The Wrap-Up: The Week in Food

The Washington Post’s Tom Sietsema confirmed rumors we’ve been hearing for awhile: Sushi whiz Kaz Okochi, who owns Kaz Sushi Bistro in downtown DC, and Denver-based restaurateur Richard Sandoval, whose empire includes DC’s Zengo and McLean’s Sandia, are coming together to create Masa 14. The Latin/Asian fusion restaurant will occupy 5,000 square feet north of Logan Circle, and the menu will include small plates and specialty cocktails. Latif Guler, owner of Jack’s in DC’s Dupont Circle, will also hold a stake in the venture.

Sietsema also reports that Pesce owner Regine Palladin will move her Dupont Circle fish restaurant down the street to the vacated Montsouris space, where she’ll gain 40 extra seats—she only has 35 now—plus a bar and a bigger kitchen. Palladin will turn the former Pesce into Confit, a small-plates restaurant (concept sound familiar?), which she hopes to open in September. For this newest project, she’s bringing David Craig, who shuttered his eponymous restaurant in Bethesda last year.

Everywhere Barack Obama eats, crowds, not surprisingly, tend to follow. Such is the case at Michael Landrum’s Ray’s-Hell Burger, which already suffered from long lines long before The Man took vice-president Joe Biden and the press pool there. In order to handle the customers that sometimes wait for upwards of an hour for one of the ten-ounce patties, Landrum is temporarily moving the place to his former Ray’s the Steaks location, just a few doors down. He had originally planned to install Ray’s the Catch, a seafood-centric restaurant, in the empty spot, but he told Don Rockwell followers that “it would be irresponsible and a real disservice to the guest were we to embark on a new endeavor while existing guests are not being served or accommodated as well as they deserve in the current operation, as long as an immediate solution is at hand.” The current burger joint will be called the Hell Express and be used for take out, overflow, and ice cream floats and shakes. As for Ray’s the Catch, it’s future all depends on the crowds at the new Ray’s-Hell Burger, which means it’s probably on hold indefinitely.

Starting tomorrow, DC’s Glover Park and Burleith residents will have their own farmers market, thanks to the nonprofit DC Greens. In addition to the traditional fruit, vegetable, and meat offerings, there’ll be coffee, bread, and pasta vendors as well. The market is held at Hardy Middle School (Wisconsin and 34th sts., NW) from 9 to 1 every Saturday through October 3.

Sisters Katherine Kallinis and Sophie LaMontagne, whose Georgetown Cupcake has all but won the never-ending cupcake wars (enough already!), announced plans to open a second location on Bethesda Row (4834 Bethesda Ave.). One of their sweets competitors will be Sweetgreen, the salad-and-frozen-yogurt shop that also just opened in Bethesda—and also started with a tiny outpost in Georgetown.

Remember Ariane, the Top Chef season five contestant with the Jersey drawl? Yeah, it took us a minute, too, when we saw her at the Rammys on Sunday. The Washington City Paper’s Tim Carman had a similar memory lapse sitting next to her at the awards, but when he finally clicked on who she was, he got some info on life during and after Top Chef. Her five-week stint on TV translated into great business for her restaurant, CulinAriane, in Montclair, New Jersey. But the rules of the show, which ban her from reading any media and make her talk to her family on the phone while on camera, meant that she had to readjust to real life when she got home. She told Carman it was like being in the witness protection program.

More>> Best Bites Blog | Food & Dining | Restaurant Finder