I finally got around to catching up on the latest food openings and coming soons to the DC area! And boy was I excited by what I found. Courtesy of "The List: Are You On It?", here are some places to whet your palate...
Fire and Sage - This casual restaurant with an all-day-dining menu features American specialties with innovative twists, from fresh hand-carved sandwiches, to main course salads, brick oven-fired flatbreads and original seafood and meat entrees. Executive Chef Aaron Tootill's down-to-earth style and passion for simple dishes is apparent in a variety of dishes such as bacon-wrapped oak plank scallops, and char-grilled tea smoked halibut with corn salad. Desserts include a "Hot Bag O'Doughnuts" with honey butter and strawberry compote. Fire & Sage's wine menu features a good mix of California, European and other world selections, both big-label and boutique, moderately priced. Over 25 wines by the glass are offered in 6-ounce or 9-ounce pours. Regional microbrew beers such as Old Dominion and Dog Fish ales complete the restaurant's selection of American and international draught and bottled beers. (Marriott Metro Center, 775 12th Street, NW, Metro Center)
Fratelli la Bufala - The Italian company that has dozens of restaurants throughout Europe, has opened up it's second location in the US in Georgetown (first one in Miami). The restaurant's pizzas feature mozzarella made from the buffalo milk that is imported twice a week from Italy. The pizzas are Neopolitan-style and the same dough is used as the bread in the sandwiches. Chef Fabio Capestrano, originally from Italy, will also serve bison meat from animals who graze in Southern Italy. The restaurant has an open kitchen and buffalo-themed decor. (1063 31st Street, NW, Georgetown)
Nando's Peri-Peri - A second location of nando's peri-Peri has opened just off Dupont Circle. What makes Nando's Peri-Peri flame-grilled chicken unique is its use of Peri-Peri, a spice passed down through generations in both Portugal and Africa. At Nando's Peri-Peri the chickens are always fresh, never frozen and marinated for 24 hours, but diners get to select their own degree of heat from a range of bastes that are brushed on at just the right moment over an open-flame grill. Larger than the Penn Quarter location (819 7th Street NW), the new 18th Street space offers two levels of seating and a wine room upstairs, ideal for private dining. (1210 18th Street, NW; 202.621.8603)
Bibiana Osteria-Enoteca - Ashok Bajaj will be opening his seventh restaurant in the downtown area of DC later this year in the space formerly occupied by Luigiani’s. Known for his contemporary American and Indian restaurants around the city (Rasika, 701, Oval Room, Bombay Club, Aredeo/Bardeo), he decided to take on Italian cuisine, as it is one that he truly enjoys. Bajaj has yet to hire someone to head up the new kitchen. Stay tuned for more details. (1100 New York Avenue, NW)
Blue Ridge - Blue Ridge, a wine-focused eatery with unexpected East Coast wines and Southern-inspired cuisine will open this spring. And sustainability advocate Barton Seaver will be the executive chef. The 200-plus seat restaurant will take over the former Busara space. Look for menu items like pork terrine with preserved fruit, shellfish stew with smoked ham broth and a variety of burgers. (2340 Wisconsin Avenue, NW)
Buddha Bar - For those of you who are fans of Buddha Bar in Paris & NYC or Little Buddha in Las Vegas, get ready…a new Buddha Bar is coming to DC in the third quarter of 2009. Opening at 455 Massachusetts Avenue – just three blocks from the Verizon Center - the 9,400 sqft location will be a replica of the existing location in New York City. The Paris-based Asian-French restaurant and bar, created by George V Entertainment, has 10 locations worldwide. Buddha Bar is known worldwide for their eclectic Asian décor, hypnotizing music and magical food – and is sure to create a unique experience here in DC. (455 Massachusetts Avenue, NW)
Dupont Tequila - Here’s DC’s first tequila bar. Get ready for a variety of cocktails with fresh squeezed juices, sangrias of many colors, frozen margaritas and more than 20 tequilas. From the kitchen will come a mix of Mexican favorites like tequila glazed jumbo shrimp and tequila salsas. Live entertainment will be featured on the weekends. Originally slated to open in early 2009 at this time no details available.
Galileo - Roberto Donna has signed a letter of intent at the space that formerly housed Butterfield 9. He hopes to open a reincarnated Galileo, the formal Italian restaurant he ran in Washington for more than two decades. The restaurant should open in April or May, after a brief makeover. There will be an intimate restaurant-within-a-restaurant, Laboratorio del Galileo, featuring a tasting menu. Donna will be executive chef at the new restaurant. (600 14th Street, NW)
Mad Butcher - Bethany and Jonathan Umbel of Pure Hospitality LLC (Hook and Tackle Box) hope to acquire Havanamax cigar shop to open a butcher shop and restaurant. The Mad Butcher will bring in whole pigs and sides of cattle from local farmers and prepared on site. There will be an on site aging room, selling of raw meats and a casual cafe. (3249 M Street, NW)
Maoz Vegetarian - Maoz has now found a site for their newest outpost. It will open in downtown DC where Signature Cigars used to be in mid- to late-spring. The first Maoz branch was opened in 1991 in Amsterdam, Holland. The motivator behind this pioneer shop was the idea that it was time Dutch people were introduced to a new and nutritious vegetarian dish. Customers were served a pita-sandwich with daily-fresh, handmade falafel-balls fried in vegetable oil, topped with freshly made salads and sauces of their choice. Sure enough, the Maoz sandwich became a huge success in Amsterdam, leading to the expansion of Maoz both nationally and internationally. All menu items are strictly vegetarian, and are prepared daily with the freshest ingredients available. (1817 M Street, NW)
Pizzeria Paradiso Dupont Circle - DC pizza maven Ruth Gresser and the gang will be moving from their current location in Dupont Circle, but the move will only take them up the street. Look for a new space that is twice the current size with outdoor dining. Beer fans get ready, the new location will include a replica of the "Birreria" from the Georgetown locale. Look for a May/June opening. (2003 P Street)
Good Stuff Eatery – Parts 2, 3 and maybe 4? - Chef Spike Mendehlson and the extended family that has helped make his Capitol Hill burger joint such a success – have plans to open two more Good Stuff Eaterys. One will be in DuPont Circle and the other is planned for Union Station (post-renovation). Word on the street is that there is also a pizza concept in the works.