New York-based chef Alex Garcia makes his official debut in Washington today with the opening of AG Kitchen, a 220-seat Latin restaurant in downtown Silver Spring. The Food Network personality opened the first AG in Manhattan, where he also operates several other restaurants.
The Silver Spring eatery is similar in many ways to the Big Apple original, though much larger. A vibrant, color-splashed interior is joined by a 55-seat patio, perfect for sipping pitchers of sangria or cava-mojitos. Those in a rush can head to the 30-seat, quick-service “paladar” for weekday lunch, serving ready-made Cuban sandwiches or platters of ropa vieja (stewed beef) with rice and beans.
A large full-service menu boasts a number of items from Garcia’s native Cuba, but also globe-trots for its Latin flavors. Guests can start with several styles of made-to-order guacamole, snack on tacos, or dig into hearty fare such as seafood paella or marinated Brazilian chicken. Burger fans will find patties from lauded New York meat purveyor Pat LaFrieda—here a custom blend of sirloin, short rib, chuck, and brisket—decked out with an international variety of toppings. Washing them down: milkshakes, both traditional and boozy.
The restaurant serves its first brunch on Saturday, with dishes that range from light (veggie egg white frittatas) to back-in-bed, like the “belly bomb” cheeseburger heaped with two fried eggs, bacon, and pickled jalapeños.
AG Kitchen. 931 Ellsworth Dr., Silver Spring. Open for lunch: Monday through Friday, 11:30 to 4. Dinner: Sunday through Thursday, 4 to 11; Friday and Saturday, 4 to midnight. Brunch: Saturday and Sunday, 10 to 4.