Chef Jennifer Carroll and Mike Isabella’s French-Mediterranean restaurant won’t open in DC until 2017, but you can get a taste starting Friday at their months-long pop-up in Fairfax’s Mosaic District. The temporary Requin takes over the building formerly occupied by Gypsy Soul, and will serve dinners through spring 2016, after which Isabella will officially transform the space into Kapnos Kouzina.
Chefs often keep pop-ups small, but the Top Chef: All Stars duo isn’t holding back. The space is large—120 seats in total—and you’ll find upscale dishes like imported wild Burgundy snails, whole Dover sole, and dry-aged cote de boeuf on the menu. Carroll, who comes to Washington from celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson’s restaurant group, draws from her time there, and at the famed Le Bernadin with Eric Ripert, especially when it comes to seafood.
The menu is designed with sharing in mind, starting with boards of cheese or various preparations of fish (fluke ceviche, smoked catfish rillette). Guests can also split a variety of tapas-size plates or platters such as a bouillabaisse-style shellfish roast meant for two-to-four diners. Though dishes from the sea play a large role at Requin—the permanent location will be in DC’s riverside Wharf development—vegetarians and meat-eaters have plenty of options. Desserts run classic—think chocolate soufflé and profiteroles—as do cocktails and a list of predominantly French wines.
Carroll plans to change the lineup frequently, practicing new creations for the upcoming restaurant. The name itself, French for “shark,” embodies constant movement.
“You have to be a little bit of a shark in the kitchen and hospitality world,” says Carroll. “Always ready to go, always ready for the next thing.”
Requin. 8296 Glass Alley, Fairfax; 703-462-8662. Open Tuesday through Thursday, 5 to 10 (bar closes at 11); Friday and Saturday 5 to 11 (bar closes at midnight). Closed Sunday.