It’s time for the latest edition of the DC Restaurant Buzz. This week, we’ll start out with some big news in Bethesda, before taking a look at everything from the Biscuit Bash to cold ramen dishes at Daikaya to help you combat the (presumably at some point) warmer temperatures of the season. Take a look.
Redwood Retools its Brunch
Redwood is retooling their popular brunch, with a new a la carte menu. Dishes include starters such as a Smoked Fish Plate, Yellowfin Tuna Tostadas, and Mini Funnel Cakes. For your main, choose from new options such as Creme Brulee French Toast, a Breakfast Crepe, Fish Tacos, Corned Beef Hash, the Breakfast Burger or the White Bean-Wild Mushroom “Burger”.
There are four new Bloody Mary options as well, including a classic made with an Old Bay spice rum, a Mexican Michelada with a chili-lime rim, the Caesar, with claim juice, and an aquavit-based Hamlet made with dill and lemon. All four are priced at $8 each, with bottomless mimosas offered for $15 per person. Expect seasonal mimosas, with the current options including a blood orange puree, and the Cherry Limeade with vanilla vodka, cherry Heering, lime and prosecco.
Brunch at Redwood is offered on Saturdays from 11:30 to 3, and Sundays from 10:30 to 3.
Villain & Saint Brings The Good, the Bad & The Music to Bethesda
Robert Wiedmaier’s Villain & Saint is set to open in Bethesda on April 16th, providing nightly live rock music. Here, far removed from the fine dining of his flagship Marcel’s, you’ll find more of his true, down to earth side, with rock & roll, and music ranging from blues and jazz to heavy metal.
All week long, shows will start at 9pm – with Saturday night shows starting at 9:30, with well known local house bands, and rock music being pumped on the speakers when bands aren’t on stage. TVs will bring the live shows to customers on the patio, and on Sundays, expect a jazz brunch.
The revamped former Markham’s space will feature an eye-popping interior recalling San Francisco’s most famously psychedelic ’60s neighborhood – with funky accents including lava lamps, a pressed tin ceiling and a mural dedicated to dearly departed music legends.
Chef Tom Meyer, who made a name for himself at Palladin’s Peche restaurant in Dupont Circle, will serve up an eclectic, veggie-heavy, bohemian menu, with falafel galore. The bar will offer a standout selection of premium whiskies and bourbons, American beers, and signature cocktails.
Tickets can be purchased at the door in form of a cover charge, which is waived for those seated at least 30 minutes prior to the start of the show.
The grand opening is Thursday, April 16th, with the Lloyd Dobler Effect with guests Elizabeth & Katrina – with no cover charge for opening night.
Dolcezza to Open New Location in CityCenter on April 19th
Another familiar name for Bethesda is Dolcezza Gelato, and the chain is now ready to unveil another new location. The new spot opens up in CityCenter on April 19th.
To celebrate the grand opening, from 2 to 5pm on the 19th, guests will receive a free mini-cone of gelato.
Along with all of their delicious, locally-sourced gelato, the new Dolcezza location will be deploying a first of its kind high-pressure nitrogen cold-brewing coffee system which produces a smooth, creamy iced coffee. They’ll also be selling and stocking Stumptown cold brew coffee and milk.
The newest location will open at CityCenterDC at 904 Palmer Alley, NW, Washington, DC, 20001, two blocks from the Gallery Place Metro.
Spring Cocktails at Legal Sea Foods
Another chain with a Bethesda presence, Legal Sea Foods, is celebrating spring with a set of new specialty cocktails, available at all four of their area locations.
New additions include the Red Ruby Quencher, with Deep Eddy Ruby Red vodka, lemon and soda; The Islander, with Plantation 3 Stars silver rum, Plantation Original Dark rum, passion fruit, fresh pineapple and lime; the Mexican Mule, made with Del Maguey Vida mezcal, Patrón Reposado tequila, muddled grapefruit, lime and ginger beer; the Green Bloody Mary, with Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Legal Sea Foods’ spicy tomatillo green bloody mary mix and pickled tomato, garnished with cocktail shrimp; as well as the Tea Party, which combines Deep Eddy Sweet Tea vodka, Templeton Rye whiskey, lemon, honey and soda.
The new drinks will be available starting April 15th.
Spring Vegetables at ShopHouse
And another chain with a Bethesda presence, ShopHouse Southeast Asian Kitchen, is unveiling their own spring menu changes. Here, they’re adding some seasonal favorites to the lineup: Kale with chilies and vinegar replaces collard greens, and Eggplant with Thai basil and garlic replaces parsnips for the spring season.
Sourced locally whenever possible, the vegetables are cooked quickly in a blisteringly hot wok and tossed with fresh Thai chilies before being added to your bowl.
Some fun events & special offerings to keep an eye out for…
Art and Soul Set for 2nd Annual Biscuit Bash
The 2nd annual Biscuit Bash at Art and Soul will be held on Wednesday, May 6th. There will be a total of 9 chefs competing for the prestigious title of Biscuit King or Queen, as decided by guests, and the event benefits DC Central Kitchen and Share Our Strength.
Hamilton Johnson from Vidalia is back to defend his title. He’ll be competing against Andrew Evans of BBQ Joint, Carlos Delgado of Ocopa, Jason Gehring of Mason Dixie Biscuit Co., Liam LaCivita from Bar Civita, Jesse Miller from Bar Pilar, Doron Peterson of Fare Well & Sticky Fingers, and Genevieve O’Sullivan of Sona Creamery & Wine Bar.
Mixologist Ronald Flores will be serving creative cocktails, Hardywood Park Craft Brewery will serve refreshing beers, Ice Cream Jubilee will scoop dessert, and DJ Neekola will provide the entertainment.
The event lasts from 6 to 8pm on Wednesday, May 6th. Tickets cost $40 and are available here.
Daikaya Re-Introduces Two Cold Noodle Ramen Dishes
Chef Katsuya Fukushima is excited to re-introduce two cold noodle ramen dishes, available exclusively at the 90-seat upstairs izakaya. Both are priced at $14.
The first the Hiyashi Ramen (Hiyashi Chuka), which is commonly served in ramen shops across Japan through the summer season. The Hiyashi Ramen is made with boiled and chilled to order noodles, citrus soy vinaigrette, cucumber, simmered bamboo, leeks, and blanched bean sprouts tossed in sesame oil and sesame, wood ear mushroom, shredded cabbage, chashu (roasted pork slices), corn, cherry tomato, ramen egg, nori and carrots.
The zesty Hiyashi Spicy Sesame Ramenis Daikaya’s own creation, and a nod to fans of their spicy miso ramen. This dish is made with boiled and chilled to order noodles, spicy sesame vinaigrette, simmered bamboo, leeks, blanched bean sprouts tossed in sesame oil and sesame, wood ear mushroom, shredded cabbage, chashu (roasted pork slices), corn, cherry tomato, ramen egg, nori and carrots.
Crawfish Boils at Acadiana & Bayou Bakery
Acadiana will be firing up the season with two upcoming Crawfish Boils on Saturday, April 18 and Saturday, May 9, each from 2 to 5pm on the patio.
Tickets, which are $65 per person, are all-inclusive, including all-you-can-eat Spice-broiled Crawfish, Steamed Gulf Shrimp, House-made Andouille Sausage, Gumbo, Corn on the Cob, Fruit Hand Pies, Pralines and more.
Expect live music by New Orleans-style jazz and Zydeco band, and to drink, a selection of Louisiana’s finest, Abita Beers, and house wine. A full cash bar is also available.
Meanwhile, chef David Guas will be hosting his 4th Annual Crawfish Boil on Saturday, April 18 at Bayou Bakery. Here, the patio party lasts from 5 to 7 pm (yes, that means you could technically attend both that day), and will feature live entertainment by Laissez Foure, a New Orleans-style jazz quartet.
Abita Beer specials will pour out by the pitcher, pint or draft to wash down the seasoned Crawfish, served with Corn on the Cob, peppery New Potatoes, and all the Louisiana Spice you can handle. You can also try Jumbo Gulf Shrimp with Taters and Corn by the pound or half-pound. Finish on a sweet note with a plate of Beignets or a sampling of Pralines.
The Oval Room Hosts Four-Course Wine Dinner with Le Cadeau Vineyard
The Oval Room hosts Oregon’s La Cadeau Vineyard for a wine dinner on April 28th at 6:30pm. Tickets cost $150 per person, for the four-course meal created by Chef John Melfi, while Sommelier Alek Ajder will orchestrate pairings of Le Cadeau’s Pinot Noir “Cote Est”, Pinot Noir “Equinoxe”, Pinot Noir “Diversité” and wines from their second label, Aubichon including the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir “Reserve”.
Dishes will include Hamachi Crudo, House-Made Pappardelle with rabbit ragout, English peas & chanterelle mushrooms, Pan Roasted Venison with a smoked avocado puree, honey cap mushrooms, strawberry and rhubarb, and for dessert, a Roquefort-Crusted Goat Cheese with wild cherry, Sicilian pistachios and brioche tuile.
Limited seating is available and reservations are required. Call 202.463.8700 for more information.
Celebrate Songkran – Thai New Year – at Mango Tree DC
Mango Tree DC is celebrating the Songkran Festival, the Thai New Year, from April 13th to 15th. Visit the restaurant to find special a la carte dining options with artful dishes that marry savory, sweet, sour and spice harmoniously in each bite.
Specials include appetizers like Khao Tang Na Tang, crispy rice crackers and romaine lettuce with pork and a coconut dip; Pla Salmon, salmon marinated in lime juice with red chili, shallot, spring onion and cilantro, and Kalam Savoy, roasted Brussel sprouts with chili cashew nuts and coconut sauce. Stand out entrees include Pla Pow, marinated Blue Catfish wrapped in banana leaf with Thai herb salad and a spicy lime sauce; Gae Yang, cilantro, garlic and pepper marinated lamb cutlets with Thai warm potato salad, tamarind and a dry chili sauce, and Choo Chee Tow Hoo, crispy soft tofu with red curry sauce and kaffir lime leaf.
Songkran, or Thai New Year, is a Buddhist festival and the kingdom’s most important public holiday. Songkran, Sanskrit for “Astrological Passage,” is a time for Thais to visit their local temple to pray and to wash their Buddha icons. Buddhist statues on house shrines are also cleaned. This cleansing ritual is to bring luck and prosperity for the coming year. Additionally, adults, kids, locals and visitors alike take to the streets to celebrate with lively water fights and throwing talc. The traditional water pouring is meant as a symbol of washing away all of their sins and the wrong doings.
Now let’s move onto some new openings on the horizon…
The Riggsby to Open at Carlyle Hotel this Summer
Chef Michael Schlow of TICO will open his 2nd area restaurant this summer, with The Riggsby in the Carlyle Hotel.
Named for the street that intersects the restaurant, Riggs Place, the restaurant’s name also pays homage to the former Riggs Bank. The space will feature an open kitchen, wood tables, leather booths, and whimsical décor, including a custom designed wallpaper incorporating original artwork from Schlow’s wife, Adrienne.
The Riggsby will have a fun yet sophisticated ambiance, serving American dishes with European influences. The inviting bar will have an emphasis on classic, hand crafted cocktails, bar snacks, and an extensive wine by the glass program.
Chef Philippe Reininger, an acolyte of Jean-Georges Vongerichten who was most recently executive chef at J&G Steakhouse in Washington DC, will oversee the kitchen; and Daniel Lobsenz, who most recently oversaw front of house operations and managed the wine programs for both Roofer’s Union and BLT Steak, will be The Riggsby’s general manager.
Provision No. 14, slated for an opening in late April, has announced their culinary team to be led by Executive Chef James Duke and Chef de Cuisine John Leavitt.
James Duke was born and raised in Northern Virginia and has lived and worked in the DC area his whole life. In addition to cooking in the likes of 1789 and Tallula, James spent several years working in restaurant operations for Great American Restaurants. In October 2014, James and John opened Driftwood Kitchen on H Street NE and oversaw the kitchen there until joining the Provision No. 14 team.
John Leavitt has worked in restaurants nationwide, including stints in Chicago, Cleveland, Seattle and now DC. He attended L’Academie de Cuisine and has cooked at 2941, and has been exploring other roles in the industry, including front-of-house work at Carlyle and doing purchasing for Farmer’s Restaurant Group. John made his way back into the kitchen when he helped open Driftwood Kitchen with James in October 2014.
All elements of their dishes will be made from scratch in the kitchen. The menu will largely comprise dishes that are meant to be shared, including an extensive house-made pasta selection and a whole fish dish. Menus will be changing fluidly, once or twice a month, reflecting the new seasonal bounty.
A few early menu highlights to look out for include Pork Pata – A Filipino dish made from a whole pork leg that is braised, then hung to dry for a day, and then deep-fried. The result: an umami-laden piece of meat that is moist on the inside and crispy on the outside; and Melon + Ham – Sweet summer melon and Iberico ham are vacuum-compressed to form a salty-sweet combination. Served with bright micro-greens.