No, it turns out. Ouattara says he didn’t trade Farrah Olivia in for Kora—he wanted to keep his Old Town restaurant open, but he couldn’t negotiate a lease with his landlord. He’s currently scouting spaces in downtown DC to reopen it. Kora was created with his older brother, Amadou, a 22-year veteran of Italian cuisine who’s worked under some of Washington’s best-known Italian chefs, including Roberto Donna and Francisco Ricci.
To achieve an equally comforting—and cozy—atmosphere, Morou’s wife, Heather, decided on a deep-purple theme to warm up the grand space that was once Oyamel and most recently Donna’s Bebo Trattoria. They moved Bebo’s pizza oven closer to the bar to make room for a small waiting area with black leather couches.
There’s also a smile-inducing, Warhol-like portrait of the person who inspired the restaurant’s name: the Ouattaras’ three-year-old daughter (the original photo for the picture was taken by Morou—on his iPhone). It’s one of a few touches that remind us that although this restaurant is a departure for Ouattara, he’s still a presence here. After all, the eggplant gazpacho is garnished with tomato pearls.
Kora, 2250-B Crystal Dr., Arlington; 571-431-7090; korarestaurant.com. Open Monday through Friday for lunch, daily for dinner, Sunday for brunch. Appetizers $7 to $8, entrées $10 to $18.twitter.com/bestbitesblog