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.

By: Kate Nerenberg

This came through last Friday after that week’s Wrap Up posting deadline: The Triangle blog, which focuses on DC’s Mount Vernon neighborhood, broke the news that the meat-focused restaurateur Michael Landrum (Ray’s the Steaks, Ray’s Hell-Burger) has signed a deal for a space at the CityVista building (Fifth and K sts., NW). Later, Sommer Mathis at TBD reported that Landrum also signed a second lease—2,400 square feet, twice the size of the other space—in the same complex. Landrum hasn’t announced the concepts for the restaurants, which will be his second and third businesses in DC—he opened Ray’s the Steaks at East River earlier this year.

Tom Sietsema of the Washington Post had a slew of news this week:

• Yesterday he told us that Equinox owners Todd and Ellen Gray are working on a second restaurant in Constitution Square (First and M sts., NE). The Grays, who hope to open their project next spring, are calling the place Watershed, which plays off of the planned menu: seafood from the East coast. That includes po’ boys, clam chowder, and lobster rolls, and all dinner entrées will be less than $22. If that concept sounds familiar, it’s because Jeff Black announced last week that his planned restaurant for 14th Street, Northwest, also has affordable seafood and po’ boys.

• Sietsema’s weekly chat brought news of chef Fabio Trabocchi’s return to Washington. The Italian chef, who ran the acclaimed and now-shuttered (as of 2007) Maestro in Tysons Corner, was last in New York, where he won three stars from the New York Times at Fiamma (also now closed) then worked briefly at the Four Seasons Hotel. Trabocchi is leasing the former Le Paradou space (678 Indiana Ave., NW) to open Fiola, a casual Italian restaurant with 140 seats. Plans call for opening next spring.

• The adjacent Ardeo and Bardeo in DC’s Cleveland Park are closing November 1 for a renovation, which includes making them into one restaurant, called—what else?—Ardeo + Bardeo. Owner Ashok Bajaj tells Sietsema that when it reopens November 22, there’ll be a stone pizza oven in Bardeo’s space and an 18-person community table in the Ardeo dining room.

There was lots of confusion Monday morning when Prince of Petworth noticed that Creme Café’s Web site read “the time has come that we must close.” But then a few hours later, Justin Rude of the Washington Post talked to owner Tegist Ayalew, who said the Southern-accented U Street dining room is in fact open. Ayalew said the restaurant’s management team was fired after six years on the job, which may account for the misguided announcement. However, when we just tried to visit the restaurant’s Web site, we got a “page not found” message.

After much speculation to the contrary, chef Roberto Donna finally opened Galileo III, the follow-up to his popular Galileo that thrived in the 1980s and ’90s before closing in 2006. We took a peek inside and talked to Donna about his financial troubles and opening a restaurant.

Starchefs.com, a well-regarded industry publication, announced its list of Washington’s Rising Stars. The group includes a number of chefs we highlighted in our October Great New Restaurants package, including Tiffany MacIsaac of Birch & Barley, Chris Ford of Trummer’s on Main, and David Varley of Bourbon Steak. For the full list of the Starchef.com picks, click here.

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