Food and Drink, The Features

We Love Food: Bombay Club

Photo courtesy of Powers and Crewe Photography

It was 90 degrees and all I wanted was a freezing cold lemonade and an ice bath. Instead, I walked into The Bombay Club for Indian food, not the usual remedy to a hot and humid District day, I know. But spicy food and a well air-conditioned beautiful setting hit the spot. I thought, “Do as the Romans do,”–or in this case the Indians–and eat hot to cool down. Somehow, it worked magic.

I spent many years living in London, where Indian food is a staple. There are epic curry houses and great take-outs, and high-end Indian restaurants galore. When I moved to D.C. that was one of the foods I missed the most, and really had trouble finding those amazing naan’s, tikka’s and chutneys I craved so much. Well, until I heard about this guy… Ashok Bajaj.

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Food and Drink, The Features, We Love Food

Winter Restaurant Week 2012

Photo courtesy of Daquella manera
Cena courtesy of Daquella manera

So you are one week into your New Years resolutions of getting fit, eating healthy and exercising more… Good for you! Now get over it, because starting January 9th restaurants across the District will be offering killer deals for Winter Restaurant Week. From January 9-15, select restaurants across the city will offer a three-course lunch for $20.12  and three-course dinners for $35.12. Best part is, no mass daily-deal purchase necessary, all you need is a reservation. Now, who doesn’t love a delicious bargain?

Restaurant Week is a week to go big rather than stay home, as some of the pricier dining options in DC become immediately accessible. It is a chance for you to cross out some of those places you’ve had on your list for a while, instead of waiting for the next birthday/anniversary/you-name-it special occasion, you’re excused to dine with the big boys and save a pretty penny too. While some haters (I was indeed one of them) worry that the lower price point comes at the expense of quality, the restaurants below are quality-driven and promise a memorable dining experience regardless of the end bill. And let’s remember, it is their reputation on the line after all and consistency is key. So stop drinking the hate-orade and embrace the feast week.

Here are some suggestions:

Art and Soul– Art Smith will offer an extensive menu that includes some of his signature dishes, as well as a specially priced wine list for the week. Now that’s being a Southern Gentleman.  Menu highlights include shrimp and grits, charcuterie of the day, Yorkshire pig and cabbage, pan fried flounder, and sweet offerings like chocolate bread pudding and apple tart. Update: Art and Soul will be extending their restaurant week menu through January 22nd.

701 – Chef Ed Witt has developed an extensive and exciting menu, mouth-watering options include lemongrass lobster bisque, bourbon caramel apple salad with mustard greens, veal sweetbreads, red wine beef short-ribs, cider braised rabbit leg and desserts including an upscale s’more- chocolate bar with vanilla bean gelato, marshmallow and graham crackers. Need I say more?

Rasika– Reservations at Chef Vikram Sunderam’s Indian mecca are near impossible to snag, so book now if you want to dine here during Restaurant Week. The Penn Quarter powerhouse is consistently delicious and will undoubtedly be offering some of its best dishes.

Photo courtesy of angela n.
Art & Soul courtesy of angela n.

Fiola– Everything here from the classic antipastis to the homemade pastas and innovative fish and meat offerings is spot on delicious. As Fiola’s first Winter Restaurant Week, chef Fabio Trabocchi is sure to deliver. I also recommend you spend the money you would have on the meal and try many a drinks by Fiola’s resident mixologist, Jeff Faile. These men know what they are doing. Continue reading

Capital Chefs, Food and Drink, The Features

Capital Chefs: Ed Witt of 701 (Part 2)

Photo courtesy of
‘To make a good salad is…….’
courtesy of ‘LaTur’

The recipe for this week is a simple one, but can be used in variety of ways. According to Witt, these maple candied walnuts are used to garnish the red wine pear, arugula, date and goat cheese salads at 701. While that sounds delicious, I’m sure you creative and ambitious foodies could find plenty of other uses for these walnuts. Read on for the full recipe.
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Food and Drink, The Features

Capital Chefs: Ed Witt of 701 (Part 1)

Photo courtesy of
‘Chef Ed Witt of 701’
courtesy of ‘bonappetitfoodie’

Like many chefs I talk to, Ed Witt went into the restaurant industry in a sort of roundabout way. He had cooked in high school and enjoyed it, but it wasn’t until after four majors and three years in college that he decided to really pursue being a chef.

After stints in San Francisco and New York City, Witt returned to the DC area in 2009. Although he is originally from Binghamton, New York, Witt went to high school in DC and later attended University of Maryland. In June 2010, he became part of restauranteur Ashok Bajaj’s empire when he was hired as the executive chef of 701 Restaurant in Penn Quarter.

At times working in a restaurant downtown with a largely tourist-based clientele can be challenging. But for Witt there are plenty of positives in the kitchen. “I get to be pretty creative as long as it’s within our costs,” Witt says. At 701, Witt gets to experiment with housemade charcuterie and he’s excited about getting a pasta extruder for the restaurant. For those not familiar, a pasta extruder is a machine that can make pasta in various shapes that cannot be done by hand. “We keep pushing it, keep the menu fresh and keep changing things,” says Witt. Continue reading

Food and Drink, The Daily Feed

This Week in Food

Photo courtesy of
‘Pork Loin with Kumquat Marmalade @ Ardeo’
courtesy of ‘jimcollins’

Talk about an empire. reports that restaurateur Ashok Bajaj, the man behind Bombay Club, 701, Rasika, and Ardeo + Bardeo could soon sign a lease for the retail space at 22 West in West End. Bajaj somewhat hinted at a new project in a chat last month with my fave food critic, Tom Sietsema.

My favorite news of the week comes via The Washington Post: Whole Foods Market and a D.C. real estate firm want to build a new store in Navy Yard, “but the developer says that luring the grocer would require $8 million in tax breaks.”  WaPo reports that William C. Smith and Co. is proposing a 39,000-square-foot Whole Foods in the 800 block of New Jersey Ave. SE as part of a building that would also include 375 apartments.

In other Navy Yard news, JDLand writes that a beer garden might soon be on its way to Southeast. The ANC6D (Advisory Neighborhood Commission) voted 6-0 “to support the Bullpen’s plans to open an additional 632-seat beer garden at Half and M, across from the Navy Yard Metro station’s west entrance just north of Nationals Park.”

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