DC Restaurant Buzz: New Openings, New Offerings & Wine and Happy Hour for Everyone

Hopefully you’re ready for another massive edition of our DC Restaurant Buzz, because it’s back, and it’s loaded. Really, there’s no time or space to waste — so let’s just dive right in and get to the good stuff.

New Openings

McClellan’s Retreat is now open in the former Veritas space, on the corner of Florida Ave & S Street NW. The space features a curated list of whiskey, cocktails, and a menu focused on bar snacks to compliment the drink list.

The joint is named for Major General George B. McClellan, a high-ranking Union commander beloved by the men under his command. As the war progressed, he became known for frequently delaying his attacks, giving his opponents time to retreat, while giving his army time to rest and refit. As such, McClellan’s is touted as a “place to retire, retreat, a place to saddle up to the bar and enjoy a lovingly made cocktail, a strong drink, a savory snack and a bit of conversation.”

Of course, the McClellan statue commissioned by the former members of the army under his leadership, likely in gratitude for not pressing them into battle and not getting them shot, is right down the street.

The space opens each day at 4pm, and happy hour lasts from 4-7pm on Monday-Friday.

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City Perch is now open at Pike & Rose in North Bethesda. We went to the grand opening. Learn more about them here.

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Cava Grill has opened two new locations, one at the Kentlands in Gaithersburg, and another at the Montgomery Mall. The Gaithersburg location opened last week, and the Montgomery Mall location opened earlier this week.

Cava continued their opening Community Day tradition, with free meals in exchange for encouraged donations to local non-profit partners, including MicroGreens and City Blossoms.

More Cava Grill locations are on the way, with three locations coming in the first half of 2015, including Fairfax, VA, Reagan National Airport, and Ashburn, VA. The chain looks to expand beyond the DC Metro area next year as well.

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lobster me

Montgomery Mall is loading up with new choices. Get ready to welcome Lobster Me, home of the famous lobster popsicle, opens officially on Friday, November 21.

Beyond that intriguing menu item, Lobster Me serves lobster rolls featuring Maine lobster in a variety of flavors, including Cajun, and Vietnamese, and traditional Maine Style. The menu features a variety of other lobster entrees for the lobster lover such as Lobster Mac & Cheese and Lobster Tacos.

The chain currently operates two Las Vegas restaurants, as well as a Vegas food truck.

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ShopHouse bowls

ShopHouse Southeast Asian Kitchen has a new area location at Union Station. The small quick service chain was created by Chipotle, and the latest location celebrated its grand opening by partnering with the Capital Area Food Bank, and donating opening day proceeds.

ShopHouse’s menu is influenced by the traditional ingredients, flavors and cooking techniques of Southeast Asia.

The ShopHouse model closely resembles Chipotle, with diners customizing their meal with a wide range of different choices, as well as with the restaurant’s commitment to serving food made with the highest quality ingredients from more sustainable sources. The entire ShopHouse menu is gluten- and dairy-free.

Choose a base from jasmine rice, brown rice, chilled rice noodles, or salad; add grilled chicken satay, steak laab, pork and chicken meatballs, or organic tofu; a choice of various wok-cooked fresh vegetables; one of four sauces that include peanut sauce, green curry, spicy red curry or a tamarind vinaigrette; garnish with green papaya slaw, herb salad or pickled vegetables; and finishing with a choice of toasted rice, crushed peanuts, Thai chilies or crispy garlic.

New Menu Offerings

OK, we’ve covered our new openings. Let’s move onto some new offerings…

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Trummer’s on Main is showcasing a new Garden Menu highlighting local, seasonal harvest ingredients in creative and colorful presentations.

The great thing about the Garden Menu is that it’s actually based on the garden, so the lineup will change daily. A few sample dishes to expect include Roasted Garlic Soup, with lemon vodka whipped cream, pumpkin seeds and black garlic chips, House Made Burrata with arugula pesto, fresh figs, cranberry vinaigrette and Virginia peanuts, Jalapeno & Cheddar Potato Pierogies, with local chestnuts, winesap apples, pickled red cabbage and chive sour cream, and Sweet Potato & Sage Rosti Napolean, with chanterelle mushrooms, warm esplette lavender honey and fried sage.

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Arcuri in Glover Park is offering a new Thanksgiving-inspired pizza, the Oven Roasted Turkey Pizza, with chestnuts, cranberry mostarda, bacon and Brussels sprouts. It’s only available through the end of November.

The restaurant is also showcasing a new express lunch menu during the week from 12 to 2:30pm. Grab a  $15.50 10-inch pizza, or a $19 14-inch pizza, with specialty combinations like Broccoli Rabe, Gorgonzola Bianco, Proscuitto; and Smokey. There are also sandwiches and salads and deals like two pizzas of piece and a small sald for $8.

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Second State BrunchSecond State, which opened in October, is now serving Sunday brunch from 10am to 4 pm. Enjoy everything from not so classic benedicts to local raw and grilled oysters. Additionally, diners are encouraged to wear their Sunday best when dining at Second State.  Girls who wear dresses and men who wear jackets get a choice of one complimentary glass of Veuve Clicquot or glass of Dad’s Hat Pennsylvania Rye Whiskey upon arrival.

Menu highlights include Scotched Egg; Duck Hash; Blueberry Ricotta Pancakes; Quiche Lorraine; Blue Crab Benedict; Breakfast Burrito; Smoked Salmon Benedict;  andThe State Foie Burger with Hudson Valley foie gras caramelized onion and banana jam.

Brunch drinks include options like the Steel City Bloody Mary; Kale Mary; Franklin’s Milk Punch with brandy, apple cider reduction, milk, lemon and nutmeg, as well as classics like the Bellini and Mimosa.

Or go big and order for the table. Guests can order a bottle of Veuve Clicquot for $45, or opt for a mini barrel of Dad’s Hat Pennsylvania Rye Whiskey, which also comes with mixers, ice, lemons and limes for $80.

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There’s a new winter menu available at Lupo Verde, including new dining choices and new drinks. Winter offerings on the dinner menu include new choices like Tartare di Manzo, a beef tartare with parsley, capers, anchovies, onions, egg yolk, oregano cream and tomato caviar; Luganica Arrostita, grilled luganica sausage with smoked paprika mayo, polenta cream and crispy shallots; Tonnarelli Cacio & Pepe, homemade tonnarelli with parmigiano, pecorino and pepe; Strozzapreti alla Bottarga, homemade strozzapreti with mussel and clam sauce, thyme, bottarga, prawns and swordfish carpaccio; Gnocchetti di Zucca, squash gnocchi with sage, butter, four cheese cream and black truffle, and many others.

Seasonal cocktails added to the menu include choices such as the Mela Marcia, with gin, apple brandy, dolin dry, apple juice, orgeat, ginger and bitters; the Mandarancio, tequila, mescal, DCF mandarin, mandarin puree, casoni aperitico, rosemary lavender bitters; the Rosso di Sera, peach whiskey, limoncello, lemon juice, bitters and marasca, as well as the Don Boulevardier, rye, amaro delle sirene, dolin dry, and orange bitters, and more.

Lupo Verde is also offering an exclusive deal on Saturday, December 6th. Stop by for a cone of warm roasted chestnuts and a glass of vino novello on their 40-seat patio for $10 from 12pm to 6pm, to help you power through your afternoon of holiday shopping.

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Speaking of soothing your holiday shopping soul, Slate is offering a special $20 lunch menu featuring three courses and a glass of wine. Choose from Duck Breast Egg Rolls, Mushroom Bacon Bruschetta, Cesar Salad, or Slate Salad as your starter; Slate Grilled Cheese with Turkey, Gruyere, Cheddar and Applewood Bacon, Chicken Bacon Tacos, Fish Tacos, Slate Burger or Ruben Sandwich as your main, and Warm Fudge Brownie or Tres Leches Cake for dessert.

Also for the holidays, check out several very special wine flights, glasses and bottles which will be available from November 28th to December 30th, including a $25 Holiday White Wine flight, with four pours, or a $28 four-pour Holiday Red Wine flight.

Wine & Drink News

OK, we’ve had plenty of DC Restaurant Buzz so far. But how about some buzz to help you get… buzzed. Let’s move onto the wine and drink news… I did promise wine and happy hour for everyone, didn’t I?

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Beverage director Michael King of Bibiana has created 25 new seasonally inspired drinks, serving as a countdown to December 25th. The cocktails will be available starting November 30th, and guests will be able to enjoy a new one every evening lasting through Christmas Eve, each available for $12.

A few of the highlights are the Christmas Cookie, with espresso, Prosecco grappa and lemon air; the Belladonna, with bourbon, apple cider and cranberry; the Variopinto, with Prosecco grappa, orange, honey, fig, ginger and rosemary tincture and the Carino, with Boyd and Blair, quince and pear jam, lemon and honey.

But as mentioned, there’s 25 of these bad boys, from a specialty old fashioned to a spicy hot chocolate, eggnog to a barrel-aged negroni, hot buttered rum to mulled wine and much, much more.

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Arlington’s Zaika is now showcasing happy hour every day of the week. On Monday through Friday, it’s from 5 to 7 pm, and the weekend, it’s more like a happy afternoon, with specials lasting from 12 to 7 pm.

Enjoy $5 snacks, $5 beer, wine and rail drinks, $6 mojitos and $9 martinis. Snacks include Olive Naan with Hummus, Spicy Tandoori Wings, Mixed Veggies Pakora, and Veggie Samosa.

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We’re not done with happy hour just yet (we never are). At DC Harvest, a new light night happy hour lasts from 11pm to 1 am on Fridays and Saturdays, including both drinks and late night snacks. Regular happy hour will still be going strong from 5 to 7pm.

Check out  Chef Arthur’s Bloody Mary oyster shooter with Green Hat gin for $4, or a range of snacks from Old Bay dusted popcorn to lamb sausage sliders.

Local craft beers on draft cost $5, wines by the glass are $5, and specialty cocktails priced at $6 include  the Harvest Rickey with Green Hat Gin, lime juice and club soda, and the New Fangled, with Catoctin Creek Rye, orange, grapefruit bitters and pineapple juice.

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Flight Wine Bar in Penn Quarter has expanded their offerings, now showcasing 20 different flights, as well as additional half bottle selections and more wines by the glass. The flights all feature three pours for $18, and many showcase creative names, such The Austro-Hungarian Empire (And Germany), Not Your Grandma’s Chardonnay, and Sailing in the Mediterranean.

There’s new food on hand to help match the wine, and a newly redesigned menu as well which will help you get right to where you’re trying to go. New dishes include choices such as a Seafood Bouillabaisse in a sake broth, Zucchini Fritters with a lemon-honey dipping sauce and Coconut Milk Consommé with lemongrass, forbidden rice and onion relish, added to favorites such as Hanger Steak with whipped potato, black sesame tahini, tabbouleh, fried shallots and Slow Cooked Pork Belly with Spanish black beans and pickled fresno.

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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