Early Look: Carving Room Kitchen & Bar (Photos)

A Moroccan-Jewish deli (with booze!) debuts near Mount Vernon Square.

Wooden tables are crafted from old bleachers from Illinois; Abi Weizmann and Gabe Morales ate a lot of canned foods to make tin-can candle holders to light the dining room. Photograph by Andrew Propp.

We’re calling it: 2013 is the year of the sandwich. Just when we finished regaling
you with all the latest between-bread happenings in the past few months in our preview
of Bub and Pop’s,

Oded Weizmann’s the Carving Room opens its doors at 300 Massachusetts Avenue, Northwest, with a
whole roster of house-made meats and sides.

Like many good Jewish delis before it, the 55-seat space is a family operation—but
unlike at the delis of yore, you’ll find a bar. Place your food order at the front
of the eatery, and then belly up to the booze counter or one of the many tables fashioned
from old bleacher seats. The brews are all American, from good ol’ Miller Lite to
craft finds like Bear Republic Hop Rod Rye, with drafts available by the group-friendly
growler (about six beers). A concise wine list reaches further, including Argentinian
Malbec and Spanish Albariño. Cocktails include a mix of savory drinks—think house-made
pickle backs and Bloody Marys garnished with crispy corned beef—and more fruity libations
like vodka with lemon sour and strawberries and a mule with ginger purée. A boon for
drinkers: Happy hour runs from 4 to 7 every day of the week.

Getting to the meat of the matter (literally), you’ll find plenty of stomach-padding
Jewish and Moroccan delicacies. The Israeli-born Weizmann incorporates familial recipes
into the menu, including cold vegetable “dipping salads” such as cumin-scented carrots
and roasted eggplant meant for scooping with slices of warm baguette, or rolled pastry
cigars stuffed with spiced beef. For heartier helpings of protein, just turn to the
sandwiches. House-made corned beef and pastrami star in the “old school” section,
with the latter getting a 21-day wet cure in house-made pickling spice before a three-hour
braise and steam-to-order delivery. That’ll be available again in March; the kitchen
is currently out due to the lengthy process and high demand. In the meantime, nine-day-cured
pastrami rubbed with black pepper and coriander can do the trick. Less traditional
sandwiches include freshly roasted lamb with pickled cucumbers and lemony yogurt,
roast beef on wheat with horseradish sauce, and a three-cheese melt of fontina, cheddar,
and Gruyère for the veggie crowd—though you can always add any of the house meats
back on. All arrive with sides like egg salad, red vinegar slaw, or “Momma Zohra’s”
potato salad studded with pickled veggies, Weizmann’s ode to Mom. Can’t decide? Pick
any of the three meats for a carving board, accompanied by warm Lyon bakery rye and
condiments such as bacon-onion compote.

Once the restaurant is up and running, look for new elements such as all the meats,
sides, and loaves of Lyon Bakery bread to go. Warmer weather will bring a 40-seat
outdoor patio, which may coincide with the start of brunch. On the horizon: more Bloodys,
plus egg sandwiches.

Carving Room Kitchen & Bar. 300 Massachusetts Ave., NW; 202-525-2116. Open daily 11
AM to midnight.

Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.