I hear it all the time from chefs in the business and friends alike: “DC needs more casual, neighborhood places.” You know, the type of place that you can walk in, grab a table and get a good, decently priced meal. The kind of place where you can become a regular. Well, Mintwood Place might just fit the bill.
The newest restaurant to hit Adams Morgan comes from Saied Azali, the owner of the next-door and popular, Perry’s. The warm light from the coils of exposed bulbs, wood paneling and antique tin ceiling make for a cozy and hip atmosphere. Just walking by the place and seeing that glow pour out onto the street is enough to make you want to go inside. There’s a decent-sized stretch of bar next to the bright, open kitchen (bonus design points for the cool old sink knobs which serve as purse/coat hooks under the bar) with a few high-top tables that you can eat at if you haven’t managed to snag a reservation. By the way things look with buzz getting around town about this place, you will most definitely want a reservation.
Opened in late January, executive chef Cedric Maupillier (who previously was at Central with Michel Richard and worked with Fabio Trabocchi of Fiola back in his Maestro days) and his team serve up an eclectic menu with a noticeable French influence with dishes such as the cassoulet or the hanger steak and frites with bordelaise sauce. But then you’ll also find dishes such as the tagliatelle bolognese, a whole dorade with braised fennel or the lamb tongue moussaka. This is not to say the menu isn’t focused; rather, there’s something to please every diner in the crowd. And every dish is executed quite exceptionally. Hanger steak and frites at Mintwood
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Ok, so if you’re the least bit familiar with restaurants and the supposed opening dates in DC, you know that they are almost never met due to permitting delays, construction delays, staffing delays…you get it. Still, the eternal optimist, these are the five restaurants I can’t wait to try when they open later this year. (Note: I better not have to wait until 2012 to see you!)
The fine dining, Italian restaurant brought to us by Enzo Fargione will join the culinary heaven that is Penn Quarter. If that name sounds familiar, it’s because Chef Fargione was previously the chef at K Street’s Teatro Goldoni. Publicist Janet Donovan tells me that the restaurant will open sometime in the Fall — so I’m crossing my fingers for late September/early October. Elisir’s Facebook page is getting more and more active, which is always a good sign. You can check it out for construction and menu updates.
Since I first put together Part 1 and Part 2 of restaurants opening in 2011, I’ve been bombarded by emails reminding me of yet even more restaurants coming up. We’re working on a tool that will enable us (and therefore you!) to keep a better running list of the now 50-plus restaurants opening…but for now, here are some more hot-spots for you to look forward to this year in DC.
Another reason that as a Navy Yard resident I’m getting more and more jealous of the Southwest Waterfront everyday – not only do they have a Safeway, but now a new restaurant called Station 4. Bullfeathers on Capitol Hill just reopened earlier this month under the same management behind Tunnicliff’s Tavern, Stoney’s, and Ulah Bistro. That same team is now bringing us this 4,000 square foot American bistro-style restaurant. Again, I love patio dining, and I love brunch on the weekends, so I will definitely be at Station 4.