Food News Review: Bob Kinkead In at Watergate, Karen Nicolas Out at Equinox, Red Palace Becoming Vendetta

Plus: The “New York Times” calls out our local food scene.

By: Jessica Voelker

The closing of Foggy Bottom stalwart Kinkead’s saddened many longtime Washington diners. But Tom Sietsema has good news: Owner Bob Kinkead has a new restaurant headed for the Watergate. Called Ancora, the 130-seat Italian seafood concept will open for six months then shutter temporarily for a renovation, a setup that allows Kinkead to retain most of his staff, reports Sietsema. Look for it to debut in February. [WP]

Sietsema revealed his other big scoop of the week at the top of his weekly chat. Fifteen months after being hired, Food & Wine best new chef Karen Nicolas is out at Equinox. Owner Todd Gray says the decision was prompted by a “conflict of management style” and “culinary differences.” Nicolas was the first Todd Gray toque to be granted executive chef status. [WP]

The travel scribes over at the New York Times have come up with a list of 46 places to visit in 2013. Check out number 44, in which our local food scene is touted. Union Market, Toki Underground, Graffiato, Little Serow, and a culinary-focused Smithsonian exhibit all get a mention. [NYT]

A heads up to Clarendon: News came this morning that Bachelorette star Chris Bukowski has settled on a name and space for his forthcoming lady-friendly sports bar. [Washingtonian]

Young & Hungry brings word of Vendetta, a new Italian red-sauce spot to replace Red Palace. Partners in the project are H Street Country Club and Capitol Lounge entrepreneur Jimmy Silk and H Street magnate Joe Englert. The pasta-centric spot will feature cooking by Miami import James Figueroa-Perez. It’s set to open in April for dinner, with plans to expand into lunch and brunch service down the line. [Y&H]

Washington Post writer Tim Carman announced this week that the All We Can Eat blog will be discontinued. As he has done, Carman will continue to contribute to WaPo’s Going Out Gurus blog, and he assures readers there is no hidden message in the move, writing that the food section is still a “vibrant, valuable part of the paper.” [WP]

Eater DC spied an announcement on the Facebook page of Annapolis favorite Punk’s Backyard Grill indicating the restaurant closed January 6. [Eater DC]

What’s up at Capitol City Brewing? Beer writer Greg Kitsock says the local beermaker has lost two members of its core staff. Director of brewing operations Mike McCarthy is exploring what his next move will be, while Travis Tedrow, his number two, is moving over to the new Gordon Biersch near Nationals Park. [WP]

Ashley Soto is taking over as pastry chef at the new Farmers Fishers Bakers on the Georgetown Waterfront, says Eater DC. (Here’s hoping she keeps the amazing ice cream cake on the menu). Soto replaces Ashley Jenkins, who will be executive pastry chef at sister restaurant Founding Farmers in Foggy Bottom. [Eater DC]

Y&H checked in on the Popville rumor that Honey Pig had plans to open on H Street. Sadly, it is not to be—but the District’s loss is Germantown’s gain. [Y&H]

Also from Eater: Washington may see as many as ten Energy Kitchens, according to cofounder Anthony Leone. The chain focuses on entrées with 500 calories or fewer. [Eater DC]

From Patch via Eater via Washington City Paper: BonChon’s Annandale location has been replaced by a restaurant called Chi-MC Chicken & Beer. The franchise had different owners from the guys behind the Centreville location, who are planning to open a new BonChon in Arlington this summer. [Patch]

Popville shares news that Cafe Istanbul has moved from 2001 L Street, Northwest, to 2475 18th Street, Northwest, formerly home to Snap Crepes. [Popville]

Finally, for your weekend enjoyment: In a new Table Matters column, Passenger owner Derek Brown has some advice for bartenders: Spend less time trying to invent new drinks and more time mastering the classics. [Table Matters]