Tom Sietsema of the Washington Post was full of news this week:
• Daisuke Utagawa, owner of Sushiko in Glover Park—the oldest raw-fish restaurant in Washington—tells Sietsema that he has plans for another property: a ramen shop. Utagawa, who also owns Sushiko in Chevy Chase, signed a lease at 705 Sixth Street, Northwest, behind the Verizon Center. He’s partnering with the founder of Eighteenth Street Lounge for the new place, which he hopes to open in about a year.
• Also from Sietsema comes news of changes at the Georgetown high-end/low-end seafood-focused siblings Hook and Tackle Box. The bigger restaurant has a new chef, Alex Bollinger, who was most recently at Urbana in Dupont Circle and has also worked at Charlie Palmer Steak. The casual beach-shack-themed Tacklebox has taken over the space that used to serve as Hook’s private room. It’s now the 30-seat Crackle Bar, with $1 oysters during happy hour. Restaurateur Jonathan Umbel is still working on a second Tackle Box in Cleveland Park. He’s pushing to open it in April.
• Another kitchen update: Nate Garyantes is now overseeing the kitchen at the recently renovated Ardeo + Bardeo. His experience includes Café Atlántico and Minibar, the wildly modern restaurant-within-a-restaurant. Garyantes also has experience in the Army and owned the now-closed Restaurant 821 in Wilmington, Delaware, his home state.
In this week’s Young & Hungry column, Washington City Paper writer Scott Reitz reveals a big secret about the local chainlet Taylor Gourmet: Despite marketing that would make you believe otherwise, the rolls aren’t trucked in from Philly. They’re baked locally. But, as Reitz himself asks, is there reason to care?
In Washingtonian restaurant critic Todd Kliman’s chat this week, a reader alerted him to a series of YouTube videos by Gillian Clark, the chef/owner at Silver Spring’s General Store. The shorts, often called “A General Store Re-Enactment,” are acted out by Clark’s business partner, who parodies customers doing things such as leaving the door open and talking on their cell phones while ordering. DCist asked readers if they thought the videos were harmless or rude, and Michael Grass at the City Paper said “it’s somewhat refreshing to see restaurant staff blow off some steam when they regularly have to deal their more dense customers.” What do you think?
We’re not sure which news file to put this under: Valentine’s Day? Top Chef? Bizarre Washington politics? Top Chef contestant Carla Hall, who owns a catering company in Silver Spring, was sworn in Thursday as DC’s “secretary of love and relationships.” According to the Washington Examiner, the job involves promoting Destination D.C.’s Date Nights D.C. Hootie hoo!
Sam & Harry’s in downtown DC—a big-time power-dining spot in the ’80s and ’90s—has closed, reports the Washington Business Journal’s Missy Frederick. The company issued a statement saying its 20-year lease has ended, but there are plans to expand the brand, which includes Sam & Harry’s locations in California, Illinois, and Reagan National Airport.
Follow the Best Bites Bloggers on Twitter at twitter.com/bestbitesblog