Early Look: What You’ll Be Eating at the Capella Hotel’s Grill Room (Photos)

Whiskey-cured salmon, dry-aged meats, and a Champagne trolley are among the new restaurant’s draws.

Whiskey-cured salmon is among the offerings at the Grill Room and Rye Bar. Photograph by Jeff Elkins

The debut of the new Capella Hotel in Georgetown is just under a month away—as is the opening of its public spaces to lounge and eat, the Grill Room and Rye Bar. While the space is still under construction, chef Jakob Esko is already busy testing menus for both.

An average evening at the Capella will likely start out in walnut-paneled Rye Bar, where you’ll find a curated list of whiskeys and cocktails. (Fun fact: beneath your feet is a private dining area that can be accessed via a private car entrance for celebs, political and other.) A “hand-harvested ice program” may sound a bit uppity, but at least your whiskey won’t be watery. Bartenders crush ice to order in a Lewis bag for drinks such as mojitos to avoid the slush effect, or you can sip a rare 23-year-old rye on chilled stainless steel stones. A separate menu includes dishes that both pair well with brown liquor and make use of it, like oysters with lemon and rye foam, whiskey-and-parsley-crusted bone marrow, local charcuterie, and crabcake sliders.

Don’t entirely fill up on bar snacks. Dinner in the 70-seat Grill Room next door mixes old-school charm—a Champagne trolley, steak tartare mixed tableside, baked Alaska—and modern touches. A number of steaks come from local purveyors, many—such as tenderloin, strip, and rib eye—to be served on the bone alongside house steak sauce made with red-wine-braised oxtails, smoked salt, and whiskey. (If you have an appetite, a two-pound côte de boeuf for two is carved tableside.) A rotisserie turns out roast chicken as well as daily specials like suckling pig, pork loin, and lamb, with side dishes such as seasonal vegetables cooked in a salt crust. Though lunch and dinner menus vary, dishes like the chicken are on both, as well as lighter items and a dessert trolley for grabbing a quick sweet at the end of your meal. In warmer months, doors open to a shaded outdoor patio along the canal, perfect for sipping chilled white wine along with grilled rockfish.

Check back in for more details closer to the opening, scheduled for March 22.

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.