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Possible clues about the chef's upcoming fast-food concept. By Anna Spiegel
Will pizza be the focus of José Andrés's fast-food concept? Photograph via Shutterstock.

José Andrés says he’s jumping into the fast-food game, but when it comes to details, the restaurateur has remained tight-lipped. Even after a Craigslist DC ad from ThinkFoodGroup was posted seeking a chef to head “a new fast-casual concept,” a representative from the company told us they have “nothing to share about the concept at the moment.” 

So would Andrés reveal clues to his 240,000-plus Twitter followers? The SLS Las Vegas resort threw its grand opening last weekend, which included the debut of two new Andrés restaurants: José Andrés's Bazaar Meat, a carnivorous version of the original Bazaar, and the Asian-themed Ku Noodle. The chef made time to stop by LA's 800 Degrees Pizza, also opening in the resort, and tweeted that the build-your-own, Neapolitan-style pie joint is “the future of fast food.” 

Could Papa José's be on the way? A fast-casual pizza spot would make sense for the chef, given his upcoming collaborative beer—because what goes better with pizza than beer?—and experimentation with various cuisines; look for China Chilcano, a Chinese-Peruvian eatery, opening in Penn Quarter this fall. Pizza con tomate with Serrano ham and Manchego cheese? Not a huge stretch.

Posted at 09:30 AM/ET, 08/25/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Fresh options for dining and drinking. By Anna Spiegel
Jaleo knows how to cook up a mean paella, and is offering unlimited portions on Mondays. Photograph by Alfredo Flores.

Snow-cone cocktails at Trummer’s on Main

7134 Main St., Clifton

Chill out with Trummer's new boozy snow cones, cooling off guests through September 30. Crushed-to-order ice is infused with syrups and spirits for flavors such as grilled lemon with Virginia-made vodka, rum-based watermelon-sage, and more ($10 each). 


Unlimited paella and sangria at Jaleo Bethesda

7271 Woodmont Ave., Bethesda

Monday just got better: Jaleo's Bethesda branch will offer unlimited paella with salad and flan for $25, starting Monday, August 25. Tack on bottomless sangria for an extra $15. Reservations are available online. 


Rare oysters at BlackSalt

4883 MacArthur Blvd. NW 

Fishmonger MJ Gimbar has sourced rare wild Bluff Oysters from New Zealand, and only 60 are available at BlackSalt as of Thursday. Pick them up from the market for $5 each, or try them in the restaurant paired with a glass of Napa Valley Dirty & Rowdy Semillon 2011 ($15).  

Rogue 24 launches an à-la-carte menu

922 N St., NW 

Don’t have the funds to try chef RJ Cooper’s 24-course tasting menu? You’re in luck: The former prix fixe-only eatery went à-la-carte on Wednesday. The new menu contains larger versions of the dishes found in the tasting, such as spruce-cured salmon or bone-marrow flan with sea urchin. 


More savory dishes—and a new "master drinksmith"—for Red Light

1401 R St., NW

There are a few new things to look for at 14th Street's dessert-focused cocktail bar. One: more savories. Chef Robert Underwood expanded the non-sweets portion of the menu to include cheese and charcuterie boards, and a variety of flatbreads topped with the likes of wild mushrooms and Taleggio or prosciutto and arugula. Barman Jonny Fellman has also been hired as the "master drinksmith," and is pouring new cocktails such as the "Tijuana twister" with jalapeño tequila, watermelon, and lime. 


Happy hour at Brookland Pint 

716 Monroe St., NE

The newest addition to DC’s beer scene opened this week with 24 craft brews, plenty of vegetarian-friendly dishes, outdoor space, and much more. Head in for happy hour between 5 and 7 Monday through Friday for $1 off drafts, house wines, and select liquor. 

Find Anna Spiegel on Twitter at @annaspiegs.

Posted at 10:28 AM/ET, 08/22/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Every morning, we'll let you know where to find lunch on wheels. By Vicky Gan

Happy Friday, food truck followers! Today's specials include vegan lasagna at Woodland's Vegan Bistro, barbecue-brisket bánh mì at PhoWheels, and Peruvian chicken tamales at El Fuego.

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Posted at 10:20 AM/ET, 08/22/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
The Shaw venture from the Mintwood Place team is underway. By Anna Spiegel
A rendering of Convivial, looking in at the bar. Photograph courtesy of Peter Hapstak.

The previously untitled Shaw restaurant from the Mintwood Place team now has a name: Convivial. Chef Cedric Maupillier says he and co-owner Saied Azali were drawn to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary’s definition of the word: “relating to, occupied with, or fond of feasting, drinking, and good company.” 

“It’s what I want the restaurant to be, and what everyone wants to feel around the table” says Maupillier. He also liked that the spelling and meaning are the same in his native French. 

The eatery is set to open in the City Market at O development, and is being designed by Peter Hapstak of HapstakDemetriou (behind the looks of Fiola Mare, Gypsy Soul, and others). Maupillier projects a late summer, early spring 2015 debut.

Like at Mintwood, the cuisine will draw from both French and American traditions. You may find some crossover dishes, but Maupillier says he’s hoping to make the portions slightly smaller—think appetizer size, not tiny tapas—and prices somewhat gentler.

“Some of my favorite places are Rose’s Luxury and 2 Amys, where you can have three or four plates of something good, and leave satisfied without breaking the bank,” says Maupillier. 

Convivial will be open around the clock for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Stay tuned for more details. 

Convivial. 801 O St., NW.

Posted at 01:56 PM/ET, 08/21/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
The health-minded chain debuts its first East Coast location. By Anna Spiegel
A fall salad with Brussels sprouts and pomegranate seeds from True Food Kitchen. Photograph courtesy of Fox Restaurant Concepts.

Washington is no stranger to health-inspired restaurants, with eateries such as the now-closed Rock Creek and ever-expanding Protein Bar. Up next: True Food Kitchen, a chain from Fox Restaurant Concepts based on Dr. Andrew Weil’s anti-inflammatory diet (you may have caught him on Oprah or Dr. Oz). The Mosaic District location will be the first on the East Coast—other branches include Denver and Santa Monica—and is set to open September 23

“Anti-inflammatory” isn’t as sexy sounding as South Beach, but fortunately the diet isn’t all tofu burgers and restrictions. The food pyramid that inspires the restaurant allows for red wine, “healthy sweets” like dark chocolate, seafood, cheeses, and more. True Food’s seasonal lunch, brunch, and dinner menus will be even broader, offering everything from chicken-sausage pizza (with optional gluten-free crust) and grass-fed-steak tacos to spaghetti squash casserole and grilled-tuna sliders (check out samples from other locations). Hot health foods like kale, quinoa, and Greek yogurt dot the menu, and there’s a lineup of fresh juices alongside beer, wine, and cocktails. 

The Mosaic District branch will hold 142 seats in the main dining room, with a large open kitchen and decor meant to evoke the outdoors; think lots of wood and strategically placed herbs. A 46-seat covered patio will stay open in warm weather. Stay tuned for more details closer to the opening. 

True Food Kitchen. 2910 District Ave., Suite 170, Fairfax; 571-206-2761. Full hours: Open Monday through Thursday 11 to 10, Friday 11 to 11, Saturday 10 to 11, Sunday from 10 to 9. Saturday and Sunday brunch 10 to 4. 

Find Anna Spiegel on Twitter at @annaspiegs.

Posted at 12:26 PM/ET, 08/21/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Every morning, we'll let you know where to find lunch on wheels. By Maddy Berner

Happy Thursday, food truck fans! Change it up with grilled veggies at CapMac, mascarpone polenta at Ball or Nothing, or barbecue bánh mì at PhoWheels.

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Posted at 10:28 AM/ET, 08/21/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
The lobsicle, from Lobster ME, arrives in October. By Anna Spiegel
The grilled “lobsicle,” which can also come to you battered and deep-fried. Photograph courtesy of Lobster ME.

Ever looked at a lobster tail and thought, “This would taste better eaten like a popsicle”? Now all your lob-pop dreams can to come true. Lobster ME, a fast-casual, Las Vegas seafood restaurant, is coming to Bethesda in October. 

The signature “lobsicle” involves a Maine tail that’s either grilled or deep-fried; a History Channel YouTube review dubs it “the world’s most perfect food.” Don’t care for stick-meat-of-the-sea? The shop, located in a new section of Westfield Montgomery Mall, will offer a variety of dishes, from Cajun- and Italian-themed lobster rolls to lobster mac, tacos, and more. Homage to Maryland’s state crustacean will also be paid, though probably not in crabsicle form. Crab cones? Never say never. 

While the Bethesda spot will be the third brick-and-mortar location for Lobster ME—which also operates food trucks in Vegas—a release from the restaurant says the soon-to-be chain is in “rapid expansion mode, with plans to open along the West and East coasts.” In the meantime, check out a sample menu. Hopefully the vodka-spiked “lobster Mary,” garnished with a claw, will make an appearance. 

Lobster ME. Westfield Montgomery Mall, 7101 Democracy Blvd., Bethesda. Open Monday through Saturday 11 to 9, Sunday 11 to 6. 

Posted at 09:15 AM/ET, 08/21/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
The high-profile chef suddenly leaves the Kimpton Hotel restaurant. By Anna Spiegel
Chef Jennifer Nguyen parts ways with Zentan. Photograph by Scott Suchman.

Chef Jennifer Nguyen has left the Donovan House's Zentan to "pursue other opportunities," according to a representative from the Kimpton Hotel restaurant. Nguyen took over after celebrity chef Susur Lee parted ways with the Asian eatery, and reinvigorated the concept with a new menu and omakase-style tasting bar. 

"We are very grateful for the passion, dedication, and talent she brought to the restaurant and will be actively seeking a new executive chef who can carry the torch of Zentan," says a statement from the restaurant. "In the meantime, our team remains committed to creating the great Japanese cuisine and warm service our guests have come to expect at Zentan."

In addition to the restaurant menu, Nguyen also designed Vietnamese-inspired tacos, noodle bowls, and more for the DNV Rooftop lounge. There's no word yet on where she's headed, but stay tuned for more details as they develop.

Posted at 01:33 PM/ET, 08/20/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
The Kapnos toque packs his knives and goes to Boston for season 12. By Anna Spiegel

George Pagonis: Washington’s next cheftestant. Photograph by Greg Powers.

Mike Isabella's right-hand man is following in his footsteps. George Pagonis, Kapnos's executive chef and a partner in the Greek eatery, will compete on Top Chef season 12. The Boston-based season's episodes begin airing October 15

Pagonis previously served as chef de cuisine at Graffiato, and will open Kapnos Taverna in Ballston this fall (here's his full bio). Though he's the only Washington cheftestant this season, Joy Crump of Foode in nearby Fredericksburg is also packing her knives for Beantown. 

Don't want to wait until autumn for your Top Chef fix? Tonight you can catch the spinoff, Top Chef Duels, in which Isabella will fight it out with former rival Antonia Lofaso in an Italian-style battle. If you're a Top Chef superfan, head to Kapnos for a viewing party starting at 9 (the show airs at 10). Happy hour runs in the restaurant's bar and at G, and Isabella will be there to cheer on his television alter ego.  

Posted at 12:13 PM/ET, 08/20/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Every morning, we'll let you know where to find lunch on wheels. By Vicky Gan

Happy Wednesday, food truck followers! Today’s specials include vegan Salisbury steak at Woodland’s Vegan Bistro, chicken cheesesteak at Randy Radish, and Sex on the Beach cupcakes at Sweetbites.

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Posted at 10:50 AM/ET, 08/20/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()