A Columbia Heights restaurant took home a big honor yesterday.
Thip Kao, a Laotian restaurant located at 3462 14th Street NW, won highest honors at yesterday’s American Institute of Wine and Food (AIWF) 10th Annual Crab Cake Competition.
Along with the bragging rights, Thip Kao will receive funds to support a culinary intern in its kitchen.
The crab cake competition is a yearly contest aimed at raising money for culinary internships, scholarships and educational programs in D.C. Each year, the contest pits eight local chefs against one another in a showdown to create the perfect crab cake with Maryland blue crab.
The Columbia Heights bar, known for its selection of craft beers and located at 3400 11th Street NW, will pour 24 different drafts for just five dollars per glass starting at 4 p.m.
The bar will also serve food from a special $5-per-item menu that was “created from guest favorites.”
For $7, patrons can order a color-coded cone in three boozy flavors: Baltimore Lemon Stick, Strawberry and Bing Cherry.
Non-alcoholic versions of the flavors will also be sold for $3.
Between July 1 and 7, $1 from each snow cone sold will be donated to Brainfood, a local nonprofit dedicated to teaching youths food production skills.
Photo via Facebook.com/PopsSeaBar
Commissary’s Shut Up and Dance cocktail, a blend of pineapple-infused vodka, sage, mint, ginger, and lime will be sold all weekend for $8. Seven-drink pitchers of the cocktail will also be available for $48.
Logan Tavern will be serving a drink called the Stonewall Strawberry, an amalgam of strawberry infused vodka, mint, simple syrup, St. Germaine and soda. That cocktail will only be available on Saturday from 11 a.m. to midnight.
Both Logan Tavern and Commissary are located along this year’s Pride Parade route.
Photos courtesy of Zest PR
D.C. residents can now double-fist drinks for half price at 42 bars across town.
The Passport Program is a national two-for-one drink special program available at bars such as Masa 14, Roofers Union, and Hank’s Oyster Bar.
Here’s how it works: For $20, you get a pocket-sized booklet that lists 42 local bars. Bring that booklet to any one of those bars for a two-for-one drink special. Though the deal can only be used once per bar, the booklet is valid until Sept. 7.
Check out a map of all 42 D.C. locations:
Nothing can be better than enjoying the rooftops in the city. DC has great views that need to be discovered. You can definitely do that at the many bars and restaurants in the city while you enjoy a glass of wine, a drink, a beer or a meal.
Looking for a rooftop bar in the DC area? The Rock The RoofDC guys have a great list of all the rooftop bars and restaurants, with descriptions and calendar of events.
We have covered, reviewed and enjoyed many of our local ones. But then again here is a list for you to find them all together at once while you are enjoying this Summer.
- 1905 Bistro, 1905 9th Street NW. This new roof deck is exactly what the restaurant’s name implies; it’s garden-themed. The space makes use of reclaimed wood and old metal sheets, while sporting views of the neighborhood and monuments.
- Above DC @ Donovan House Hotel, 1155 14th Street NW. Because nothing is better than a rooftop pool and bar. This one is located right in Thomas Circle and comes with great views. Pack your suit!
- Brixton, 901 U Street NW. This brand new British pub-style bar boasts more than just bangers and mash. Check out the expansive rooftop terrace for terrific views of the Washington Monument.
- DC9, 1940 9th St. NW. Perfect place to enjoy the music as you sip on that refreshing drink.
- El Centro DF, 1819 14th Street NW. While it technically opened last summer, the modern taqueria’s rooftop bar is still somewhat new to local residents. A cool breeze up top and an agave cocktail are sure to subdue the heat of the salsas.
- Jack Rose Dining Saloon, 2007 18th Street NW. If you thought nothing could top barbeque and bourbon, then you were wrong, literally.
- Lauriol Plaza, 1835 18th Street NW. This 18th and T spot has a large shaded rooftop dining area (great for hot sunny days when you need some shade). You’re right on the cusp of the Dupont, U Street and Adams Morgan hoods.
- Local 16, 1602 U Street NW. Although it may be too hot to even think about being outside, Local 16 has you covered. The roof deck has water spritzers and fans going constantly to make sure you and your beverage stay at the perfect temperature.
- Lost Society, 2001 14th Street NW. The chandeliers and décor make it hard to believe that you are outside. Thankfully, the cool breeze, neighborhood views and U Street noise remind you that you are sipping cocktails on a DC roof, and not in a palace!
- Marvin, 2007 14th Street NW. This is also a great roof spot, perfect for enjoying one of the many beers on tap and some of the best chicken and waffles in town.
- Masa 14, 1825 14th Street NW. The neighborhood hotspot expanded its space to include a roof deck. Mojitos taste better when sipped in the open, summer air.
- Nellie’s Sports Bar, 900 U Street NW. Great and breezy rooftop. It has an ample bar covered with a tent and also a nice corner area for smokers. You can always enjoy their popular buckets of beers.
- Tabaq Bistro, 1336 U Street. Snag one of the best views of the city while getting your workout in! Yes, you will have to climb up several flights of stairs, but the views on a clear night will quickly make you forget your burning thighs.
- Zabb, 1836 18th Street NW. Modern Asian inspired food and a generous terrace to enjoy the night.
From Katie Andriulli. Email her at katie[AT]borderstan.com and follow her on Twitter @kandriulli.
This week we fell in falafelove with the DC Ballers truck.
The “balls” in DC Ballers’ namesake are falafel patties (my third favorite type of ball following meatballs and arancini… I’m Italian, deal with it) but the truck also specializes in hummus, French fries (regular or Greek style with feta, oregano and olive oil) and other Middle Eastern delights including Tabouli (tomato, onion, parsley, mint, and bulgur wheat in a lemon mint dressing) and Israeli salad (tomato, cucumber and parsley in a lemon mint dressing). Carnivores take heed: DC Ballers is meat-free, but the falafels are so hearty you really won’t miss it.
Platters (hummus, with or without a falafel, plus Tabouli, Israeli salad and pita) range from $7.50 to $9.50 and sandwiches range from $5.50 to $7. You can also get a side of fries with dipping sauce for $3.50, Greek fries for $5 (well worth the extra $1.50), and hummus, falafel, Israeli salad and Tabouli are all available a la carte for $4 to $5.50. Fresh ginger-mint lemonade, on special, was $2.50.
- Wait time: 5/5. There was no line when I arrived promptly at noon, and my food was handed to me (hot!) in less than 60 seconds.
- Service: 5/5. Efficient and friendly. And they take cards. What more do you need?
- Bang for your buck: 4.5/5. My order of hummus with falafel came with a sizeable pita, four falafel balls and a TON of hummus, and was filling enough to stretch to two meals, turning my $7.50 lunch turn into two $3.75 lunches, which is pretty magical. The extra $2.50 I paid for their homemade lemonade seemed a little steep, although not inconsistent with what other trucks charge for similar beverages, so I’ll allow it.
- Deliciousness: 5/5. As a self-described hummus connoisseur, I have probably tried every brand I can get my hands on, but DC Ballers’ puts all of the others to shame. It’s seriously stellar… smooth and creamy with just the right amount of garlic (i.e., lots) and tahini. Game over Sabra. Pack up your individual hummus n’ pretzel cups and saunter on out of here. Thanks for playing.
I have had many a falafel in my day as well and I can say with moderate authority that DC Ballers’ are right up there with the best I’ve had… crunchy and flavorful and they didn’t instantly disintegrate once cut into. The tahini sauce drizzled on top (and in an extra container on the side) provided a lovely dipping sauce and compliment to the hummus.
Now, this whole operation could have fallen apart if the pita was second rate, but luckily, the Ballers have that locked down as well. The pita was obviously freshly baked since it was handed to me piping hot in tin foil. It was thick enough to support the weight of my self-made falafel sandwich without being too bready, and I also I loved the za’atar spices sprinkled top, which gave it a little extra zest.
I also sprung for the homemade ginger-mint lemonade, which was quite pleasant, but could have benefitted from a bit more ice, and/or the addition of gin.
Admittedly, after a weekend of eating badly (re: basically an entire 3-pound calzone in one sitting on Sunday… whoops) I could not muster the courage to order the truck’s other signature dish, the French fries, at lunchtime. However, an acquaintance of mine mentioned that she had tried the Greek fries before and that they were pretty stellar and she is generally pretty reliable, so just take her word for it, okay?
- Overall: 5/5. Assuming your co-workers aren’t vampires, they won’t mind a bit of a garlic smell in the air (or on your breath) so go get Ballin’.
One more restaurant opening on the 14th Street corridor will be happening this summer. Diego will join the latest opening of Piola, Taqueria Nacional, bar di Bari and Kapnos (the last one now scheduled for July 5).
We have been looking at the transformation of the AM-PM Carry Out to Diego at the northwest corner of 14th and V Streets NW; Eatonville and Busboys & Poets are already at that intersection. Now, after months of dealing with city permits and a lengthy renovation process, the Tex Mex restaurant NW restaurant is gearing up, probably for a late summer opening. Diego is owned by brothers Tony and Michael Askarinam, proprietors of Dupont Italian Kitchen on 17th Street NW.
Much like last year, Borderstan saw its fair share of winners at the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington’s annual awards gala, known as the RAMMYs. With the vibrant theme “Restaurants in Bloom,” many finalists, awardees, and gala-goers alike showed up in garlands, boutonnieres and floral prints. It was in this festive atmosphere that our neighborhood was honored multiple times over.
The burgeoning 14th Street Corridor and its rapid transformation into a revitalized restaurant destination was a running theme throughout some of the acceptance speeches, most notably from the team from Hottest Restaurant Bar Scene winner Bar Pilar, who commented “when we first were doing the build-out for Bar Pilar, we had pimps come into the restaurant and ask, ‘what are you doing?’ And we’d say ‘building a restaurant.’ And they’d ask, ‘For who?’ Now we know.”
Neighborhood RAMMY Winners
The following Borderstan restaurants were winners last night:
- Upscale Casual Restaurant – Estadio
- Casual Restaurant – C.F. Folks
- Neighborhood Gathering Place – Nellie’s Sports Bar
- Hottest Bar Scene – Bar Pilar
Borderstan also saw its fair share of nominees. Joining Estadio in the Upscale Casual category were fellow 14th Street neighbors Birch and Barley and Cork; and C.F. Folks had to squeeze past Bar Pilar for its Casual Restaurant award. Additional nominations also went to Dupont Circle newcomers Boqueria and DGS Delicatessen, and Estadio’s manager, Justin Guthrie.
Taking home the big prizes last night were Blue Duck Tavern for Fine Dining Restaurant of the Year, Mintwood Place for Best New Restaurant, and Fabio Trabocchi for Chef of the Year. Congrats to all the winners!
It has been more than a year since we heard of Chef Isabella opening Kapnos and G on 14th Street NW.
Isabella’s restaurant Kapnos will open July 5, the time is getting closer and as you walk by the two locations at 14th and W Streets NW; the final touches seem to be added.
The Greek-themed restaurant, Kapnos, will include five roasting spits and feature Northern Greek food with have a menu of spreads, breads, phyllo pies, vegetables and other small plates, including his signature wood-grilled octopus as Isabella let us know last year.
The bar menu will include Greek wines on tap and a number of by the glass offerings. The restaurant decor modern with brown leathers and an industrial feeling.
G Sandwich Shop
Next to Kapnos is G, the Italian Sandwich Shop concept shop that Isabella hopes to turn into a chain. It will serve sandwiches and it will be open for lunch. Jessica Voelker of Washingtonian has the details of what you will find there.
From the owner of Drafting Table, Aaron Gordon’s bar di Bari is open. At 1401 R Street NW the red umbrellas and colorful outdoor patio furniture are welcoming guests since Saturday morning. Although they had been offering morning coffee since Wednesday last week as a sort of soft opening.
From the corner of 14th Street the smell of fresh baked goods is inviting and once inside it is hard to choose. The food is Italian-Mediterranean inspired. A selection of salads and healthy meals is on the menu. There are cheese and charcuterie plates, antipasti and entrees and sandwiches.
Happy Hour starts at 5 pm with a menu of three draft beers and 10 bottled beers plus a list of 20 French and Spanish wines.
Bar di Bari wants to be a casual place to enjoy a coffee, a pastry or have a bite for lunch or dinner. Coffee service and a lighter fare is available from the counter all day. Dinner service starts at 4 pm.
bar di Bari Will be open Monday trough Friday from 7 am to 11 pm, Saturday from 10 am to midnight and Sunday from 10 am to 9 pm.
If you enjoyed The Whiskey Walk and the Margarita March you should be a part of the first annual Bourbon Bash. It will happening this Saturday June 22. So get ready to enjoy the popular Kentucky spirit as it will be found at eight local bars. A portion of ticket sales will benefit Lead The Way Fund, a non-profit organization that supports active duty, disabled and deceased U.S. Army Rangers and their families.
Tickets are $55 a person and can be bought online. Participating in this event are local favorites Board Room, Buffallo Billiards, Front Page, Maddy’s Bar & Grille, James Hoban’s, MadHatter and Science Club.
The Bourbon Bash gets participants into a Kentucky spirit with a bluegrass band and specials on beers, food pairings and the featured bourbons; the bourbon tasting notes can be found here. The crowd will begin their day by checking in from noon to 3 pm at James Hoban’s or Buffalo Billiards, and then proceed in whatever order they choose during this unique all-day tasting tour. The guests can enjoy their bourbons neat, on the rocks or with a soda mixer.
Participants are also entitled to special prices on (a) the bourbon each bar is featuring, (b) a beer pairing at $3 to $4, and (c) a food pairing at $4 to $7 hand-selected by each venue’s executive chef.
From Mathew Harkins. Email him at mharkins[AT]borderstan.com.
14th Street NW isn’t the only corridor in the neighborhood with new restaurants opening up. Florida Avenue has seen a share of development recently and now, it will soon be the home of Dunya Restaurant and Lounge.
Located at 801 Florida Avenue NW, this new establishment will feature Mediterranean tapas as well as high-end cocktails. The drinks will also follow the same regional inspiration as the restaurant, with beers from Spain and wines from Mediterranean.
These food and drinks are going to be served all across what is sure to be a large restaurant. Plans right now call for the ground floor, a second floor area, a rooftop bar and a summer garden. The interior is slated for 150 seating capacity and a total load of 150; the summer garden is slated to have seating for 25. Plans also include having live jazz performances for brunch.
The owner of Dunya Restaurant and Lounge is Siyamak Sadeghi, who was once the owner of both Shaw Tavern and Axis Bar and Grill. He has high hopes for this new location, which will offer a simple and relaxed atmosphere where patrons will be able to enjoy delicious foods within a space designed around Spanish aesthetics.
Dunya Restaurant and Lounge is expected to open in mid- to late-June. So when 14th Street feels a little overcrowded, too hip, or you and your friends feel like exploring the area a little bit, keep an eye out for the worldly delights of Dunya.
From David McAuley. Email him at david[AT]borderstan.com.
At its regular monthly meeting Wednesday, June 12, Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2B/Dupont endorsed the request of Taqueria Nacional restaurant (1409 T Street NW) for outdoor seating. Tacqueria Nacional opened its doors on May 15.
ANC 2B approved a resolution supporting the public space application with a proviso saying the outdoor seating have shorter hours of operation than the indoor portion of the restaurant.
The public space can operate from 10 am until 11 pm Monday to Thursday, and midnight Friday and Saturday. Taqueria Nacional has an fountain in its outdoor area.
Elwin Ferris, Secretary of the Shaw Dupont Citizens Alliance told the ANC the restaurant should remember to drain the fountain every evening at the close of business. The neighborhood has a rat problem, Ferris said, and an open fountain would give the vermin population an addition place to find water.
Restaurant management said they currently drain the fountain every night and intend to continue doing so. Drunk passersby using the fountain as a urinal was a concern, the management said.
A neighbor testified the fountain is drained nightly and covered.
The ANC voted to include a clause in its resolution noting with approval this practice, in the hopes it will continue.
The public space use application now goes to the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) for final approval.
From David McAuley. Email him at david[AT]borderstan.com.
Raj Multhani, manager of Policy Restaurant (1904 14th Street NW), is seeking to terminate an agreement because he says it puts the restaurant at a competitive disadvantage.
“This agreement has hamstrung this establishment,” Multhani told the regular monthly meeting of Advisory Neighborhood Committee 2B/Dupont on June 12. ANC 2B voted to protest termination of the agreement when the matter comes before DC’s Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Board.
Liquor-serving establishments in the Borderstan area normally enter into “settlement agreements” (formerly known as “voluntary agreements”) with local ANCs, community groups and neighbors.
These agreements normally may deal with the hours of operation of the establishment (both inside and outside if applicable), the time and frequency of garbage pickup, vermin control, valet parking, outdoor seating and other details.
Policy Restaurant’s settlement agreement is with ANC 2B, the Dupont Circle Citizens Association and a group of five neighbors. Since Policy has opened, many restaurants with more liberal settlement agreements have started up nearby.
“Things have changed around us,” Multhani said. “No other establishment has the restrictions that Policy has.”
Multhani and his attorney talked about the ways that their current settlement agreement limits Policy’s ability to operate. Policy cannot expand into its basement space. It must restrict the hours when it can receive deliveries to an even narrow period than that allowed by law. It cannot offer live music.
The most contentious issue, however, seems to be hours of operation. The current settlement agreement specifically lists Policy’s hours of operation, which are also the same hours that restaurants are normally allowed to operate. However, several times a year the DC government gives liquor licensees leave to stay open later on special occasions, most frequently on the Sunday evening of three-day weekends.
When Policy wishes to stay open as late as its neighbors, it must seek out all of the parties to their settlement agreement and get their permission. Some parties have refused to give permission.
Elwyn Ferris, Secretary of the Shaw Dupont Citizens Alliance, appeared as a representative of the group of five neighbors.
“It is vitally important that the voluntary agreement stay in place,” Ferris said.
Commissioner Noah Smith, 2B-09, proposed the motion to protest the termination of the settlement agreement, but said that he hoped he could help negotiate an agreement which is satisfactory to all sides.
The final vote was 8-0 to protest the termination of the settlement agreement. Commissioner Mike Silverstein, 2B-06, recused himself from the vote because his position on the DC Alcoholic Beverage Control Board; Silverstein recuses himself on all ANC 2B liquor licensing matters.