Nido Opens in DC with a Vermouth Bar, Tuscan Steaks

A relaxed Mediterranean spot arrives in Woodridge.

Nido brings relaxed Mediterranean dining to Woodridge. Photography courtesy of Nido.

One trend we don’t want to see slow down in Washington: the rise of small, chef-driven neighborhood restaurants. Lucky for us, two anticipated newcomers arrived today. First came the Royal, which debuted in Ledroit Park this morning, and now Nido, an 80-seat Mediterranean spot on Rhode Island Avenue, Northeast, which serves its first dinner tonight. The Woodridge neighborhood spot comes courtesy of Boundary Road co-owner Karlos Leopold and business partner Erin Lingle, working alongside former Tabard Inn sous-chef of seven years, Aaron Wright.

Nido, which means “nest” in Italian and Spanish, was inspired by Lingle’s experiences eating in the two countries. The menu, which is limited to dinner as of now, focuses on straightforward preparations of seasonal ingredients.

“The biggest compliment we had at a pre-opening dinner is, ‘this is food that tastes like food!’,” says Lingle. “It’s meant to taste like ingredients, the best way we can serve them.”

Entree-size bowls of Basque seafood stew join a menu of small plates and vermouth cocktails.

Diners can start off with a variety of snacks and small plates, or make a meal of the tapas-size portions. Alternatively, pastas such as pappardelle with braised pork and preserved lemon arrive in entree-size bowls. Large platters, such as a Tuscan-style bone-in steak, are meant for a crowd. Though comforts abound, the kitchen also gets ambitious with the likes of linguine with seared chicken livers and spring peas, or grilled octopus and chorizo.

Two bars, one for each floor, specialize in vermouths and cocktails made from the fortified wine. Lingle is currently working on a house variety, but for now guests can sip locally-made rosé Capitoline Vermouth. The neighborhood can also expect brunch to arrive in the coming weeks, served on Saturdays and Sundays.

Nido. 2214 Rhode Island Ave., NE; 202-627-2815. Dinner Tuesday through Sunday, 5:30 to 10:30. Bar open until midnight, Tuesday through Thursday and Sunday, and until 1 am on Friday and Saturday. Weekend brunch coming soon.

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.