The 7 Best Restaurants That Opened in DC This Summer
Dine on and drink well, people
To keep tabs on every DC restaurant and bar opening is folly. But to keep tabs on the most worthy? Yeoman’s work, and we’re proud to do it. Thus we present Table Stakes, a monthly rundown of the five (or so) must-know spots that have swung wide their doors in the past thirty (or so). Bon appétit.
To say it’s been a difficult summer for restaurant owners — whose businesses have been surviving on a combination of loans, community support, ingenuity and pure grit — would be a hell of an understatement. Against all odds, restaurants are still finding a way to survive. In fact, they’ve somehow been cropping up around the city all summer, providing DC residents with a never-ending well of new and exciting spots to grab a bite and a beverage. From Filipino cuisine at a beer garden to an all-day Japanese tea house in a hotel, here are some of the best new restaurants that have — against all odds — opened in D.C. this summer.
Mount Vernon Triangle
Atlanta’s favorite Persian restaurant has finally opened first location outside of Georgia, in none other than DC’s Mount Vernon Triangle. There, expect some quality mezze, marinated kebabs, rice dishes and stews that first gained Iranian chef Ali Mesghali national acclaim. Mesghali is known for being absolutely meticulous about the main ingredients used in each dish, insisting on soaking grains for four to six hours in salt water and trying a reported 80,000 different blends of ground beef for their standard koobideh kebab.
Attached to popular beer garden Dacha’s Navy Yard location is the recently revamped Jackie, an American bistro with a Jackie Kennedy-inspired theme. The new spot is helmed by chef Jerome Grant, known best for his time at the African American Museum’s Sweet Home Cafe, where Grant earned his own James Beard nod. Expect Asian-inspired flavors from the menu thanks to Jackie’s own konro grill, which burns binchotan charcoal and churns out dishes like grilled prawns and duck meatballs.
Chef Erik Bruner Yang has all but taken over the dining options within the trendy Line Hotel, where he helms Brothers and Sisters, Spoken English and now the recently opened Café Spoken. Inspired by the Japanese kissaten (tea house), the brand new all-day cafe features a lineup of savory breakfast dishes such as a Japanese-style breakfast bowl and Chinese doughnuts and waffles, as well as afternoon items like katsu sandwiches and onigiri rice balls. Thirsty patrons can look forward to a variety of coffee, tea and even boozy milkshakes.
Inspired by Tom Wolfe’s The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, this trippy newcomer to Shaw is all about the frozen beverages, which they now serve from an expansive outdoor backyard. Ice cream fans will love the Good Humor cart stocked with bars and king cones, and a dedicated food truck parking space creates a sort of makeshift surprise food menu. A lengthy frozen beverage menu features classics like the Moscow Mule as well as more inventive concoctions like the Bluth-approved There’s Always Money in the Banana Stand.
U Street Corridor
The much-anticipated rooftop addition by Bresca owner Ryan Ratino has finally opened after almost a year of delays. Ratino has also made sure to emphasize the fact that Jônt’s current debut does not mirror it’s final form, which will eventually involve a very ambitious price-fixe menu. For now though, eager patrons can now reserve a spot at Ratino’s 12-seat chef’s counter for a nightly tasting menu for luxe dishes like a Dungeness crab tartlette with preserved truffle or wood-fired foie gras. The restaurant is also hosting “European-style” lunches on Sunday only.
Oaxacan restaurant Espita is usually known for its bangin’ tacos and margaritas, but the return of Chef Rob Aiken from NYC and some extra room inside the restaurant (courtesy of the pandemic) has prompted the recent launch of something unexpected: burgers. Ghostburger is Aikens’ diner-style ghost kitchen concept featuring smashburgers, cheesesteaks and boozy shakes.
The Lot at Reveler’s Hour
Those looking for the perfect spot at which to soak up the last rays of summer can check out the reopened Reveler’s Hour, now featuring an al fresco wine garden that they’re calling The Lot. The new concept includes dine-in, carryout and even its own wine shop. Guests can look forward to glasses of wine paired with picnic-style dishes like corn-ricotta ravioli in the cozy space, which is decorated with string lights.
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