by Jennifer Currier December 29, 2015 at 10:30 am 1 Comment

Luna Grill (via Facebook:Luna Grill and Diner DC)

A Dupont Circle diner is temporarily closed after a food safety and hygiene inspector reported it had a “heavy infestation of vermin” problem.

Luna Grill and Diner at 1301 Connecticut Ave. NW is closed until further notice following the D.C. Department of Health’s findings.

The grill is closed for “operating a food establishment with gross insanitary  conditions that may endanger public health including but not limited to heavy infestation of vermin,” according to a DOH closure notice. It does not specify when Luna Grill will reopen or what must be done to meet DOH compliance.

A representative for the restaurant also couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

According to its Facebook page, Luna Grill was founded in 1996 and has been serving breakfast, lunch, dinner, coffee and drinks in D.C. since. The restaurant has a second location in Arlington, VA.

Full DOH reports on restaurant closures are typically released within a few days of an inspection.

Photo via Facebook/Luna Grill and Diner DC

by Borderstan.com April 11, 2013 at 12:00 pm 1 Comment

From Jane Alonso. Her passion for food and spirits leads her on frequent excursions into Borderstan’s land of bars and restaurants. Email her at jane[AT]borderstan.com

"oysters"

Oysters on the half shell. (Luis Gomez Photos)

When it starts getting warmer as spring approaches, there aren’t many things as satisfying to consume than freshly shucked oysters paired with an ice-cold Martini. Head to Hank’s Oyster Bar, a Q Street mainstay since 2005, to explore how well these Mad Men-era favorites go together in the balmy weather.

Vodka or Gin?

The first order of business is to choose a Martini: vodka or gin, flavored or unflavored. If you want to let the delicate flavor of the oysters shine, it is best to go with a strong and clean classic, so choose gin or vodka “up very cold and very dry” as my Dad used to say.

I prefer the blank canvas of a smooth vodka, but the herbal floral notes of gin often draw out and highlight the unique flavors of certain types of oysters. You cannot go wrong pairing briny with briny; a dirty Martini will always partner well with the lovely saltiness of an oyster.

Just about any Martini offered at Hank’s will pair well with an oyster (not surprising that their mixologists know their customer base).  Two choices that will not fail to complement any oyster: The Vesper, consisting of two parts Plymouth Gin, one part Grey Goose Vodka, and a splash of Lillet with a lemon twist; and the Dry and Dirty: Cold River potato vodka with a splash of olive juice.

I decide to go off the path just a bit and choose one of their original Martinis, the “Cold Smoke,” which includes Ketel One vodka, a “float” of ice-cold Ardbeg scotch (a peaty Islay scotch I adore) with a flamed lemon rind.

Sample All the Oysters

The combination proves to be a perfect complement to the half-dozen oysters I order from Hank’s blackboard menu, which changes daily. The light touch of the smokiness from the scotch warms up the cold, strong vodka, but does not overwhelm or compete with the flavors of the oysters.

  • My recommendation is to sample at least one of every oyster available. The oysters will come out on a tray, along with a card listing their names.
  • As you work your way around the tray, start with a sip of the Martini, then dislodge the oyster with your fork, pick up the shell and slurp down the oyster from the wide end to suck in the juices.
  • Follow with another sip of the Martini, and wait for the flavors to mingle in your mouth. The Martini will add a wonderful zesty charge to the taste of the oysters, almost like an additional dipping sauce.
  • As you sample the oysters, you may want to consult your smartphone for some additional information on where the oysters come from and their flavor profiles (check out the Oyster Finder for a handy guide).
  • The Dragon Creek oysters on my plate turned out to have an interesting story: produced at Nomini Creek on the Eastern Shore, these oysters are hand-delivered to restaurants by the grower, Bruce Wood, who also recovers used shells and returns them to his waters, where new oyster reefs can begin to replace those that were over-harvested centuries ago.

Incidentally, my favorite oyster on this particular night was the Malpeques from Prince Edward Island — sweet and briny, almost like an ocean pickle.

While the weather is perfect for oysters and Martinis right now, don’t forget that oysters are wonderful any time of the year.  Enjoy.

The Details

  • Where Am I Going: Hanks Oyster Bar, 1624 Q Street NW.
  • When Am I Going: Weekday happy hour specials from 5 to 7 pm. Dinner service begins at 5:30 pm.
  • Paycheck Pain: Oysters on the half shell $2/each; Martinis priced at $11. Half-price oysters every night from 11 pm to midnight.
  • Say What? A lively atmosphere, but it’s not too loud for a conversation.
  • What am I eating and drinking: Oysters and Martinis! But Hank’s offers a variety of seafood and meat dishes for those who want a broader selection.

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by Borderstan.com April 1, 2013 at 12:00 pm 0

patio

Patios of Borderstan. What are your favorite places to eat, drink and people-watch? (Luis Gomez Photos)

DC finally got a taste — albeit brief — of spring weather this weekend. And with April officially here, there’s no better way to ring in the season than with a meal or a drink outside. Thankfully, there are several restaurants in the area (some new, some old) that have patio and rooftop outdoor spaces.

Here at Borderstan, we write about outdoor dining quite frequently. (What can we say? We like it.) To make it easier on you, here is a master list of some of the areas best outdoor dining — and drinking — spots. Of course there are many more. Feel free to leave your favorites in the comment section.

The Borderstan Patio and Rooftop Guide

Our three-dozen spots in the neighborhood:

  1. 1905 Garden, 1905 9th Street NW
  2. American Ice, 917 V Street NW
  3. Bar Dupont, New Hampshire Avenue/Dupont Circle NW
  4. Bar Pilar, 1833 14th Street NW
  5. Brixton, 901 U Street NW
  6. Cafe Saint-Ex, 1847 14th Street NW
  7. CIRCA, 1601 Connecticut Avenue NW
  8. Commissary, 1443 P Street NW
  9. DGS Delicatessen, 1317 Connecticut Avenue NW
  10. Donovan House, 1155 14th Street NW
  11. El Centro D.F., 1819 14th Street NW
  12. Hank’s, 1624 Q Street NW
  13. Jack Rose, 2007 18th Street NW
  14. Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe, 1517 Connecticut Avenue NW
  15. L’Enfant Cafe, 2000 18th Street NW
  16. Lauriol Plaza, 1835 18th Street NW
  17. Le Diplomate, 1601 14th Street NW
  18. Level One, 1639 R Street NW
  19. Local 16, 1602 U Street NW
  20. Logan Tavern, 1423 P Street NW
  21. Lost Society, 2001 14th Street NW
  22. Mandu, 1805 18th Street NW
  23. Marvin, 2007 14th Street NW
  24. Masa 14, 1825 14th Street NW
  25. Matchbox, 1901 14th Street NW
  26. MOVA,  2204 14th Street NW
  27. Nellie’s Sports Bar, 900 U Street NW
  28. One Lounge, 1606 20th Street NW
  29. Sette Osteria, 1666 Connecticut Avenue NW
  30. Solly’s U Street Tavern, 1942 11th Street NW
  31. Standard, 1801 14th Street NW
  32. Tabaq, 1336 U Street NW
  33. Trio Fox & Hounds, 1537 17th Street NW
  34. Ulah Bistro, 1214 U Street NW
  35. Vinoteca, 1940 11th Street NW
  36. Zorba’s Cafe, 1612 20th Street NW

 

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by Borderstan.com March 29, 2013 at 11:30 am 0

From Rachel Nania. Check out her blog, Sear, Simmer & Stir. Follow Nania on Twitter @rnania, email her at rachel[AT]borderstan.com.

"Firefly"

Easter Rabbit at Firefly on New Hampshire Avenue NW. (Luis Gomez Photos)

Easter is right around the corner and the bunny is hopping right into town and onto your plate. (Sorry, kids.)

Firefly (1310 New Hampshire Avenue NW) is offering a rabbit tasting menu during dinner now through Monday, April 1. The $65 per person four-course menu includes:

  • Rabbit terrine, whole grain mustard, cornichon and grilled baguette
  • Frisée and spring onion salad, rabbit confit, bacon lardons and poached egg
  • Crispy rabbit leg, spring carrots and peas, red eye gravy and potato purée
  • Carrot sorbet
  • House made rabbit marshmallows

For more information, visit Firefly’s website.

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by Borderstan.com March 28, 2013 at 12:00 pm 0

From Rachel Nania. Check out her blog, Sear, Simmer & Stir. Follow Nania on Twitter @rnania, email her at rachel[AT]borderstan.com.

"hank"

Hanks Oyster Bar. (Luis Gomez Photos)

Hank’s had me at “all you can eat oysters.”

The annual Hank’s Oyster Fest takes place Saturday, April 13, at the restaurant’s Dupont Circle location, starting at 11 am. In addition to all-you-can-eat oysters on the half shell, diners will enjoy fried oysters, BBQ oysters, popcorn shrimp, old bay fries and onion rings. The event also includes all-you-can-drink select draft beer.

Tickets to Oyster Fest are $80 and can be purchased online; 10 percent of sales proceeds will be donated to Women Chefs & Restaurateurs.

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https://www.boxofficetickets.com/go/event?id=219575

by Borderstan.com June 12, 2012 at 8:00 am 0

From Alden Leonard. Contact him at alden[AT]borderstan.com and follow him @aldenleonard on Twitter.

The Washington City Paper has posted its list of the area’s most valuable restaurants, and Borderstan’s cuisine is well-represented. Don’t confuse this for a simple “best restaurants” list — rather, it is a diverse survey of the places where your money is best spent.

How do the folks at WCP make such a distinction?

Each food contributor is asked to respond to the question, “What makes your dining experience valuable” in his or her own way, and the results are appropriately diverse: some selections are noted for their ambiance or vibe, while others are featured strictly for their food and/or price point.

Borderstan restaurants offer great options. (Luis Gomez Photos)

Borderstan inclusions are:

  1. Taylor Gourmet
  2. Great Wall Szechuan House
  3. Bar Pilar
  4. Standard
  5. Blind Dog Café
  6. Sundevich
  7. Little Serow
  8. Sushi Taro
  9. Smoke & Barrel
  10. Estadio
  11. Obelisk
  12. Komi (of course)
  13. Brasserie Beck made the list as well, and although it lies beyond the borders of, um, Borderstan, I’m giving it a nod because it’s a personal fave.

Note that five restaurants on the list are on 14th Street and three more are on 17th Street NW. Get eating!

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by Borderstan.com May 8, 2012 at 10:00 am 1,207 1 Comment

"Boqueria""Bar", Dupont, Circle, Kim, Vu, DC, restaurants

Boqueria is a New York transplant in Dupont Circle. (Kim Vu)

From Kim Vu. He also has his own food blog, DC Wrapped Dates. Follow him at@dcwrappeddates or email him at kim[AT]borderstan.com.

Featured image by Kim Vu.

Want good tapas but not willing to wait through the crowds at 14th Street’s Estadio or the newly remodeled Jaleo? We dropped in to the not-even-two-months-old Boqueria to check out this viable alternative. (They’re at 1837 M Street NW.)

Like Carmine’s, Serendipity, and Shake Shack before it, Boqueria is a New York City import, based on two successful restaurants of the same name in SoHo and Flatiron. Located in the old Penang space above Chipotle on M Street, it is decidedly very… well, New York.

Where Boqueria’s tapas contemporaries in D.C. feature Moorish features and a brightly mod, avant-garde decor respectively, Boqueria is clean and sharp, with a white and birch and tan color scheme that covers the bricks and tiles and wood accents. The main space opens onto a central square bar similar to Estadio’s, but with more bar seating and bedecked in chalkboards.

Seating is pretty tight, save for the patio outside, and the noise level rises fairly quickly if the space fills. Overall, it’s an ideal spot for post-work drinks and quick bites.

But what about the food?

Boqueria’s tapas lineup contains a roll call of Iberian standards, but the hidden treasure is the rotating menu of specials, an extensive list of daily dishes where some of the more interesting bites appear. On this trip, the winner of the night was indeed from this group, red peppers stuffed with braised oxtail in a potato purée, with stringy-in-the-good-way oxtail and deep savory flavors mixing with some interesting textural shifts between the smooth mash and the crunchy onion topping. Boqueria also nails the classics, with sharp Valdeon cheese and almonds providing a rich centerpiece to the time-honored bacon-wrapped dates.

So for some good eats and a swank decor in a prime location, hit up Boqueria.

For a more in-depth review, visit DC Wrapped Dates.

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by Borderstan.com April 17, 2012 at 10:00 am 2 Comments

Kim, Vu, Borderstan, restaurants

Kim Vu’s poster-sized map of restaurants in the Borderstan area. (Kim Vu)

Borderstan welcomes a new food writer to the team, Kim Vu. A DC resident since 2005, he works in international development by day. He also has his own food blog, DC Wrapped Dates. Follow him at@dcwrappeddates or email him at kim[AT]borderstan.com.

My roommate and I are notoriously bad at making decisions on where to eat dinner. And for the last seven years or so, we’ve gone through the same process each time. We’ll play the game of seeing who can say, “I made the decision last time” first (no matter who actually did), then we’ll start throwing out things we don’t want (“dude, we ate Chinese last week”), until one of us gets hungry enough to break the Mexican standoff and just goes with the time-tested “let’s walk until we see something.”

This would be fine if the indecision didn’t predominantly end in us scarfing down an embarrassingly large bag of McDoubles and twenty-piece chicken nuggets.

So when we moved with a third friend into a house in Borderstan last year, I set out to make our lives (and heart health) a little bit easier. Needing a project, I decided to make a handmade poster-sized map of the area’s restaurant corridors. Sure, there’s always Google Maps. But it never shows every restaurant, except for when you zoom in to myopic levels, and it probably forgets all of the hole-in-the-wall pizza shops and takeout places.

And what better way to celebrate my arrival in the neighborhood than getting to know its food? My inner 5th Grade art teacher even took over with flashes of interesting albeit difficult-to-implement ideas: “Ooh, all of the restaurant’s should be logos from their business cards! I can fill the residential space with pictures from the neighborhood! This is gonna be great!”

•  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •

“This was a terrible idea,” I say to my other roommate. She gives me a mixed smile, half bemusement, half why-are-you-taking-up-half-the-dining-room-table. “There are just so many.” Sitting there, I realize I have bitten off more than I can chew. In my mind’s eye, I had only imagined 50, maybe 60 stops, but the actual number was in the hundreds. Everyone can rattle off the big ticket restaurants on 17th Street: Komi, Little Serow, Annie’s, Level One… but what about the tucked away Chinese carryout place that my friend Mike swears by? Hell, what about McDonalds?

But perhaps more problematically, I have essentially signed up to map the unmappable; by the time I finish the map, like some sort of food hydra, restaurants will shutter and debut, making my creation instantly passe. Indeed, the moment I finish collecting 14th Street is the weekend Pearl Dive Oyster Palace finally opens. The physical act of walking through all that Borderstan has to offer makes this effort like the scene in Vegas Vacation where Chevy Chase tries to plug all the holes in the dam wall; I literally just can’t keep up.

•  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •

Months have gone by and the map sits on the table, taunting me with its incompleteness. I’ve visited basement bars and Thai restaurants and ice cream shops; one manager at an unnamed lounge actually interrogates me as to why I want their business card. I’m forlornly updating the map when my roommate finds me, and peers over my shoulder at the map. “Oh, hey,” he says, pointing at a spot, “I didn’t know there was a restaurant there.” “Oh yeah, it opened like a couple months ago. It’s got this really cool setup…” And I decide, at that moment, it doesn’t really matter if it remains unfinished. It matters that in the last few months, I’ve walked all over this area I call home, learning all the ins and outs and exploring all the nooks and crannies of Borderstan.

“Screw it,” I say to my roommate, “You want to go to Taylor for a sandwich?”

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by Borderstan.com March 27, 2012 at 8:00 am 0

"Borderstan" "Rammy's 2012"

A plethora of Borderstan-area restaurants picked up 2012 nominations from the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Alejandra Owens. You can find her at her food blog, One Bite At A Time. Alejandra also writes for City Eats DC, a Food Network site, where you can book dinner reservations. Email her at alejandra[AT]borderstan.com and follow her on Twitter at @frijolita.

Each year the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington names a group of outstanding restaurants, chefs, mixologists, sommeliers, pastry chefs and restaurant staff that have helped develop and advance the DC food scene. Not only are these folks outstanding at what they do, but they are also an integral part of our neighborhood. They help us make memories, create an ambience and environment where friends can gather, families can relax and so much more.

We are incredibly lucky to live in a neighborhood with not just so much wonderful food, but also with so many wonderful people who live and work to make it happen every day. Cheers to this year’s list of nominees for the awards — known as the RAMMYs — and good luck to all when the winners who will be announced this June. Last year four neighborhood restaurants took home RAMMYS in June (see Logan Circle Restaurants Take Home Some 2011 RAMMYs).

The following restaurants from Borderstan were nominated for a 2012 RAMMY:

Upscale Casual Restaurant of the Year

  • Birch & Barley

Casual Restaurant of the Year

  • Bar Pilar
  • C.F. Folks
  • Hank’s Oyster Bar and Lounge – DC

Neighborhood Gathering Place of the Year

  • Bistrot Du Coin
  • Café Saint-Ex

New Restaurant of the Year

  • Pearl Dive Oyster Palace

Rising Culinary Star of the Year

  • Justin Bittner – Bar Pilar

Wine Program of the Year 

  • Cork Wine Bar

Beverage/Mixology Program of the Year

  • Neighborhood Restaurant Group

Hottest Restaurant Bar Scene of the Year

  • Black Jack
  • Marvin

Restaurateur of the Year

  • Michael Babin – Neighborhood Restaurant Group
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by Borderstan.com February 11, 2012 at 11:00 pm 1,226 0

"Borderstan""Diner Table"

 You’ve still got time to make Valentine’s Day reservations! (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Alejandra Owens. You can find her at her food blog, One Bite At A Time. Alejandra also writes for City Eats DC, a Food Network site, where you can book dinner reservations. Email her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @frijolita.

There’s no time left. Or so it seems. You’ve no plans for Valentine’s Day. No reservations and like writer’s block when you’re on deadline, the best date you can think of is “dinner and a movie.”

Not that there’s anything wrong with dinner and a movie. But you can do better. And you don’t even have to try that hard. I polled the Borderstan contributors about where they’d like to be taken for their ideal Valentine’s Day meal — and as much one would think we’d all pick mainstream spots, there were some truly great off-beat spots that made the list too.

So, just how are these plans of yours going to come together at the last minute? Because honestly, word on the street is that reservations for the night of are all booked up, and this weekend and next aren’t looking great either. Here we go:

  1. Call them now. No really, now!
  2. When they tell you there’s no reservation, hit OpenTable and City Eats just in case.
  3. Consider an off-night. Monday being the best day to start with.
  4. Go early. Way early. You might feel like an AARP member eating dinner at 5:30 pm, but hey, you’re eating dinner.
  5. Screw dinner. Hit the bar and just do cocktails/appetizers. A boozey, long brunch is always fun.  Or how about a coffee/dessert outing after a well thought out dinner at home.

And now, where will you do these things? Coming in at the top of the list, with multiple votes each:

  • Hank’s Oyster Bar
  • Bistro Du Coin
  • Tabbard Inn
  • Thai X-Ing
  • 1905
  • Little Serow
  • Home (no, that’s not a restaurant, that’s your couch)

Still high on the list:

  • Birch & Barley
  • Rice
  • Sette
  • Al Crostino
  • Level One
  • Floriana
  • Veritas

The ones in green? They’re all in the Dupont-Logan-U Street area.

Consider your predicament an opportunity to try somewhere new together. Or take a walk on the wild side and put together a date that doesn’t start at 7 pm! After all, eating good food and spending some ooey gooey time together is the goal.

And remember: If you can’t get into any of these great V-Day date restaurants on Tuesday, they are still great places to take a date — or on any other occasion.

by Borderstan.com January 9, 2012 at 6:30 am 1,110 0

DC Restaurant Week Winter 2012, Luis Gomez Photos

DC Winter Restaurant Week runs January 9-15. Fixed prices are $20.12 for lunch and $35.12 for dinner. (Luis Gomez Photos)

The bi-annual DC Restaurant Week has arrived. It begins today, January 9, and runs through Sunday the 15th. You can get the complete list at the Restaurant Week website (yes, some are even in the suburbs).

Here’s how the pricing works: Lunch is $20.12 for a three-course fixed-price meal while dinner is $35.12 for a three-course fixed-price meal. Beverages, gratuity and tax are not included.

If you want to stay in the neighborhood, below are 35 restaurants in the Dupont-Logan-U Street area that are part of Restaurant Week.

Reservations can be made through OpenTable for many participating restaurants, but not all. Note that some of the  restaurants in the Metro area are only offering lunch while others may offer only dinner as part of the special.

Navigating Restaurant Week: Read Alejandra’s Restaurant Week: Love It… or Hate It.

17th Street NW

  • Agora1527 17th Street NW
  • Floriana, 1602 17th Street NW (dinner only)
  • Level One, 1639 17th Street NW (dinner only)
  • Sushi Taro, 1503 17th Street NW

Dupont Circle Area

  • 2100 Prime in the Fairfax Hotel, 2100 Massachusetts Avenue NW
  • Bistro Bistro, 1727 Connecticut Avenue NW
  • Casa Nonna, 1250 Connecticut Avenue NW
  • Cafe Dupont, 1500 New Hampshire Avenue NW
  • Darlington House, 1610 20th Street NW
  • Dirty Martini, 1223 Connecticut Avenue NW
  • Ezme, 2016 P Street NW
  • Firefly, 1310 New Hampshire Avenue NW
  • Grillfish, 1200 New Hampshire Avenue NW
  • Ristorante i Ricchi, 1220 19th Street NW
  • Odeon Cafe, 1714 Connecticut Avenue NW
  • La Tomate, 1701 Connecticut Avenue NW
  • Levante, 1320 19th Street NW
  • Marrakesh, 2147 P Street NW
  • Palm, 1225 19th Street NW
  • Ruth’s Chris Steak House, 1801 Connecticut Avenue NW
  • Urbana Restaurant, Hotel Palomar, 2121 P Street NW
  • Vento Restaurant, 2120 P Street NW

Logan Circle / 14th Street NW

  • El Centro D.F., 1819 14th Street NW
  • Birch and Barley1337 14th Street NW (dinner only)
  • Logan Tavern, 1423 P Street NW
  • Masa 14, 1825 14th Street NW (dinner only)
  • Policy, 1904 14th Street NW (dinner only)

Thomas Circle and Scott Circle

  • Beacon Bar & Grill, Beacon Hotel & Corporate Quarters, 1615 Rhode Island Avenue NW
  • Nage Bistro, 1600 Rhode Island Avenue NW
  • Zentan, Donovan House Hotel, 1155 14th Street NW

U Street Corridor

  • Eatonville, 2121 14th Street NW
  • Lost Society, 2001 14th Street NW (dinner only)
  • 19051905 9th Street NW (dinner only)
  • Tabaq Bistro, 1136 U Street NW (dinner only)
  • Vinoteca Wine Bar & Bistro, 1940 11th Street NW

by Borderstan.com December 28, 2011 at 10:00 am 1,008 2 Comments

Saturday Night Sips, Alejandra Owens, Borderstan

The most popular food & drink story in 2011 was Alejandra Owens’ “Saturday Night Sips: Fighting Hunger in DC.” (Alejandra Owens)

Following are the top food and drink stories each month on Borderstan in 2011. The top story each month was the one that was read by the most readers. The writer’s name is next to each story.

Top food story for the year in terms of reader views? The run-away winner was Saturday Night Sips: Fighting Hunger In DC from Alejandra Owens.

by Borderstan.com November 11, 2011 at 6:30 am 6,822 0

BorderstanFrom Michelle Lancaster. Follow her and tell her your news on Twitter @MichLancaster or email her at [email protected]

That’s right — our location was the first of Ruth Gresser’s popular pizza places, Pizza Paradiso, at 2003 P Street NW . If you go tomorrow, (Saturday the 12th), The Washington Post can guide you to some specials.

Today, the 11th, is 20 cents for your first beer (given their beer list, this is a must-not-miss occasion for anyone on a budget), and Saturday will yield deals on pies.

All deal talk aside, it is quite an accomplishment, particularly on that stretch of P Street which has seen so many places come and go, to make it 20 years in this town. Congrats!

 

by Borderstan.com October 26, 2011 at 10:00 am 1,095 1 Comment

"Borderstan" "Pizza 17th""17th StreetNW"

“The Huxtable” is a special order at Pizza No. 17. (Ashley Lusk)

From Ashley Lusk. Check out Ashley’s blog Metropoetrylis and find her on Twitter at @arlusk. You can email her at [email protected]

If you haven’t been eating at Pizza No. 17, then the way I see it, that’s really a problem. Not only is Payam Yazdani an authentically interested owner, his restaurant also has really good pizza, made in a wood-fired oven. (They also have Paninis and salads.)

Yazdani grew up in the neighborhood — his family owns Java House at 16th and Q NW — and he spent time in New York City, opening his own wine and coffee shop. He returned home to DC to take over Java House when his father retired and now he manages two locations with perhaps two slightly different sets of customers.

Tucked away at 1523 17th Street NW beside Agora and just north of JR’s Bar and Grille, Pizza No. 17 opened in March and is the reincarnation of the former Pasha Bistro. The pizza spot is still figuring out its own style beside its brunch-busy neighbors — modern Pottery Barn-style lighting hangs inside, but outside, rustic lanterns cast a soft glow. Family style wooden seating gives you the feeling of a familiar patio ritual, but a neon open sign juxtaposes a real wood-burning oven.

The concept for Pizza No. 17 is single-serving dishes, what Yazdani calls “responsible portions.” The pizzas come in 8 -or 12-inches only (compared to the hefty 12-inch or more standard at many places), and the dough is homemade. There are a few distinct signals that show Yazdani cares about the food here — bottles of olive oil with red pepper flakes sit marinating at each table, soda is served in classic Coke bottles, and best of all — the only liquor Pizza No. 17 serves is the traditional limoncello. However, Pizza No. 17 has a fair selection of wine and beer as well.

When I asked him which pizza I should try, Yazdani actually recommended an item that wasn’t on the menu — The Huxtable. This tasty pizza is a throwback to Dr. Huxtable’s favorite pie and comes with fresh sausage, anchovies, jalapeños, tomatoes and olives. My dinner companion said the crust was tasty and that the traditional charred crust found on a pizza made in a wood-burning oven was happily missing here. We also tasted a vegetarian pizza — goat cheese, tomatoes, olives, and mushrooms and had a similar reaction: a filling pie with a great flavor, a crust that makes for good dipping in the house olive oil.

Pizza No. 17 is new, and the owner is invested in making a solid pizza place for the neighborhood. That’s good because we hope it will be around for a long while.

Pizza No. 17

  • Where Am I Going? 1523 17th Street NW.
  • When Am I Going? Sunday-Thursday 11:30 am to 11 pm, open until midnight on Friday and Saturday.
  • Delivery? Yup, but expect at least 30-45 minutes for delivery.
  • Paycheck Pain? You get what you pay for — more expensive than Papa John’s–but fresh, homemade ingredients are worth it.
  • Say What?  Although there is a single TV at the bar you won’t have to worry about shouting.
  • What You’ll Be Eating:  Pizza and Limoncello. Paninis and salads on the menu, too, plus some beer and wine.

by Borderstan.com September 9, 2011 at 10:00 am 1,648 2 Comments

HarrisQ, Borderstan Flickr Pool, DC Brunch Guide

Eggs or pancakes with your Mimosa? (HarrisQ from the Borderstan flickr pool)

From Laura Herman of LauraLikesThis. Laura is also a contributor over at Brightest Young Things and you can find her on Twitter @Lmhhabs. Email her at [email protected]

Brunch in D.C. is a thing. A sacred rite. Time to catch up with friends, carb load, share stories of the previous night and maybe have a mimosa or three.

As with most things in D.C., everyone you ask has their own strong opinion(s) about brunch spots. We’re lucky to live in a part of the city with such a dearth of brunch options, but I often find myself either overwhelmed by the choices or stuck in a rut with the same spots.

Borderstan Brunch Guide to the rescue! We polled our entire team (nine responses) for their favorite local spots, which in our humble opinion provides a pretty accurate and detailed guide to brunching in Borderstan. Which establishments got more than one mention?

  • Cafe Saint-Ex (4)
  • Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe (3)
  • Bar Pilar (2)
  • Commissary (2)
  • Darlington House (2)
  • Scion (2)

Now just one question remains: Do you order eggs or go for pancakes?

Michelle B

  • Darlington House
  • Scion

Ashley L

  • Open City (technically outside of “Borderstan” but it’s good so we’ll let this one in).
  • The Diner (same thing — not too far away in AdMo).
  • Busboys and Poets
  • Birch and Barley (“very savory” says Ashley).

Mike K

  • Cafe Saint-Ex
  • Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe: “A classic.”
  • Commissary: Mike thinks its well-priced, delicious AND he’s a big fan of their sustainable practices.
  • Bonus: he’ll also leave the ‘hood for his favorite brunch in town at Georgia Brown’s.

Michelle L

  • Urbana: “Urbana’s prices for food are extremely reasonable, the food is delicious, and it’s one of the broadest menus (eggs bennie and frittatas to sweet and savory pizzas to waffles and pancakes and italian sausage and oysters) I’ve seen around. That’s all a rationalization, though — the $16 bottomless build your own bellini with actually tasty-on-its-own champagne bottles deposited on your table combined with your choice of about seven different fresh fruit purees… that’s the stuff Sunday dreams are made of.”
  • Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe
  • Bar Pilar: “A no brainer — the food is great, the ambience is great and its hands down the best bloody mary I’ve had in our hood.”

Khelan B

  • Vinoteca
  • Crème
  • Bar Pilar
  • Scion

Tom H

  • Café Saint-Ex
  • Tabard Inn
  • Next on Tom’s list: Cork brunch

Matty R

  • Florida Avenue Grill (recently profiled by Alejandra) because “They have biscuits and sausage gravy on the menu!”
  • Café Saint-Ex: “The food is simply very good and so are the Bloody Marys.”
  • Commissary: “Great prices and healthy choices on the menu.”
  • Darlington House: “A good choice on Connecticut Avenue.”
  • Annie’s Paramount Steak House: “You want meat? Here it is.”

Alejandra O

  • Karmer Books & Afterwords Café
  • L’Enfant Café
  • Dolcezza for a breakfast snack
  • Café Saint-Ex

Laura H

  • Mandu: “Really, words can’t even express how much I love Mandu. At  any time any for any occasion. But particularly for brunch. It’s out of control good.”
  • New Orleans Cafe “My newest brunch obsession. Good when you need something slightly greasy.”
  • Birch and Barley “Good for out of town visitors.”
  • Cafe Dupont
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