A Vibey French-Japanese Izakaya Is Coming to 14th Street

Bar Japonais comes from the owners of French-Chinese hotspot Bar Chinois.

Bar Chinois owners Mark Minicucci, Margaux Donati, and Dean Mosones are opening a Japanese-French sequel. Photograph courtesy Bar Japonais.

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Bar Japonais, 1520 14th St., NW.

Spanish restaurant Estadio ended its 13-year run in Logan Circle in February. Soon the slushitos will be replaced by sake and Champagne. Bar Japonais, a French-Japanese izakaya from the owners of French-Chinese Bar Chinois in Mount Vernon Triangle, will open in its place in early 2024.

The fusion concept has been a long-simmering one for co-owner Dean Mosones, who was born in Japan and studied French: “I always had an affinity for both traditions and both cultures. So it was always on my mind to hopefully get to do this.” Mosones has partnered with Margaux Donati, whose bar-centric resume spans from French brasserie Le Diplomate to Japanese sushi and yakitori spot Zeppelin, as well as Mark Minicucci, who has a marketing and design background.

The food will lean Japanese, while the drinks are more French—but the two influences will also meld together on both sides of the menu. The exact offerings are still TBD, but expect no more than 20 smaller, shareable plates including some a handful of sushi rolls, gyoza, crudo, and other izakaya staples. Mosones says the plan is to riff on traditional dishes “in our own way” as they have with, say, French-onion-soup dumplings at Bar Chinois. To drink, expect a mix of French wine (especially bubbles), sake, and cocktails.

Mosones describes the look they are going for as stylish, sleek, and minimalist with “a few homages to Estadio.” The space will have the same general layout with an open kitchen and center bar, but the team is looking for ways to open it up a bit more and add in some banquettes and high-tops. They also plan to have a 40-seat patio.

“The ambiance we’re looking for is kind of vibey, lower lights, energetic—like places in the Meatpacking District or West Village,” Mosones says. “Just really moody and chatty and feels a little more sophisticated.”

Jessica Sidman
Food Editor

Jessica Sidman covers the people and trends behind D.C.’s food and drink scene. Before joining Washingtonian in July 2016, she was Food Editor and Young & Hungry columnist at Washington City Paper. She is a Colorado native and University of Pennsylvania grad.