The Wrap-Up: The Week in Food

Every Friday, we fill you in on what’s been happening in the local restaurant world.

Spike Mendelsohn, former Top Chef contestant and owner of Capitol Hill’s Good Stuff Eatery, signed a deal for a cookbook last Friday. In it, he’ll divulge recipes from his local burger joint, which he plans to duplicate in the Big Apple, according to New York Magazine. When we contacted Mendelsohn last week about Sunday’s latke-making class, he told us that his holiday wish list included sealing this book deal. Happy Hannukah, dude!

• The Washington Business Journal tells us that restaurateurs Jared Rager and Eli Hengst—owners of Sonoma, Mendocino Grille, and Redwood—will open a fourth restaurant in Glover Park, and they’re raising money in an unconventional way. They’re trying to find a couple dozen neighborhood residents to invest about $5,000 each so they can turn the former Thai restaurant Busara into Blue Ridge, a wine-focused eatery that will serve Southern-inspired cuisine. In return for the investors’ monetary support, they will earn dining credits and access to private events.


Todd Thrasher, cocktail whiz kid at Alexandria’s Restaurant Eve and PX, beat out a field of cocky New York mixologists in the Domaine de Canton Bartender of the Year Competition. Last month, Thrasher took first place in the semi-final round, earning him a trip to St. Martin in February for the finals, where he hopes to take home the $10,000 prize. Cheers!

• On Monday, NBC4 food writer Sery Kim anointed Lauriol Plaza as the best Mexican food in Washington, an award she justified by noting that her Texas-bred “Tex-Mex palate is entirely five-star.” Not even 24 hours later, Tim Carman expressed his utter shock and staunch disagreement on the City Paper’s Web site, while giving Kim a brief education on Washington’s Mexican-food scene. We couldn’t help being a little skeptical of Kim’s review too, when she wrote this about the margaritas: “I drank an entire pitchers worth.”

• Tim Carman reported that chef Todd Wiss will no longer run the kitchen at Black’s Bar and Kitchen. Jeff Black, co-owner of the Black Restaurant Group, told Carman that he fired Wiss from his upscale-casual Bethesda restaurant because of a difference in management styles. It was a short-lived stint for Wiss, who arrived in June from Poste, where he was a sous chef.

Buddha Bar, an ultra-modern French/Asian restaurant and lounge with ten international locations, is coming to Mount Vernon Square. The owners hope to open the 9,400-square-foot space sometime next year.

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