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.
• Also from Prince of Petworth comes news that Iron Gate Restaurant will shut its doors October 31. The Dupont Circle spot was best known for its romantic outdoor patio.
• Come November, the DC-food-truck scene will expand to include one more: Sabor’a Street (twitter.com/saborastreet). The bio on the truck’s Twitter account calls the concept “Latin-inspired street food.” The WeLoveDC blog reports that chef Jorge Pimentel—who’s worked at the late Mark & Orlando’s, Masa 14, and CommonWealth—is behind the menu, which includes tacos and arepas.
• Khoa and Denise Nguyen, the pair of cousins who were on NBC’s short-lived Chopping Block show, are opening a Vietnamese restaurant called Ba Bay on Capitol Hill, and Tim Carman has the scoop on who they’ve tapped as executive chef: Nick Sharpe, most recently of the nearby Sonoma. It’s an unusual hire, given Sharpe’s background at Sonoma (a wine bar), Vidalia (high-end Southern), and Maestro (fancy Italian), among other very non-Asian kitchens. At the Nguyen family home, Sharpe got a crash course in Vietnamese cooking. The cousins also hired Sara Siegel as sous chef and pastry chef. Her background? Babbo, a Mario Batali restaurant in Manhattan, as well as Vidalia, where she made desserts.
• Following a months-long legal battle with the law firm Steptoe & Johnson, Rogue States, a Dupont Circle burger shop, was ordered to close Tuesday by DC Superior Court judge John Mott. Steptoe had been complaining that its offices were infused with overwhelming grease fumes. When we talked to owner Raynold Mendizabal, he was frustrated that the building’s landlord wouldn’t consider venting through the roof—a probable fix—but he vowed he was going to find a way to reopen.
• In what’s probably the most serious item to ever be included in our Wrap-Up: The Washington Post wrote Tuesday that an al-Qaeda group in Yemen posted in an online English publication that restaurants in Washington are good places for attacks in the United States. It says that “a random hit at a crowded restaurant in Washington D.C. at lunch hour … might end up knocking out a few government employees.”
• In the last couple of years, New York City restaurateurs have set flocked to Washington (Carmine’s, Shake Shack, Kellari Taverna), but Grub Street reports that there’s one instance of a reverse commute set to open next spring. The BLT Group—which owns BLT Steak in downtown DC, itself a New York import—is bringing its Italian concept, Casa Nonna, to the Big Apple. The Washington location, in DC’s Dupont Circle, just opened last month.
• One of those New York imports debuts today in downtown DC (1600 K St., NW): P.J. Clarke’s, a saloon whose first location opened 126 years ago in Manhattan. The menu, which can be likened to Old Ebbitt Grill’s, includes a raw bar, steaks, burgers, and appetizers such as deviled eggs with house-made pickles and tomato soup with cheddar toast.
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