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The Wrap-Up: The Week in Food
Every week we fill you in on what’s been going on in the food and restaurant world.
Spike Mendelsohn—Top Chef alum and owner of We, the Pizza and Good Stuff Eatery—wrote on Twitter Thursday that he’s starting a food truck called Sixth and Rye, with a corned-beef sandwich as the signature dish. The Feast had more details: The truck, a Friday-only lunch option, is a joint project with Sixth & I Historic Synagogue and hopes to debut in April. And New York’s branch of the Feast had more Spike Mendelsohn-expansion news: He’s finally making good on his promises to franchise Good Stuff Eatery. In an interview at the recent South Beach Food & Wine Festival, he said he’s looking at spots in Chicago, Philadelphia, and, of course, DC.
In Food & Wine’s first reader-decided Best New Chef contest, Kyle Bailey of Birch & Barley/ChurchKey took home the crown for the Mid-Atlantic region, edging out Bayou Bakery’s David Guas at the last minute. Tim Carman of the Washington Post had an interesting blog post about the contest and the 11th-hour win. Carman writes, “But what does this honor really mean? Best I can tell, it means that Neighborhood Restaurant Group [owner of Birch & Barley] merely has a deeper contact list and slightly better PR machinery than the second-place chef, David Guas, who opened his Bayou Bakery in November without the support of an umbrella group… . So the People’s Best New Chef Award turned into a popularity contest… . While I take my hat off to Kyle Bailey—a talented chef who has taken a mere beer-pairing concept and turned it into something all his own—I also acknowledge that the ‘loss’ for the other chefs means absolutely nothing.” We couldn’t agree more with Carman.
The Washington Post and its critic, Tom Sietsema, were a font of food-and-restaurant news this week.
• Michel Richard was a topic of discussion, first for his revised menu at Michel, his newest restaurant, in Tysons Corner. Sietsema reports that Richard has lowered prices, added a three-course “express” lunch, and added a number of dishes from his downtown DC bistro Central. Richard was responding to customers who were expecting Michel to be more in line, in terms of price and food, as Central.
• A day later, Sietsema tweeted that Richard is taking the Central concept to Las Vegas. The restaurant, slated to open in summer, will have 300 seats and be open 24/7.
• Sietsema reported Tuesday that Eventide chef Miles Vaden and his number two, Justus Frank, are putting in their last shifts this weekend at the handsome Clarendon restaurant. In his Wednesday chat, Sietsema followed up on that news, saying that Vaden will be chef Fabio Trabocchi’s right-hand man at his soon-to-open Fiola in DC’s Penn Quarter. Trabocchi, who’s aiming to cook his first meals April 5, dazzled diners at the now-closed Maestro in Tysons Corner before taking a few jobs in New York.
• In more kitchen-shuffle news: Pastry chef Chris Ford of Trummer’s on Main—whom we highlighted as a rising star in October—was tapped as R.J. Cooper’s desserts guy for his upcoming Rogue 24. Cooper’s project, in DC’s Shaw neighborhood, will have two tasting menus (24 courses and 16 to 18 courses) as well as a lounge for cocktails and small plates. Cooper, formerly of Vidalia, won’t announce it yet but tells Sietsema he’s working on hiring “a very prominent mixologist in town” to teach chefs how to make cocktails. Very intriguing.
Eater, a food blog that started in New York—and has expanded to Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, Austin, and Portland, Oregon—debuted its DC iteration this week. The blog is known for many posts a day that report on local as well as national food and restaurant news.
There’s a new Rosa Mexicano, its third area location, coming to Chevy Chase (5225 Wisconsin Ave.) in November. It’ll be more than 7,300 square feet.
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