 

NEW & NOTEWORTHY: 

Dining Without Limits: All three Ambar locations are unveiling an enhanced menu, offered at both lunch and dinner service, expanding options for diners while maintaining the $49.99 price point for the Dining without Limits Experience. Ambar’s menu highlights dishes from each region throughout the Balkan Peninsula, now adding more family-friendly options and vegan and vegetarian fare. Family-focused efforts include highchairs for toddlers, non-breakable dinosaur drinking cups, and Balkan-themed coloring books and crayons. Children under the age of seven eat for free, while those ages seven to 12 dine at a 50% discount. 523 8th Street SE; Arlington, Virginia; Clarendon, Virginia; ambarrestaurant.com 

Ampersandwich Returns at Shilling Canning Co.: Ampersandwich, the fast-casual pop up by Sara Quinteros and Chef Reid Shilling is back at Shilling Canning Company. The new Ampersandwich menu adapts the ethos of Shilling with a casual menu featuring high quality, from-scratch ingredients. Expect new items like the breakfast burrito, made with braised pork belly, crispy potatoes, black beans, farm fresh eggs, pickled corn, fresnos, and fire roasted salsa, all wrapped in a hand-made flour tortilla. Returning favorites include the Baltimore pit beef sandwich, the Chivito, and the McReid. Sides include hand cut fries, house made chips and cookies, and fries apple pie. Order through UberEats, Grubhub, Doordash, or via Toast. Catering is also available through their website. 350 Water Street SE; ampersandwichdc.com 

Astro Beer Hall: Euro Cup Alert: Celebrate the 2024 UEFA Euro Cup at Astro Beer Hall, the space-themed sports bar from Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken. To celebrate the tournament, Astro will open its doors early on weekdays during matches. Over the weekends, enjoy their brunch menu while watching your favorite teams compete. Festive menu options include Bavarian soft pretzels served alongside warm beer mustard and the chicken and waffles stacked with Astro’s crispy fried chicken, pure maple syrup, and honey butter on a Belgian waffle. You can also enjoy $4.50 bottomless coffee and Astro’s classic doughnuts during weekend brunch. astrobeerhall.com 

Jersey People Know the Sloppy Joe: The newly opened Beresovsky’s Deli in Navy Yard is launching a series called “Chefs on a Roll'' starting this month. Each month, the deli will feature a signature sandwich from a well known DC chef. This month, the Beresovsky’s team partnered with Chef Mikey Freedman of Red Hen, All Purpose, Aventino Cucina, and AP Pizza Shop to create the ultimate summertime sammy: “The Jersey Joe.” This is a Jersey Thing, and you can only get this month! A triple decker with marble rye coleslaw, corned beef, pastrami, swiss cheese and Russian dressing. PLUS, the Deli is popping up now at Mi Casa in Dupont Circle. beresovskys.com  

Get Outta Town: The Cumberland Valley Foodie-Flavor Trail allows you to check in with your mobile device via location and earn prizes throughout the duration of the trail, which ends Monday, November 25, 2024. Prizes for the Cumberland Valley Foodie Flavor Trail include an apron and reusable food wraps. The Foodie-Flavor Trail’s 14 locations include Central Wedge Cheese (Carlisle), Mt. Airy Orchards (Dillsburg), West Shore Farmers Market (Lemoyne), One Good Woman (Camp Hill), and Talking Breads (Mechanicsburg), among others. To sign-up for a free passport and begin checking in at locations, visit VisitCumberlandValley.com  

A Taste of Oaxaca: This summer, discover the spirit of Mexico through corn with a spotlight on Oaxaca at dLeña. The Destination Oaxaca by Chef Richard Sandoval project is a menu collection as well as a study on tradition, craftsmanship, and the profound connection between food and culture. From Tuesday, June 18, through Sunday, July 28, taste and honor the essence of Oaxacan cuisine. 476 K Street NW; dlenadc.com 

Fairmont: Euro Cup Alert: In honor of the UEFA Euro 2024, Fairmont Washington, D.C., Georgetown will once again become Soccer Central. Through July 14, afternoon games, broadcast live on large screens in the hotel’s lobby and Loggia, will run in their entirety. Fans will also enjoy trying their hand at the hotel’s Foosball table. Soccer field cocktail favorites (Pimm’s Cup, G&Ts) will accompany executive chef Jaime Montes de Oca’s menu featuring fare from England, such as black Angus beef & ale pie and fish & chips. The games will be on view Sunday through Thursday from 5:00 until 11:00 pm, and on Friday and Saturday from 4:00 pm until midnight. Reservations are not necessary for Fairmont’s Soccer Central.  In addition to Chef Montes de Oca’s UEFA EURO 2024 menu, cocktails, wine and the Loggia’s daily menu will also be available. fairmont.com 

Giant BBQ Battle: The 32nd Annual Giant National Capital Barbecue Battle will kick off the summer on historic Pennsylvania Avenue on Saturday, June 22 and Sunday, June 23 this year. This two-day food and music festival showcases BBQ excellence, live entertainment and more. Enjoy free products and food samples from over 100 brands in multiple pavilions, including the Taste of Giant Sampling Pavilion, the Giant World of Flavors, and Alliance Smoke Show, and try micro-brews and wines in the Giant Corks to Caps Tasting Tent. You will also experience the best of BBQ as top pitmasters from across the country compete for over $45K in cash and prizes in contests such as:
● Giant BBQ Championship,
● Roseda Best Beef Contest, Sanctioned by SCA,
● Impossible Foods BBQ Championship,
● National Turkey Federation Turkey Smoke Contest,
● Bachan’s Chef’s Choice BBQ Contest,
● Perdue Sizzlin’ Chicken Contest,
● Smithfield BBQ Rib Championship,
● The National Pork BBQ Championship,
● USO Military Chef Cook off sponsored by the National Pork Board
● America’s Best Sauce
There will be live music performances on three stages, including Experience Unlimited, White Ford Bronco, The Reagan Years, The Crank Crusaders, Be’la
Dona, and Chuck Brown Band. Watch the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest, Art to Go-Go’s Spoken Word to Go-Go contest finals, and the BBQ competition award ceremonies. On the Giant Fresh Ideas Cooking Demo Stage, top chefs will provide live cooking demonstrations. There will also be BMX and skateboarding freestyle shows..
The Giant BBQ Battle has raised millions of dollars for District charities over the years including the USO Mid-Atlantic, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the National Capital Area, and has provided annual food donations to the Capital Area Food Bank. The full schedule of events and link to purchase tickets can be found at bbqindc.com 

Get Crackin’: For $99 per person, enjoy all you can eat Maryland blue crab, corn on the cob, chicken wings, and French fries for parties of ten or more at Ivy City Smokehouse. Email [email protected] to book your party and get to crackin’. 1356 Okie Street NE; tavern.ivycitysmokehouse.com 

A Nice “Evening” in Clarendon: Láylí Mediterranean is officially open in Clarendon. Named after the Arabic word for “evening,” Láylí will be a go-to destination for any evening – from special occasions and celebrations to a simple get-together with friends. The menu, crafted by chef Samer Zeitoun, features shareable dishes like kibbeh nayeh, roasted eggplant, fattoush, falafel, and hand-rolled grape leaves, as well as larger signature items like beef tenderloin shawarma, hummus with duck confit, grilled whole branzino, and lamb shank. Beyond the restaurant’s extensive food menu, Láylí will also serve cocktails inspired by the flavors of the Mediterranean. The restaurant will also showcase live music from a DJ to emulate the lively atmosphere of the Mediterranean’s most popular dining destinations. layligarden.com 

Hot Hot Hot: The creators of Little Miner Taco are expanding with the launch of Little Hot Chicken. This new brand brings Nashville’s fiery hot chicken to the DMV via food truck, their ghost kitchen in NoMa, as well as at Wundergarten and Nice and Easy.  The Little Hot Chicken food truck launches with a series of pop up events along the Metropolitan Beer Trail this summer. The festivities, deemed “Chicken n’ Beer Summer Crawl” will pair signature smoky spicy dishes and crispy chicken from the food truck with local brews, and will challenge heat enthusiasts with Hot Chicken Wing and Hot Pickle eating contests that feature their five levels of heat. Chicken selections include the Chick n’  Burger Sandwich, Flamin’ Tenders, Chick n’ Waffles, Hot Chick-less Sandwich, Nashville Wrap, Wings on Fire, and the Share the Heat Basket for 2, alng with Southern-style sides. littlehotchicken.com 

Million Dollar Sushi: Celebrate International Sushi Day like royalty at Pendry DC. On Tuesday, June 18th, the hotel’s rooftop Japanese restaurant Moonraker will offer an extravagant Million Dollar Roll, inspired by a $187 foie gras and black truffle hot dog served by Pendry Chicago on the city’s 187th birthday. The roll is made with Kagoshima A5 wagyu, Royal Daurenki caviar, jumbo lump crab, and topped with black summer truffle and gold flakes and is available for $111. With every order of this specialty roll, you will receive a surprise sushi-inspired sweet treat for dessert. 655 Water Street SW; pendry.com 

Chef Update: Primrose: As part of Primrose’s ongoing revamp, the charming French bistro in Brookland has announced the hiring of Whitney Caceres as executive chef. Caceres comes from an impressive culinary background, with eight years of experience at Rose’s Restaurant Group, serving as the former chef de cuisine at MICHELIN-starred Rose's Luxury, and the sous chef at Little Pearl when they received their star in 2019. Chef Whitney is looking forward to adding to Primrose’s approach to culinary excellence with a newly-refined, French-focused menu, featuring dishes like salt cod antilles, poulet roti, mushroom gratin, and liege salad. primrosedc.com 

Steak Frites x Midlands: Euro Cup Alert: Steak Frites DC has strong Swiss roots, and with that in mind, they have collaborated with Midlands to offer special Swiss menus during Swiss National games during the Euro Cup. Find their specials during game time on June 15, 19, and 23 – and if all goes well, through the next rounds as well. Morning game menu items include Swiss raclette, fondue fries, and a Berliner; Afternoon game options include Swiss burger, croque monsieur, and Swiss veal bratwurst. 3333 Georgia Avenue NW; midlandsdc.com 

Stellina Pizza: Euro Cup Alert: Kick off the 2024 UEFA Euro Cup at Stellina Pizzeria, with locations in DC, Arlington, and Tysons. To celebrate the Euro Cup, Stellina will offer their $25 happy hour special during all matches through July 14th. The special includes one drink (cocktail, wine, or beer), an 8-inch Margherita pizza, homemade chips, arancino, and mozzarella in carrozza. All Euro Cup matches will be televised at Stellina’s locations in Union Market, Mt. Vernon Triangle, Shirlington, and Tysons. stellinapizzeria.com  

Pizza by Ramsay: Street Pizza, Grodon Ramsay’s pizza concept originating in London, opened its first U.S. location here in DC. Street Pizza offers a lively social atmosphere––with pool tables, arcade games, live sports screenings, weekly DJ entertainment on Fridays and Saturdays, and late-night hours––alongside an expansive menu of sourdough pizzas, pastas, salads, wings, craft cocktails, and much more. At the heart of Street Pizza's menu is chef Ramsay's signature pizzas (also available gluten free), ranging from classic Margherita, bold and spicy 'Nduja, and other favorites such as charred eggplant, the “Don’t Tell Gordon” (with applewood smoked bacon and pineapple), and Mumbo #5 (with mumbo sauce, mozzarella, fried chicken, red onion, scallions, and cilantro). 507 7th Street NW; gordonramsayrestaurants.com 

MYC: WACA Ruby Red Gala: The Washington Area Concierge Association (WACA) is once again throwing its summer charity gala, ‘Ruby Red Gala,’ in support of Emma’s Torch and its work in training refugees in culinary arts. The Gala also serves as a fundraiser for the WACA Memorial Scholarship which supports students continuing their education in the hospitality field. Happening June 24, the annual event provides WACA members, community partners, and the public the opportunity to celebrate the Metropolitan Washington tourism industry, network with industry leaders, drink and dance the night away, all while supporting an incredible cause. More excitement comes from the many raffle prizes, all of which can be won from $20 tickets. Prizes include dining experiences, hotel stays, and one-of-a-kind outings from operators such as hotel stays at the Hay Adams, Fairmont, Conrad, tea for two at the Waldorf Astoria, gift certificates and dining experiences at L’Ardente, Love Makotto, and Sixty Vines, Shilling Canning Co., and a variety of tours and activities around the city. The gala will take place June 24, 6:30 p.m. at The Mayflower Club; 1223 Connecticut Avenue NW; dcwaca.org 

The $100,000 Pork Chop: The Virginia Pork Council with support from the Iowa Pork Producers Association, North Carolina Pork Council, and the National Restaurant Association are calling all chefs in the capital area for this #100KPorkChop competition. This competition aims to identify the best pork chop in the Washington D.C. area, with the winner receiving a $100,000 cash prize. Additionally, pork producers will donate $100,000 worth of pork products to local food banks. Restaurants in the Capital Beltway area can sign up until June 17 at 100kporkchopchallenge.com . Then, you can vote for your favorite chop from June 19 to July 3, with finalists competing in front of a panel of culinary professionals and pork producers in July. The winner of the #100kporkchop challenge will be announced on July 23 during the food bank donation presentation. Details of participating restaurants and how to vote can be found here

NOT NEW, BUT NOTEWORTHY: 

Chef Update: Jenn Castaneda-Jones at Apéro: Chef Jenn Castaneda-Jones, formerly of Marcel’s, will be executive chef at Apéro and La Bohème restaurants in Georgetown. Castaneda-Jones’ arrival marks the creation of a female and Latina-led team, with owner and advanced sommelier Elli Benchimol directing the beverage & cocktail programs and chef Castaneda-Jones leading the kitchen. Chef Castaneda-Jones previously served as Chef at DC’s fine dining destination, Marcel’s, which closed earlier this month after 25 years. She is also a 2024 finalist for the RAMMYS Rising Culinary Star of the Year award, and Apéro is a finalist for Wine Program of the Year. 2622 P Street NW; labohemedc.com   

Chef Update: Mary Mendoza at Centrolina: Centrolina welcomes back chef Mary Mendoza as executive pastry chef of Centrolina and Piccolina. Chef Mary creates traditional Italian desserts that highlight seasonal, local ingredients. Mary's love for baking comes from creating unexpected sweet and savory pairings. She believes in just one bite of dessert you can experience the feeling of the person making it. Mary is a Finalist for the 2023 RAMMY Awards for Pastry Chef of the Year. She was previously the pastry chef at Tonari. 974 Palmer Alley NW; centrolinadc.com 

Cornettos & Express-oh (Brunch Alert): Inspired by the pastry shops and cafes in southern Italy, Caffè Morini brings bruschetta to brunch with offerings like a smashed avocado bruschetta, and Italian takes on classic breakfast delights like the Morini Morning breakfast with scrambled egg, avocado, and roasted tomato grilled ciabatta. Sweet offerings include authentic, filled-to-order housemade cornettos that will transport diners to the sun kissed shores of Italy. Fillings include nutella and toasted hazelnuts, and pistachio cream and crumble – the perfect complement to their Express-Oh! Martini, or the new brunch libation, the Thunderbolt Spritz featuring Malfy, limoncello, A’sicilia Limonata, & espresso. Brunch is available Saturdays and Sundays from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. 901 4th Street NW; cucinamorini.com  

The Duck for Lunch (Lunch Alert): The Duck & The Peach has begun counter service lunch. It will be available on Fridays only, from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., with a to-go menu of sandwiches, salads, sides and drinks. All orders are packed to-go, or can be enjoyed indoors or on the patio, as well as ordered for pick-up and delivery. Menu highlights include a chicken salad sandwich with grated tomato, pickled onion, caper, pan de cristal; egg sandwich with fried egg, sriracha aioli, arugula, pan de cristal, and cobb salad with egg, bacon, tomato and green goddess dressing. 300 7th Street SE; duckandpeachdc.com 

Late Night Service: Whoever says there aren’t any “good” late night dining destinations in DC clearly hasn’t paid a visit to The Golden Age, yet. Dupont’s stylish cocktail den is open for dinner service nightly from 5:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. on weekdays, and 5:00 p.m. to  on Friday and Saturday. Find an elevated late-night dinner menu amongst a sea of Dupont’s Jumbo Slices with TGA’s sumac lamb kebabs, their “crucial” burger, shrimp cocktail, golden crab fritters, or even a roasted half chicken to satisfy the late night cravings. thegoldenagedc.com 

A Jeffersonian Taste (Lunch Alert): The Jefferson’s bar, Quill, is now open for lunch, and The Greenhouse now has new coastal Italian dishes to celebrate the summer season. Quill’s familiar favorites, like the caviar deviled eggs and the Jefferson burger, are now available for lunch on the patio or in the cozy lounge amidst the glass bar and the framed historical celestial maps featured on the walls. Quill’s extended hours are from noon to midnight, with the kitchen closing at 11:00 p.m. Don’t miss chef Fabio Salvatore’s new seasonal offerings at The Greenhouse, including black ink risotto with Maine lobster, homemade Amalfi coast “n’Dunderi'' gnocchi with eggplant, and Royal Dutch milk-fed veal chop with sweet potato thyme timbale. Dessert offerings include sea salt caramel pear frozen vacherin and the quinoa pudding with mango saffron pistils chutney. 1200 16th Street NW; jeffersondc.com

Let’s Meet at Delbar (Patio Update): Delbar, the new lounge and patio space at Joon, is now open. Guests will enjoy signature cocktails alongside dishes from James Beard nominated chef/owner Chris Morgan such as fried calamari with torshi remoulade, Joon hot wings with lime buffalo sauce, and housemade advieh seasoned potato chips paired with dips. 8045 Leesburg Pike, Vienna; eatjoon.com 

Forever Fondue: Through August 1st, local Melting Pots are running a special promotion called Forever Fondue – a three-course fondue experience complete with a salad, endless entrée (choose between Land & Sea, Classic, or Steak Lovers entrée), and chocolate fondue to balance out those savory flavors. For an extra special occasion, you can add on a cheese fondue course to the experience as well. meltingpot.com 

Moon View at Lunch (Lunch Alert): Dine with a view at Moonraker, in the Pendry Hotel. The newly launched lunch menu features Japanese-inspired light bites such as the pan-fried shrimp dumplings and Tokyo fried chicken served with Kanzuri mumbo aioli. Enjoy a selection of maki rolls, as well as Donburi rice bowls with four different protein options, including a Sashimi bowl with hamachi, tuna, salmon, ikura, oshinko, wakame, and sesame scallion ponzu, and an Unagi bowl with oshinko, wakame, and scallion. On the sweeter side, indulge in Moonraker’s signature Sakura profiteroles stuffed with cherry blossom cremeux, vanilla anglaise, and strawberry chocolate. Sip on Moonraker’s new signature cocktails, like the Man on the Moon featuring Suntory Toki Whisky, and the Shio Kosho Margarita with Clase Azul Reposado. 655 Water Street SW; pendry.com  

Patty Oh!: An ode to the journey that shaped chef Patrick O'Connell, Patty O’s, a sidewalk cafe and European-style pastry shop located by The Inn at Little Washington, showcases reimagined classic American dishes inspired by O'Connell's childhood. New items include the return of homemade ice cream - flavors rotate daily. Now an annual tradition, the arrival of the Frosé slushie at Patty O’s Café marks the unofficial start of summer in Little Washington - featuring crisp rosé, peaches and lime. 389 Main Street, Washington, VA; pattyoscafe.com 

The Ritual of Tea (Tea for Two Alert): The ritual of afternoon tea at St. Regis dates back 120 years when the hotel’s founding patroness and gilded age society fixture Caroline Astor began hosting tea at the flagship St. Regis hotel in New York City. Today it stands as a hallmark of the St. Regis brand and signature of The St. Regis Washington, D.C. Two key dishes from the afternoon tea include the Midnight Supper Entremet, infused with mango, lime, and coconut, evokes the tropical flowers that would have decorated the infamous Midnight Suppers, and the Capital Bloody Mary Sandwich, which features a Bloody Mary-poached jumbo prawn, Bloody Mary cream, and celery salt, inspired by The St. Regis Washington, D.C.’s famed signature cocktail, the bloody mary. Served in the lobby lounge, St. Regis Rituals Afternoon Tea is available Thursdays through Sundays from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. with pricing starting at $109 per person. marriott.com

Well, Isn’t This Swell: The team at Vagabond has introduced a special prix fixe menu series, Swell Season Menu, kicking off with a journey through the flavors of Indonesia. This exclusive menu will be available until early July and offers a curated selection of dishes and cocktails inspired by Beverage Director Gio Maramis' native country. Next on the culinary journey will be Tahiti, which will host the Olympic surfing events in July at the world-renowned heavy wave, Teahupo’o. Menu options include sate rembiga (marinated beef skewers), Balinese shrimp pepes, and Pandan Pukis cake. Sip on a mezcal cocktail or Bajigur espresso martini alongside your meal. The special prix fixe menu will be available until early July, alongside Vagabond's regular menu. 1836 18th Street NW; vagabonddc.com