The Wrap-Up: The Week in Food
• Cowboy up: The Washington Post’s Tom Sietsema tells us that DC’s Penn Quarter will get a Texas-style barbecue joint next year. Hill Country, which has a location in New York (the New York Times’ Peter Meehan deemed the barbecue “ridiculously good”), is owned by Marc Glosserman, a Bethesda native. Faithful to the Texas style, the meat gets its flavor from a spicy seasoning rather than sauce. Sietsema reports that the 250-seater will also have baked beans and peanut-butter-and-jelly cupcakes.
• Hill Country isn’t the only New York restaurant with its sights set on Washington for a second location. Missy Frederick at the Washington Business Journal reports that Kellari Taverna, a seafood-heavy Greek spot, will open in the former Restaurant K space in downtown DC. Owner Stavros Aktipis hopes to start serving in the fall.
• Aman Ayoubi—owner of U Street’s Local 16 and an avid follower of the local/sustainable ethos—is opening two restaurants with Doug Whipple of Whipple Farms, according to Metrocurean. One will be on 14th Street, Northwest, just south of the U Street corridor, and the other in DC’s Columbia Heights, a couple of blocks north of the Metro.
• If you want it done right, do it yourself. That was José Andrés’s thought when he visited the Standard Grill, a new restaurant in New York City. He ordered a charcuterie plate, and when he saw a chef slicing the prized jamón ibérico incorrectly, he didn’t hesitate to jump behind the bar to show him how it’s done. In its recap, New York magazine called Andrés “the dankest of Spanish chefs.”
• After a 40-year run, Carol Joynt is packing up her microphone and martini glasses and closing Nathans—and her Q&A Cafe (although that might turn up elsewhere)—in Georgetown. Sunday is the last day to visit the storied restaurant, which has legions of longtime regulars (including DC mayor Adrian Fenty). In the meantime, Joynt is making a public plea for $100 donations to help pay $22,000 in DC taxes.
• Six weeks after chef Carole Greenwood’s sudden departure from Buck’s Fishing and Camping, owner James Alefantis appointed a new chef. On Wednesday, the Washington City Paper’s Tim Carman told us that Vickie Reh, a former sous chef at Alexandria’s Food Matters, is now leading the kitchen at Buck’s. Alefantis also brought on baker Farid Fellag, whose résumé includes stints at Galileo, Bebo Trattoria, and Hook. He’ll also make the pizza dough for Buck’s sister restaurant, Comet Ping Pong, and the pastries for the Modern Times Coffeehouse at Politics and Prose bookstore.
• Bravo announced its lineup of chefs for Top Chef season 6, taking place in Las Vegas, and there are three contestants with a Washington connection. Michael Isabella, chef de cuisine at Zaytinya, will compete alongside Bryan Voltaggio, the chef/owner of Volt in Frederick. Voltaggio’s brother, Michael, who just left José Andrés’s highly acclaimed Los Angeles outpost, the Bazaar (and was once chef at the Greenbrier resort’s Hemisphere), is also a cheftestant. It’s the first time Top Chef has cast siblings. The new season starts Wednesday, August 26.
• On Wednesday, the W Washington, D.C. hotel opened its doors. The whimsical hotel—in the former Hotel Washington—houses celeb chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s J&G Steakhouse and a downstairs wine bar as well as the Point of View bar on the building’s famed rooftop. Although we’d generally advise against going to a restaurant in its first weeks, this is an exception: Vongerichten is here for a couple of days, so the food should be spot-on. And Sasha Petraske, the New York-based cocktail savant famed for his ice obsession (and his trailblazing Lower East Side speakeasy Milk & Honey), is also in town. We’ve got an opening-night review of the steakhouse, courtesy of our food and wine editor, Todd Kliman.twitter.com/bestbitesblog