Specialty Food Magazine

MAY-JUN 2012

Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

Issue link: https://www.e-digitaleditions.com/i/62387

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Page 75 of 103

Pearl Dive Oyster Palace & Black Jack NEW & NOTEWORTHY District Commons Located off of Washington Circle, the bus- tling District Commons is the newest proj- ect from restaurant group Passion Foods, creators of Acadiana, Ceiba and DC Coast. A massive raw bar and spacious lounge make this newcomer a popular hangout, and the American comfort food makes it a worthy dinner date. Don't miss the pretzel baguette with beer-mustard butter. Right next door is little brother Burger, Tap & Shake, offering up freshly ground burg- ers on housemade buns, microbrews and milkshakes. 2200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW; 202.587.8277. $$$ Fiola Local food lovers rejoiced when renowned chef Fabio Trabocchi returned to the nation's capitol, after a stint in New York, to open the elegant Fiola in Penn Quarter. Here, the chef has created a modern, upscale trattoria, offering sophisticated Italian dish- es like a free-form lobster ravioli, branzino with razor clams and lemon-Prosecco zaba- glione, and tuna carpaccio brightened with lemon and olives. Downtown power players also flock to the see-and-be-seen bar for well-crafted cocktails and small plates. 601 Pennsylvania Ave. NW (entrance at 678 Indiana Ave.); 202.628.2888. $$$$ Graffiato Chef Mike Isabella of "Top Chef" fame has delivered a hit with his debut restaurant Graffiato. The New Jersey native prepares his version of the Italian-inspired fare he grew up with, including wood-fired pizzas, housemade pastas (don't miss the seasonal agnolotti), and excellent small vegetable dishes such as crispy Brussels sprouts with pancetta, maple and egg. Prime perches in the two-story space include stools at the pizza bar with views of the fiery oven on the ground floor or seats at the upstairs "ham" bar, facing the kitchen action. 707 Sixth St. NW; 202.289.3600. $$ Little Serow Johnny Monis made his reputation as one of the city's top chefs with Komi, his elegant Greek-inspired fine-dining destination. He's taken a different course next door with the hip Little Serow, an ode to Northeastern Thai dishes. The restaurant serves a $45 set menu of communal dishes, which changes weekly, for walk-ins only. (Grab a drink at a neighboring bar and the staff will ring you when a table is available.) The vibrant- ly spiced dishes include fried pork skins, still crackling from the fryer, dipped in hot, chile-based nam prik num sauce; spicy cucumber salad with dried shrimp; and lemon grass–scented pork sausage. 1511 17th St. NW; no phone. $$$$ Pearl Dive Oyster Palace & Black Jack This 14th Street hotspot is the latest from chefs Jeff and Barbara Back. The light and airy Pearl Dive occupies the first floor with a Southern-inspired, seafood-heavy menu, including a large selection of oysters, gum- bos and entrees such as wood-grilled Gulf redfish with stone-ground grits. Upstairs is Black Jack, a lively, carnival-inspired bar done up in blacks and reds, with two boccie courts, stiff cocktails and its own menu of flatbreads and sandwiches. 1612 14th St. NW; 202.319.1612. $$$ MAY/JUNE 2012 69 PHOTO: COURTESY OF SCOTT SEVERSON

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