Old Favorites, New Chefs: It's Time to Revisit Some of DC’s Mainstays

Six reliable DC dining rooms offer compelling reasons to come back
August 19, 2014
by Rina Rapuano

With the seemingly neverending emphasis on new restaurants (and the seemingly neverending supply of them), sometimes the old favorites get lost in the mix. But a new chef can infuse a restaurant that's been around for a while with an updated perspective and a roster of exciting dishes and ingredients, making it every bit as exhilarating as all those fresh-faced newbies. We noticed a flurry of new new talent had arrived at some of DC's mainstays over the past couple of months, making it high time to revisit some of these dining rooms.

Where: 1789 Restaurant
New Chef: Samuel Kim
Date Started: July
Résumé: Colicchio and Sons, The Modern
Three New Dishes: Squid-ink tagliarini with Maryland blue crab; heirloom tomato salad with tomato confit, chutney and foam plus burrata and basil oil; rabbit loin stuffed with sausage
Self-Described Style: Seasonally driven, building depths of flavor

1226 36th St. NW; 202-965-1789

Where: Bourbon Steak
New Chef: Joe Palma
Date Started: Mid-June
Résumé: High Cotton in Charleston; Westend Bistro; Le Bernardin in New York
Three New Dishes: Shellfish tower; big-eye tuna rossini topped with summer truffles; strawberry gazpacho with cucumbers and pistachio
Self-Described Style: Fresh, light and technique-focused; refined presentation; hints of Southern accents

2800 Pennsylvania Ave. NW; 202-944-2026

Where: Café du Parc at the Willard InterContinental
New Chef: Serge Devesa
Date Started: July 12
Résumé: InterContinental New York Barclay; Colette Bar and Bistro at Hotel Sofitel in Minneapolis; inducted last year to Maîtres Cuisiniers de France
Three New Dishes: Short-rib beef bourguignon; roasted rabbit leg with Dijonnaise cream sauce; bouillabaisse de Marseille
Self-Described Style: The cuisine of the sun

1401 Pennsylvania Ave. NW; 202-942-7000

Where: Mio Restaurant
New Chef: Roberto Hernandez
Date Started: July 2014
Résumé: The now-closed Blue Door Restaurant in Miami; Donald Trump’s Palm Beach Mar-a-Lago Club; his own culinary international consulting firm, Robcuisine Culinary Consultants
Three New Dishes: Pesto trout with cilantro and culantro; coffee-braised short rib with Manchego-jalapeño grits; pigeon pea and cod croquettes
Self-Described Style: Honest food, simple, with a little touch of porn sometimes. Maybe “Puerto-national.”  

1110 Vermont Ave. NW; 202-955-0075

Where: Poste Moderne Brasserie
New Chef: Kyoo Eom
Date Started: July 16
Résumé: 2941, Daniel Boulud’s Bistro Moderne and Café Boulud
Three New Dishes: Pheasant ballotine with fig, pickles and Sauterne gelée; honey-glazed eggplant; slow-cooked salmon with summer squash, mushroom, radish and sea bean
Self-Described Style: Modern twists on traditional French cuisine

555 Eighth St. NW; 202-783-6060

Where: Westend Bistro
New Chef: Adam Barnett
Date Started: June 6
Résumé: Sierra Mar at The Post Ranch Inn; Inn at Little Washington; Eventide; Liberty TavernPoste Moderne Brasserie
Three New Dishes: Hand-cut beef tartare; curried skate wing with grilled celery; sweet-corn velouté with pickled mushrooms
Self-Described Style: Light, technical, simple, clean and bright

1190 22nd St. NW; 202-974-5566

daniel boulud