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 78 of 103

Columbia Room nially booked. On the menu, traditional fam- ily-style Indian dishes, such as chicken tikka masala, join modern small plates like mango shrimp. Chef Vikram Sunderam's palak chaat (fluffy fried spinach with tangy yogurt and tamarind date chutney) is a local legend. A jeweled curtain divides the intimate dining room from the bar, where cocktails incorpo- rate Indian herbs and spices. A second location is slated to open in late 2012 in D.C.'s West End. 633 D St. NW; 202.637.1222. $$$ Toki Underground The H Street NE corridor has come alive in recent years with a slew of funky bars and restaurants. One of the most popular stops is the tiny Toki Underground, which, contrary to its name, resides in a second- floor space. An eclectic crowd lines up for a spot among the limited stools to dine on bowls of steaming ramen and dumplings in a super-cool setting. The menu is based on Chef Erik Yang's family recipes and his experiences working at ramen shops in Taipei. Also on offer: a nice selection of sake, Asian microbrews and handcrafted cocktails. 1234 H St. NE; 202.388.3086. $$ NEIGHBORHOOD STOPS Cork Wine Bar When it comes to neighborhood wine bars, Cork sets the standard for D.C. Dark wood floors, exposed brick walls and bare bulbs create a cool vibe, while Chef Rob Weland crafts unfussy dishes that reflect the seasons. Cork pours about 160 wines by the bottle, 50 wines by the glass and thoughtful tast- ing flights. Find something you love? You can buy most bottles up the street at Cork Market, along with artisanal specialty foods. 1720 14th St. NW; 202.265.2675. $$ Hank's Oyster Bar With its recent expansion into the space next door, Hank's Oyster Bar can accommodate even more neighborhood fans of chef/owner Jamie Leeds' seaside-inspired cooking. The raw bar is a big draw—Hank's even has its own sig- nature oyster being grown in Virginia—as is the newly expanded bar and cocktail program. Going with a group? Order a bowl of the Fish House punch, which can serve up to 10, before digging into lobster rolls and fried clams. 1624 Q St. NW; 202.462.4625. $$ Mintwood Place Northeastern neighborhood Adams Morgan has a tasty new hangout in owner Saied Azali's new Mintwood Place. (Azali also owns the popular neighboring Perry's.) Chef Cedric Maupillier's menu offers sea- sonal American dishes with a French accent, which translates to dishes like escargot hush puppies, frog legs with black walnut romes- co and deviled pickled eggs. Don't miss the crunchy pork cracklins to start. Rustic wood and iron details, a white pressed-tin ceiling and soft lighting make for an inviting space. 1813 Columbia Rd. NW; 202.234.6732. $$$ 72 ❘ SPECIALTY FOOD MAGAZINE ❘ specialtyfood.com Palena After more than a decade, Chef Frank Ruta's Palena still ranks among D.C.'s best restaurants. Named for the Italian village where Ruta's mother lives, the space is divided between the popular walk-in café, where the $12 cheeseburger is a favorite dish, and the more formal dining room, offering Ruta's elegant multi-course tasting menus. Foodies buzz about the beauti- ful consommé and pillowy gnocchi. Ruta recently added a market, where visitors can shop for the chef's favorite artisanal products, from pâtés to dessert pies, as well as coffee and gift baskets. 3529 Connecticut Ave. NW; 202.537.9250. $$$ Ripple One of Cleveland Park's best spots for sip- ping wine, Ripple serves a menu of seasonal dishes made with locally sourced ingredients that complements the 50 or so choices by the glass. A carefully selected lineup of cheese and charcuterie is a good place to kick off a meal, moving on to dishes such as black qui- noa risotto with spicy crab or Shenandoah lamb with chorizo and sunchokes. Though the wine list is enough to keep you busy, don't overlook the very good cocktails. A perch at the long bar will put you face to face with the mixology action. 3417 Connecticut Ave.; 202.244.7995. $$ |SFM| Amanda McClements is the founder of Metrocurean.com and a D.C.-based freelance food writer. PHOTO: COURTESY OF JIM WEBB PHOTO: COURTESY OF GREG POWERS

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