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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
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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

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