• Mark Weiss, CEO of the Whisk Group—which owns Againn in DC and Rockville—has appointed a new executive chef following the departure of Wes Morton, who has gone to Art and Soul on Capitol Hill. Weiss promoted Mike Sindoni from his post as executive sous chef to oversee the British gastropub menus. "Mike has been with me for 2½ years," says Weiss. "He was traveling with me through London doing the research [for Againn]. There's a big part of what we do today that is Mike." He says that Sindoni—who worked with Morton at *17 restaurant in Houston before they came to DC together—is especially skilled with charcuterie, sausage-making, and seafood. He's already added a new dish to the menu: cod cooked sous vide with olive oil and served over cannellini beans. As for Morton, Weiss says that he left on "great terms. I'm sad I've lost him to another location."
• Washington isn’t short on barbecue joints, but it is short on great barbecue joints. In summer 2009, we heard that Bethesda native Marc Glosserman was going to open a branch of his New York behemoth, Hill Country. Former New York Times critic Frank Bruni once called it one of his favorite restaurants in the world. Good news: Tom Sietsema of the Washington Post announced on Twitter that the Texas-barbecue place is set to open March 12 at 410 Seventh Street, Northwest. Fifteen days and counting until oak-smoked meats, Texas cream soda, and live country music.
• Sietsema also brought us news of the next project for restaurateur Ashok Bajaj (Oval Room, Bombay Club, Bibiana, and others): A second Rasika, his tony modern-Indian dining room in Penn Quarter. The outpost will be in a 5,900-square-foot space in the first level of a condo building at 1177 22nd Street, Northwest. Rasika’s chef, Vikram Sunderam, will assume culinary control at the new restaurant, whose bigger kitchen will afford him space to try new dishes, but expect a very similar menu to the original. Bajaj is projecting a February 2012 opening date. Bring on the fried spinach.
• Washington has been inundated with news of forthcoming pizza shops, and according to Missy Frederick of the Washington Business Journal, it’s not over yet: Pizza Autentica, a local chain, is opening a full-service restaurant in a space at 3201 New Mexico Avenue, Northwest, the former site of a Balducci’s. Owner Hakan Ilhan is working on getting his pizzas stamped with the official Neapolitan seal, a designation that 2 Amys and Pizzeria Orso have as well.
• Sprinkles Cupcakes, a Los Angeles-based business, is bringing its colorful confections to a store in Georgetown (3015 M St., NW) March 3. To celebrate, a roving cupcake truck will be doling out free cupcakes February 28 through March 6. Check this schedule or Twitter (@sprinklesmobile) to find out where to get them.
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