The Wrap-Up: The Week in Food

An early look at the Todd English restaurant planned for new boutique hotel Donovan House.

•The Donovan House, brought to DC by the owners of Soho-chic 60 Thompson in New York, is now up and running on Thomas Circle. But its restaurant—a new Asian concept by Olives chef Todd English— isn’t expected to open until winter; in the meantime, high-rolling Italian chain Il Mulino is handling room service (Dean & DeLuca is stocking the minibars). We’re most looking forward to ADC, the sleek-sounding (but private, unless you’re a hotel guest or score an access card) rooftop pool and lounge expected to open mid-summer. Donovan is one of a handful of new mod-luxury hotels coming to the area. Downtown’s Hotel Washington is becoming a W Hotel, and Starwood’s 1 Hotel is slated to open in the West End in 2010.

•So Cindy McCain’s “family recipes,” posted on the McCain presidential campaign Web site, have been revealed to be lifted almost directly from the Food Network and Rachael Ray. Passionfruit mousse and Ahi tuna with napa slaw didn’t exactly scream “heirloom” anyway.

•Elevation Burger, the fast food joint with a conscience (Grass-fed beef! Fries cooked in olive oil!) in Falls Church, will soon franchise 12 more restaurants in DC (near GW University), Northern Virginia, and New Jersey by late 2008 or early 2009. Between Elevation, Top Chef contestant Spike Mendelsohn’s planned Good Stuff Eatery on Capitol Hill, and the upcoming Burger Joint in Bethesda—which will have ten varieties on the menu, from a Serrano-ham-topped Cuban burger to a nine-pounder—it looks like the area is poised for a patty revolution that goes beyond cutesy sliders and $38 lobster burgers.

•As if the roasted shoat and Parker House rolls aren’t enough, this recollection from Shuna Fish Lydon, one of CityZen chef Eric Ziebold’s former colleagues at the French Laundry, gives even more evidence that he’s a kitchen rock star. Click here to read what Lydon says is “the most amazing thing I ever saw in a kitchen.”

•The trade magazine Restaurants & Institutions just released its list of the 100 highest-grossing non-chain restaurants in the country. Number 6 on the list? DC’s own Old Ebbitt Grill, which served 800,000 meals last year to earn more than $22.8 million. Further down the Vegas- and New York-dominated list, at  number 73, is Great American Restaurants-owned Mike’s American. The Springfield spot slung 464,000 meals and grossed more than $23 million.

•Silver Spring has extended it’s Restaurant Week deals—$12 lunches and $22 or $30 dinners, depending on the place—until Sunday, April 27. So if you’ve been craving the comfort food at Jackie’s, the pastas and terrines at Nicaro, the Chicken Cardinale and lasagna at Olazzo, or anything at Ceviche, Cubano’s, Mrs. K’s Tollhouse, and the Golden Flame, now’s the time to go.


Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Logan Circle.