There’s a new face in Ashok Bajaj’s Knightsbridge Corporation, the same group that boasts such talents as Nick Stefanelli (Bibiana), Tony Conte (the Oval Room, 701), and Vikram Sunderam (both Rasikas). The prolific restaurateur just announced he’ll bring on Greg McCarty to helm the kitchen at his next project, NoPa Kitchen + Bar, set to debut in the former Zola space in late April.
Though McCarty is a recent hire, Bajaj has known him for more than five years through connections in the industry. The toque’s résumé includes stints at high-profile restaurants, including six years with Jean-Georges Vongerichten, an executive sous position at his restaurant, Dune, in the Bahamas, and an opening spot at Nobu Matsuhisa’s chic midtown Manhattan haunt, Nobu 57. Bajaj is going more casual with NoPa’s American brasserie concept—think more Ardeo + Bardeo than the Oval Room—but the chef’s experience will help direct the menu. You’ll find French-influenced items such as steak frites, as well as burgers, sandwiches, small plates, and a raw bar that’ll draw on McCarty’s years with Nobu (you never know, sushi may pop up somewhere).
McCarty isn’t the only New York chef migrating down to Washington from the Big Apple. McLean’s Bistro Vivant just announced the hire of Ed Hardy to replace Driss Zahidi. Though perhaps not as well known as that other Ed Hardy, the Virginia native spent years in Manhattan working with chef Marcus Samuelsson at Aquavit and the American Table Bar and Cafe, and at the Michelin-starred Modern. Maybe the New York Times’ highlight of this area’s hot restaurant scene in its “46 Places to Go in 2013” played a role. Or maybe, as we’ve known for some time, Washington is just a great place to be.