DC’s Best New Restaurants Include Updates to Old Favorites
Also of note: an up-and-coming contender for the best burgers in town
This month, Washington is seeing quite a few makeovers and reimaginings join the culinary landscape, from a luxe cocktail bar’s new French-inspired offerings to a late-night pizza menu at one of Arlington’s favorite event spaces and an upscale addition to an all-day dining staple in Silver Spring. Add a Latin-influenced, cocktail-focused restaurant in Chevy Chase and a brand new burger saloon with a Texas spin, and the primary challenge is deciding where to go first.
You’re here because: You’ve been on the lookout for a new cocktail spot, and this reimagining of Quadrant is poised to become a special-occasion fave. The exclusive Ritz-Carlton lounge is taking on a new élan thanks to a takeover by Seven Restaurant Group, known for its Seven Reasons and Michelin-starred Imperfecto, which has revamped both the drinks and dinner menus here.
You’re dining on: French cuisine with a handful of Latin influences and a contemporary edge. A roasted beet and whipped ricotta salad is topped with fried quinoa crumble; steak tartare is made with hand-cut dry-aged tenderloin and cured egg yolk. Unique cocktails have a definite culinary bent: The Surreal marries rye and Ardbeg infused with black trumpet mushrooms, while Nightcap sees Grey Goose combined with gin, Lillet Blanc, aloe vera and yuzu. Zero-proof creations are based on Seedlip gin, which can be shaken with raspberry, lemon, barley and club soda or lime, mulberries, grapes and a vegan foam.
You’re here because: You already love the all-day, multi-concept Zinnia, with its casual café and massive garden perfect for the summer months, so you’re excited to see what the team — and chef Danny Wells — are bringing to the space with the new fine-dining menu.
You’re dining on: Eclectic offerings capitalizing on chef Wells’s experience at BlackSalt and Pearl Dive to put delicious seafood center stage. Broiled oysters are served with black garlic butter and lemon breadcrumbs; swordfish comes with rich blue-crab butter brightened with lemon, capers and cherry tomatoes. In the garden, the chef experiments with smoking lamb for a tasty tart topped with whipped feta and sherry gastrique or the smoked onion butter that accompanies his ribeye. Vegetarians need not fret: Colorful beets are paired with rich lemon ricotta and wildflower honey vinaigrette in a tasty salad, while herb dumplings show off seasonal shiitake mushrooms rendered rich with egg yolk and Parmesan-arborio soubise.
You’re here because: Who doesn’t love late-night pizza? This new option within the Clarendon Ballroom is about to become your go-to, whether you’re seeing a show, chilling on the rooftop bar or dancing up a storm.
You’re dining on: New York-style pizza, sold either by the slice or the pie. Topping options veer classic, with pepperoni, spinach or sausage available in addition to plain ol’ Disco Cheese. If you’re not feeling pizza that night, fans can dig into OG Sliders smothered in grilled onions or share some crispy chicken tenders.
You’re here because: A smoke-kissed burger sounds like the perfect fall food. Tailor-made for carnivores, this collaboration between Joe Neuman of Sloppy Mama’s, Chris Svetlik of Republic Cantina and industry vet Ben Alt is quickly becoming known not only for its burgers but for tallow-washed cocktails and a heaping helping of Texas flair.
You’re dining on: Smoked smash burgers perfected by Neuman, who serves them as a special at Sloppy Mama’s when he has brisket trimmings to spare. The mince mix is complemented at Hill East with grass-fed, cold-hickory-smoked beef from Roseda Farm for patties that are the absolute star of the short menu. Enjoy them in one of three burgers: the Puebla, with smoked poblano relish, smoked cheddar, mustard and pickles; the OK Burger, with special sauce and pickles; or the Lancaster with bacon, tomato and smoked cheddar. (Any can be ordered as a single, double or triple.) For the beef-averse, try the Tomball, TX sandwich with buttermilk-brined fried chicken or the plant-based patty made with grits and black-eyed peas.
You’re here because: Joy stays true to its name. This fun and festive cocktail-focused spot from the team behind Seven Reasons offers an upscale-casual ambiance and fare marrying Latin flair and a contemporary twist.
You’re dining on: A creative assortment of plates large and small. Start with a plate of Venezuelan white cheese tequeños and a house Old Fashioned with Glenmorangie and fig before venturing into raw offerings like passion fruit ceviche or a swordfish tostada. Veggie options include a watercress Caesar or roasted tomato with green rice and fried egg, while more consequential mains may encompass anything from salmon churrasco with fried quinoa to wagyu steak with truffle fries. The XL side of the menu notably features a colossal short rib sandwich topped with plantain butter and smoked cheddar perfect for sharing.
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