New H Street eatery Boundary Road is set to open in the coming weeks. Photographs by Jeff Martin.
“You go to great food towns—New York, Chicago, San Francisco—they have great top-tier restaurants, as do we. But the thing about those other towns is that the middle range is great, too. That’s a market that’s a little underdeveloped in DC. That’s what we’re really going after.”
That’s Brad Walker, chef-owner of about-to-open H Street eatery Boundary Road. Three years in the works, the restaurant/bar is a collaboration with corporate-consulting refugee Karlos Leopold, who is also general manager. The two men first met while working at Ragtime in Arlington; Walker went on to cook at Cashion’s and Proof, and Leopold tended bar at various spots around town. In fact, Leopold was behind the stick at the bar atop the Reef in Adam’s Morgan when he and Walker first talked about the idea.
The concept is a casual bistro with appetizers that range from $5 (Old Bay fries with curry mayo; house salad) to $16 (a large portion of quark-and-black-pepper pierogi). Main dishes cost between $14 and $22 and include red-wine-braised lamb shoulder with polenta, shallots confit, and carrots; and a brick chicken with mushroom fricassee, faro, and Brussels sprouts. Walker is especially excited about the roasted pork blade steak with butternut squash, spaetzle, and celery root—the meat comes from Bev Eggleston’s EcoFriendly Foods in Lynchburg, Virginia.
Walker, Leopold, and staff collaborated on the design concept with the help of Walker’s wife, an art director, and Stephen Evans, an Atlanta furniture builder who brought in the repurposed-wood poles and built the bar. Industrial-looking chandeliers and old ironwork lend a steampunk vibe, but brighter touches—a grass-green wall, an installation of dogwood branches—add an organic-cafe air.
Beverage manager Daniel Eichner will be in charge of beer, cocktails, and old-world wines selected to pair well with Walker’s “European peasant” food. The wooden bar and the “harvest” communal table across from it divide the front area from the back. The kitchen in the rear is visible through a window carved out of the back dining room wall. Down the road (get it?), there’s a plan to set up a four-seat chef’s table facing the window.
Boundary Road will accept reservations but keep space open for walk-ins, as the goal is for it to be a local hangout as well as a culinary destination. “We’re really trying to be a neighborhood place where people can come on a weekday.” says Walker. “But we want to do things the way they do at those top-level places.”
A Boundary Road rep said the hope was to open “within two weeks.” We'll update with an exact opening date as soon as possible.
Boundary Road. 414 H St., NE; 202 450 3265; boundaryrd.com. Monday through Sunday 5 PM to 2 AM.