Why Hasn't the Jack Rose Dining Room (Officially) Opened Yet?

The Adams Morgan restaurant has been serving booze on its roofdeck for a few months, but the dining room is still quiet. Why?

By: Anna Spiegel

The first-level bar area, where there are more than 1,400 bottles of booze; local rockfish with peppers, house-made sausage, saffron, and cockles. Photographs by Kyle Gustafson

More than two months ago—on June 1, to be exact—Jack Rose Dining Saloon was in good enough shape to put out dishes for this blog post, a photo slideshow of the Adams Morgan restaurant from Bourbon owner Bill Thomas. It's now the middle of August, and while we've enjoyed some delicious cocktails and pit-beef sandwiches on the roof deck, the dining room has looked empty and not ready for customers.

We checked in with chef Michael Hartzer, an alum of Ray's the Classics and Citronelle, about the delay, and when we can try that local rockfish with house-made sausage. It turns out he quietly opened for dinner—Thursday through Saturday only, no reservations—three weekends ago. The menu is limited, but it's a glimpse of what's to come: buttermilk-fried frogs legs, roast chicken with beet-and-goat-cheese dressing, and as of tonight, spice-rubbed arctic char with roasted cauliflower and wilted escarole.

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Hartzer says the space will officially open in early September with roughly 60 seats and some barstools reserved for walk-ins. Look for a large, brasserie-style menu that has shareable snacks and more robust plates, including entrees that lean heavily on East Coast game such as boar, wild duck, venison, and pheasant.

So what's the hold up? Says Hartzer: "We want everything in place, and to make sure everything is right before it officially opens."

Until then, we'll be dreaming of one of the snacks he said will be on the menu: buttermilk biscuits with domestic prosciutto.

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