DC Restaurant Buzz: Mango Tree Opens in December, Champagne Day, Wine Events, Brunch at Ping Pong & so much more

We’re back with the latest edition of our D.C. restaurant buzz column, where we showcase all of the dining news and notes you need to know in and around the District. No time to waste, so let’s get started.

Free Cheese & Wine Tasting at Sonoma

Capping off a month of artisanal cheeses and American wines, Sonoma Restaurant & Wine Bar is hosting a free cheese and wine tasting on Thursday, October 30th with chef Josh Hutter, local cheese makers and Wine Program Director Woong Chang. The event will last from 4:30-6:30pm.

The event is in honor of American Cheese Month, during which they’ve been hosting a weekly Thursday happy hour with rare and hard to find cheeses.

Throughout October, Sonoma Restaurant & Wine Bar Celebrates American Cheese Month with American Cheese Focused Festivities

Toro Toro Showcasing Regional BBQ

Toro Toro BBQ Series

Richard Sandoval’s Toro Toro is launching a new quarterly regional barbecue series. The culinary team will research and develop new recipes showcasing Latin and Asian grilling elements from four distinct regions of the world: Mexico, Japan, Korea and Spain.

The special regional BBQ dishes will be noted with a special symbol on the menu, and will be available for a limited time only. The first segment runs until the end of the year, as Chef de Cuisine Felipe Milanes offers delicious flavors from the Mexican Barbacoa, which will be offered exclusively during dinner.

The new featured Mexican Barbacoa menu includes dishes such as Beef Cheeks Al Mezcal, braised beef cheeks, crispy plantain cups, garlic aioli, and cilantro mint salad; Pork Barbacoa, smoked picnic pork, achiote paste, black bean puree, and chayote slaw; and Ribs Al Carbon, crispy ribs, tomatillo sauce, fingerling potatoes, and pineapple salsa.

Tour de Fall Carnival at Jack Rose

Jack Rose whiskey wall

Jack Rose Dining Saloon is hosting a “Tour de Fall Carnival”, an afternoon event this Saturday, October 25th from 12-5pm. The event will showcase a New Belgium tap takeover, specialty “carnie” food treats such as corn dogs, and your favorite carnival games like the bottle ring toss.

You can even guess your weight in beer, or test your taste buds with the “Sour Your Face Off” wheel challenge. There will also be a photo booth, beer floats, physic readings and much more at the rooftop party.

The New Belgium tap takeover will include 10 beers, curated by beer director Nahem Simon, and $5 specials on New Belgium beers.

701 Restaurant Caviar & Champagne Tasting

On November 11th at 7pm, 701 Restaurant is hosting a decadent four-course caviar and champagne testing, priced at $225 per person.

The menu will consist of four caviar courses prepared by Executive Chef Benjamin Lambert, paired with exclusive Champagnes. The caviar selection will include White Chocolate Macarons and Cauliflower with American paddlefish roe; Fluke Crudo with dill, horseradish cream and trout roe; Sturgeon Tartare with cucumber essence and siberian sturgeon; Poached Rockfish with charred scallion, sabayon and white sturgeon, and American Wagyu, la ratte potatoes, reblochon cheese and tsar imperial osetra.  Diners will conclude with a selection of Petit Fours.

The paired Champagne progression will begin with magnum bottles of Brut Reserve, NV and Grand Cru, Blanc de Blanc.  The third & fourth courses will be paired with Brut Rose and the prestigious 1999 Nicholas Francois.

Champagne & Caviar at Marcel’s

Did somebody say champagne and caviar? Well it is Champagne Day on Friday, October 24th, so chef Robert Wiedmaier will offer a specialty five-course dinner paired with hand-chosen Champagnes for $175 per guest.

Marcel’s has the largest Champagne list in DC, and an award-winning program which received a 2014 James Beard Award semifinalist nod for Outstanding Wine Program.

If you want to skip the food and head straight to the bubbly, Marcel’s will offer a $55 Flight in the bar with Champagnes that include Laurent Perrier “Brut” Blanc de Blancs of Tour-Sur-Marne, Ruinart Blanc de Blancs of Reims and Michel Arnould & Fils, Grand Cru of Rosé of Verzenay.

STK Gets in on the Champagne Fun

Yes, more champagne for Champagne Day! Visit STK this Friday and at 10:24 pm precisely (that’s the date, mind you) guests will receive a complimentary glass of Moet & Chandon in honor of the global day. Join in an international toast around the world at all of STK’s locations.

November Park Hyatt Washington Masters of Food & Wine Event

Park Hyatt Washington’s November Masters of Food & Wine Event is entitled “What to Do with The Thanksgiving Leftovers”. We can bet you’ll try more than some dry turkey thrown between two slabs of bread.

The event is held on Saturday, November 22nd, as you can join Executive Chef Ryan LaRoche in Blue Duck Tavern’s open kitchen for an interactive demonstration on what to do with Thanksgiving Day leftovers. In a hands-on class, guests will learn how to make a delicious Turkey Dumpling Soup using organic, free-range turkey.

While the soup cooks, guests will join LaRoche at the chef’s table to snack on Thanksgiving Day staples including roasted Brussel sprouts served with poached eggs, pickled onions and an heirloom apple, served with a glass of wine.  Once the soup is ready, guests will delight in their hard work followed by cranberry sauce hand pies and pumpkin pie milkshakes prepared by Pastry Chef Naomi Gallego.  Tickets are priced at $65 per person all-inclusive, with a maximum group of eight guests.

Authentic Thai from Mango Tree Coming to D.C. in Partnership with Richard Sandoval

Founder and CEO Pitaya Phanphensophon of Mango Tree, the global restaurant group behind a revolution in modern Thai dining, is partnering with Richard Sandoval to bring his innovative Thai restaurant to D.C. Mango Tree DC will open this December at 929 H Street, NW, at the new CityCenterDC.

Mango Tree offers contemporary Thai cuisine with a bold new twist, along with authentic essential classics.  The restaurant will feature a second floor 140-seat main dining room, a seasonal outdoor terrace, and a vibrant first floor bar and lounge.

Founded in 1994 by Phanphensophon and based in Bangkok, Mango Tree is one of the world’s most innovative and best-known Thai culinary lifestyle brands. It has over 40 restaurants around the globe, from Hong Kong, London and Dubai, to Tokyo, Jakarta and Manila.

The original Mango Tree is located in a beautiful Thai house in Bangkok built during the reign of King Rama VI, almost 100 years ago. The restaurant’s name is derived from the ancient mango tree planted in front of the house.

Here’s what Phanphensophon had to say:

“We’ve planted a flag for Mango Tree in the US capital and secured a site in the very stylish CityCenterDC alongside the many luxury brand icons at this landmark development.

“Furthermore, our new partnership with Richard Sandoval is the result of an accidental meeting, a long conversation and the realization that we are culinary soul mates with very similar philosophies and passions for our respective cuisines.

What Richard has done for Mexican and Latino food, we have done for Thai cuisine in terms of creating brands and continuing to push the envelope with innovation.”

The restaurant will serve genuine Thai dishes from each of the four main culinary regions: rich and fully flavored dishes from the North, spicy cuisine from the Northeast, more mild dishes influenced by the Chinese cooking style from the Central region, and hot and spicy cuisine from the South.

Soi 38 Announces New Thai-Ingredient Inspired Cocktail Menu

You don’t have to wait until December to try some great Thai food though. In celebration of the Thai Harvest Festival, Soi 38 has unveiled a new Thai cocktail list with seven unique drinks, each featuring a different signature Thai ingredient, from Thai Bird Chiles to Tamarind Juice.

The menu includes variations on classics, like the Matcha Green Tea Old-Fashioned, with Angostura and lemon bitters, house Matcha Green Tea Syrup and Four Roses Bourbon, as well as inventive new drinks like the Som Tum Sling, which captures the flavors of the traditional Thai green papaya salad in a glass through Thai Bird Chile and Black Pepper Syrup and Lemongrass-Black Pepper infused gin.

During the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival in Thailand, it’s traditional to bring fruit and incense to local temples. To channel that custom, the new cocktail offerings also include a Passionfruit-Tamarind Margarita and a Koh Pi Pi Daiquiri, made with lychee, Thai basil, lime and Bacardi rum. Other drinks include the Kaffir Lime Mojito, the Siam Mule, ginger beer, lime juice and galangal-infused Tito’s vodka, and the Lemongrass-Yuzu Fizz, a fizzy, refreshing highball made with lemongrass-coriander syrup, yuzu juice, soda and rum.

Chuy’s Opening 2nd Location in Northern VA

Chuy’s opened its first Northern Virginia location recently, and now number 2 is on the cusp, with an opening in Springfield on Tuesday, October 28th, located in the newly renovated Springfield Town Center. Chuy’s will welcome mall patrons with a colorful and quirky atmosphere complete with a shrine to Elvis Presley, a “school” of hand-carved wooden fish streaming throughout, the La Chihuahua Bar showcasing framed pictures of neighborhood dogs, metal palm trees and a hubcap lined ceiling.

Of course, don’t miss out on the happy hour drink specials and a fully-loaded Nacho Car, an unlimited build-your-own nacho station with chips, salsa, queso, ground sirloin and more.

Cocktail Classes at Barmini

barmini cocktails poster

Back by popular demand, cocktail classes at barmini by José Andrés have returned! Led by Juan Coronodo, cocktail innovator and Eater’s National Bartender of the Year, join barmini for a holiday edition of the classes, featuring unique lessons on spirits as Juan unveils the mysteries behind some of their most coveted cocktails. Prepare to impress your family and friends this holiday season with barmini’s tricks of the trade, learned in an intimate, hands-on setting.

The classes take place from Tuesday, November 4th-Thursday, November 6th, from 6:30-7:30 pm each night, and cost $95 per person. You’ll get to enjoy a series of cocktails as well as paired snacks. Only 20 guests per class, so reserve your space by calling 202.393.0812.

Chef Geoff’s Kids Cooking Demo

Chef Geoff's Cooking Demo Poster

Join Chef Geoff (and Chef Esther) on Sunday, November 2nd at Lia’s from 11am-noon for a free cooking demonstration for kids. Esther won a healthy cooking competition at the Kid’s State Dinner with Michelle Obama. The duo will work together for this special free event “Kids and Chefs Cook for Success”.

Enjoy tastings and a guided tour of the Lia’s Kitchen. RSVP with the restaurant by October 28th.

Redwood 25 for $25

It’s time for Redwood’s 3rd annual 25 for $25 event, on Monday, November 3rd from 7-9pm. Redwood is featuring 25 either organic, sustainable or local wines, and your $25 will also get you some light appetizers.

Buy your tickets online here. Only 100 are available and they’re expected to sell out early.

Game Dishes at Et Viola!

#OHMYSNAP | Jay Snap | LaDexon PhotographieOwner and Executive Chef Claudio Pirollo of Et Voila!, located in the heart of the Palisades neighborhood, will offer a seasonal menu showcasing game and autumn-themed ingredients.

The specialty menu items will be available for the entire month of November, and will include Duck Leg Confit served with mashed potato, crushed taggiasche olives, mache green olives, and a red wine sauce; Chestnut Soup with Foie Gras, whole chestnut cooked in a consommé of chicken with a splash of sherry wine served with croutons roasted in the fat of the foie gras, as well as Venison Stew, venison leg that is cut and marinated in red wine and spices for 48 hrs and served with black trumpet mushroom and chestnut papardelle.

There will also be several autumn, pumpkin-inspired desserts. You’ll even have the option to try a three-course $45 prix fixe menu from the seasonal game offerings, which are all otherwise offered a la carte.

America Eats Wine Dinner

America Eats Dinner celebrates Virginia Wine Month with a special wine dinner on Thursday, October 30th from 7-9pm, featuring Barboursville Vineyards.

The wine will even be poured personally by Barboursville’s Jason Tesauro. The menu costs $80 per person and features a 5-course meal and wine pairing feast.

Sushiko Brothers Reunited

Talented brothers and executive chefs Pieter Tjan and Handry Tjan recently reunited to lead the kitchen and sushi bar at Sushiko. To celebrate, they’re offering a prix fixe, three-course lunch special for $23.50, available daily from 12-3pm.

Pieter was named Sushiko’s head chef in 2008, and Handry served as his sous chef, before they went their separate ways to expand their knowledge of Japanese food and culture. In 2010, Piter moved to Austin, Texas to work under James Beard Award-winning chef Tyson Cole at Uchi, while in 2011, Handry left Sushiko to work on the opening efforts of Thai Pavilion at the National Harbor in Prince George’s County, Maryland.

They are now back working together with a goal of bringing Sushiko to the next level with a new menu of traditional and innovative Japanese dishes.

New Executive Chef at Pearl Dive Oyster Palace

Pearl Dive Oyster Palace is pleased to announce a new executive chef, Colleen Conrad, who joins the restaurant from its sister establishment, Republic in Takoma Park, where she worked as sous chef, alongside co-owner and executive chef Danny Wells.

Conrad’s food philosophy is simple: use the best quality, properly raised ingredients, and handle them with respect.

Since joining Pearl Dive this fall, Conrad has worked to add her personal touch to the menu, and recently debuted several new dishes on the dinner menu, including: Crispy Brussels Sprouts Salad with fall greens, pickled red onion, smoked Marcona almonds, Benton’s ham, Meyer lemon vinaigrette, Creole mustard crème fraîche; Coriander and Panko Crusted Fluke with jicama and apple slaw; Wood Grilled Market Fish with roasted cauliflower, snow peas, and seared mushrooms, served over a smoked paprika and sweet onion cream sauce; and Whole Wood Grilled Bradford Bay Farms Black Bass with confit sweet potatoes, sautéed winter greens, spicy peanut sauce.

Expect new brunch dishes from Conrad to be added over the next few weeks.

Speaking of new brunch dishes…

New Brunch at Ping Pong Dim Sum

And last but certainly not least, we have the new East West Brunch from Ping Pong Dim Sum, which starts this Saturday. You get bottomless “deconstructed” mimosas, unlimited dumplings, and an entree for $36.

Specialty dishes include re-imagined classics, such as fried chicken with green tea waffles, and those fancy looking mimosas, featuring popping pearls filled with juices such as lychee, kiwi and passion fruit.

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Check back with us in a few days for a special roundup of Washington, D.C. Halloween events, parties and things to do.

Author: Jake Emen

I’m Jake, and I’m your host on this journey. I'm the man doing the eating and the talking around here. I’m a writer based outside of Washington, D.C., and I'm also talking whiskey, local events, travel, and other assorted misadventures. Follow me on the Tweet Machine - @ManTalkFood, or send an email to jake [at] mantalkfood.com.

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