This just in: Barton Seaver, the chef at Cafe St.-Ex and Bar Pilar, is leaving behind 14th St. for Georgetown.
Sometime in "mid-to-late April," Seaver will become the chef at a new place called Hook, on M St. The restaurant takes over the space that belonged to Cilantro.
Hook thought it had hooked Bryan Voltaggio, the chef at Capitol Hill's Charlie Palmer Steak, but Voltaggio backed out of the project a couple of weeks ago (and scored a nice little promotion from boss Palmer). Seaver leapt at the chance to bring his commitment to sustainability and local markets to a larger stage. "I couldn't be more excited," the young chef told me this afternoon.
The menu for the 155-seat restaurant will feature eight or ten preparations of fish and seafood nightly, as well as a regular selection of crudo (the Italian term for raw fish), including fresh, housecured anchovies. Seaver will also be offering housemade charcuterie ("That's the sexy part of cooking"), and, eventually, homemade breads. (The breads will be baked next door, in the space that currently belongs to Georgetown Bagelry; it's about to be transformed into an upmarket eat-in specialty store).
Joining Seaver in the new venture is pastry chef Heather Chittum, who has previously made sweets for Notti Bianche and Citronelle.
Seaver wants a low-key, companionable vibe for the new place, and hopes to back that promise by keeping entree prices in the low 20s and offering a good many bottles of wine (all of which he'll be choosing) for $60 and under.
Georgetown, he says, is "a destination, but it's very much a neighborhood."
He ought to know: His parents live only blocks away from the new restaurant. "I fully expect them," he says, "to saunter down to dinner as much as they can."