The Wrap-Up: The Week in Food

Every Friday, we dish on what foodie news happened that week. This week? Top Chef is down a DC-er, crepes take over town, the Black Rooster is saved, and more.

Top Chef is down one Washingtonian. In a surprise twist, perennial bottom-three-er Robin escaped elimination on this week’s episode and Zaytinya chef Mike Isabella was asked to pack his knives and go. His offense? A poorly executed (and oddly protein-free) leek dish for vegetarian actress Natalie Portman. On a chat yesterday, Isabella made clear he’s hasn’t gained any affection for Robin (a.k.a. Grandma). “That woman could not cook her way out of a paper bag,” noted a commenter. “That’s totally true,” replied Isabella. “She can’t cook.” He went on to tell E! Online that though they’ve talked since the show, “she’s crazy and she’s annoying.”

Jack Evans saves the day! After it looked like the 40-year-old downtown DC dive the Black Rooster was headed for extinction, it now seems it’ll stay open after all. Owner Jody Taylor credits the DC Council member with the rescue. What happened? “I don’t really know, to be honest with you,” Taylor tells the Washington City Paper. “Once I talked to the landlord, he was extremely gracious. Everybody came to terms. It’s good all around.”

More good news: The new “it” restaurant destination of 14th Street, Northwest, is getting not one but two crepe cafes. Point Chaud Cafe & Crepes will open in the former Circle Boutique space, while Crepes on the Corner will move into one of the old Garden District spaces come December.

The tiny unmarked bar the Gibson is nearly doubling its seating and adding a second floor. It’ll have a marble bar and two small (and rentable) lounge-like rooms. “It’s like downstairs but not as dim,” says the Washington Post’s Fritz Hahn.

Former Rustico chef Frank Morales has surfaced after a short hiatus—the Washington City Paper’s Tim Carman found him in the kitchen at Jackie’s in Silver Spring. Owner Jackie Greenbaum tells Carman that Morales will remake much of the comfort-foodie menu (Elvis sliders, too?!), help the restaurant with its beer selection, and work on its plan for a takeout next door.

Ray’s Hell-Burger, which has been constantly slammed since the Obama/Biden lunch date this summer, is adding a new side to its menu: Fries. That’s right, fries. A debate quickly popped up on about whether the fries were fresh or frozen. Hey, if Thomas Keller can do it . . . .

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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.