Fall opening season is well underway, and there are new spots for fine dining and casual grabs, spiced cocktails and holistic no-alcohol drinks. Also: a lot of carbs, because they’re always delicious no matter the season.
Beuchert’s Saloon 2.0
623 Pennsylvania Ave., SE
Beloved Beuchert’s is back on Capitol Hill after a year-and-a-half pandemic hiatus, during which chef/owner Andrew Markert transformed the seasonal saloon into Fight Club, a sandwich pop-up. Some classics from Beuchert’s eight-year run return like the Roseda Farms burger or bucatini with dry-aged pork ragu. Also look for new shareable platters like rockfish topped with white sturgeon caviar and leeks. At the bar: plenty of cocktails and your old bison-head pals, Mike and Ike. Up next for Markert: Newland, an upscale seasonal eatery nearby, and potentially a standalone spot for Fight Club.
124 Blagden Alley, NW
You once knew Columbia Room for its martinis and spritzes. Now get familiar with a new, more holistic approach to imbibing at the Disco Mary pop-up run by former Maydan/Compass Rose wine director Maria Bastasch. No and low-alcohol “apothecary cocktails” utilize adaptogenic mushrooms, super fruits, and soothing herbs, such as the “Influencers in the Wild” with pitaya, strawberry, lime, lemon balm, and schisandra berry. Like many creations, it can be sipped virgin or spiked with booze (in this case, mezcal). To match: vegan Mexican fare from new chef Elena Venegas. The pop-up, which runs Wednesday through Saturday starting October 22, takes over the indoor and outdoor a la carte bars; the tasting room, which is serving an equally exotic mushroom- and insect-focused menu, remains as is.
14215 H Centreville Sq., Centreville
Northern Virginia’s newest Korean barbecue destination upgrades its tabletop grills with Snake River Farms wagyu, Spanish Ibérico pork, and cuts that are wet and dry-aged in-house. Chef Sang Hyun Lee also puts his own spin on entrees like steak tartare bibimbap and sea urchin rice. For traditionalists (or those on a budget) there’re still less pricey meats and homey dishes like kimchi stew.
100 District Sq., SW
Few newcomers feel as transportive as chef Philippe Massoud’s Lebanese spot at the Wharf. It’s like dining in a garden thanks to citrus trees, an indoor fountain, and hanging bird cages. The restaurateur, who previously operated Georgetown’s Neyla, is back from a 15 year stint in NYC where he opened the first Illili. Look for modern mezze—duck shawarma, yellowtail with pomegranate ponzu—in the verdant room and outdoor patio.
925 13th St NW
Museum food gets an exciting spin at this global restaurant from Seven Reasons chef Enrique Limardo tucked inside Planet Word. During the day, the space is a cafe with quick-grab bowls similar to the fast-casual Immigrant Foods. In the evening, a separate entrance opens to the upscale dining experience and bar with global dim sum, whimsical drinks, and happy hour from 3 to 6 PM.
200 Massachusetts Ave., NW
If you’ve been on social media lately, you’ve probably seen a towering 40-layer lasagna making the rounds. That’s just one of the many eye-catching (and Insta-worthy) dishes at Central and Unconventional Diner chef David Deshaies new wood-fired Italian restaurant. The rustic-chic space, decked out with a wood-burning pizza oven and grill, is a hot destination for homemade pastas, thin-crust pizzas (try the seafood “octoroni”) and indulgent platters like Florentine steak.
1324 14th St., NW
A team of Mexican chefs and bartenders is behind this new wood-fired spot in Logan Circle, which pays tribute to their native country’s 64 varieties of corn. Chef Alam Méndez Florián, a native of Oaxaca who’s also a chef/partner at Pasillo de Humo in Mexico City, creates modern dishes using Mexican and local ingredients—think suckling pig tacos or lobster with tamales in lobster bisque broth. A taco tasting experience is on the way, as is a subterranean mezcal lounge. In the meantime, Mexico City-based mixologist Arturo Rojas created fun drinks like floral margaritas and mojitos punched up with aged rum and pineapple.
The Salt Line Ballston
4040 Wilson Blvd., Arlington
The popular Navy Yard seafood destination is in expansion mode. A second location just opened in Ballston with many of the same New England-style favorites—lobster rolls, stuffies, smash burgers—plus new crudos and seafood pastas from co-chefs Kyle Bailey and Matt Singer. While the weather’s nice, go for local oysters and rose spritzes on the patio of the 160-seat indoor/outdoor space. A third branch is headed to Bethesda next year.
1250 S Hayes St., Arlington
A mod-Mediterranean restaurant just opened in Pentagon City at the Ritz-Carlton. Diners can expect shareable small plates like grilled Virginia oysters and shrimp saganaki alongside larger platters of lamb osso bucco and roasted whole branzino. In addition to all-day dining, the restaurant also offers afternoon tea and bites in a fire-lit lounge.
Songbyrd Union Market
540 Penn St., NE
Popular concert venue Songbyrd flew its coop in Adams Morgan and is now permanently perched near Union Market. Owners Joe Lapan and Alisha Edmonson took over the space formerly occupied by Coconut Club and transformed the Hawaiian-inspired restaurant into an eclectic 200 person-capacity live music venue, restaurant, and bar with a roomy outdoor patio. Songbyrd is a popular place to see indie, rock, rap, and local musicians—including a number of rising stars—as well as a low-key venue to snag a burger or weekend brunch.
Z&Z Manoushe Bakery
1111 Nelson St., Rockville
The Dubbaneh family, who’re behind popular DC za’atar company Z&Z, just opened their first brick-and-mortar bakery and cafe in Rockville (if you want a happy cry, watch this video about the family history behind the space). Manoushe flatbreads are the specialty, similar to their farmers market stands, but you’ll also find meat pies, tabbouli salads, and sweets.