Taste of Texas
Tex-Mex gets a bad rap as greasy gringo food, but Republic Cantina in Truxton Circle (43 N St., NW) is trying to rehabilitate and modernize that image with a menu of breakfast tacos, smoked-brisket enchiladas, and avocado margaritas. Our big question: Will Lone Star State loyalists revolt at paying extra for rice and beans alongside their sizzling fajitas? (Hey, at least the chips and salsa are still free!)
Brewery to Watch
Few local breweries get beer nerds buzzing like Aslin—credit very limited production and distribution, a big Insta following, and fun indie releases such as raspberry-lime Gose. Visitors can taste and buy cans to go at its new tasting room (847 S. Pickett St., Alexandria) alongside food-truck eats. The original Herndon taproom, currently closed, is slated for a resurrection later this year.
Quick Lunch Spot
The Afghan dining room the Helmand, a Baltimore institution, has entered the fast-casual game. At the new Kabobi by the Helmand (2321 Dulles Station Blvd., Herndon), staples such as yogurt-drizzled pumpkin, raisin-studded rice, and seekh kebabs get the lunch-bowl treatment. Our top order: juicy beef meatballs and peas atop rice and gently spiced spinach.
The Ted’s Bulletin folks—purveyors of cheesecake pop-tarts and boozy milkshakes—have a new target: croissants. At Sidekick (4238 Wilson Blvd., Arlington), their new Ballston bakery, the pastries are big and buttery and utterly Americanized. (One is filled with Coca-Cola–infused pastry cream and gilded with Pop Rocks; another is stuffed with the makings of a Reuben sandwich.) To our surprise, the tastiest of the bunch is the most dubious-sounding—a potato-chip-topped, malt-cream-stuffed confection inspired by dipping French fries into a Wendy’s Frosty.
Rasika restaurateur Ashok Bajaj is on the cusp of completing an ambitious $65-million project at the historic address occupied by Restaurant Nora for nearly 40 years. In late October, he’ll debut Annabelle (2132 Florida Ave., NW), which will mix fine-dining touches such as oyster and caviar service with a retro vibe, complete with a classic cocktail bar and second-floor art gallery.
This article appears in the September 2019 issue of Washingtonian.