First Look: Oval Room Reopens Today Following $1M Renovation, Menu Overhaul

By Rina Rapuano
August 4, 2014
By Rina Rapuano  |  August 4, 2014
Photo by: Greg Powers

After nearly 20 years of serving guests near the White House, The Oval Room has undergone a major monthlong renovation and reopened today sporting its new look and some menu changes, as well. Other changes include new patio furniture, newly appointed sommelier Alek Milford and the movement of general manager Simon Stilwell from Rasika to The Oval Room. 

Executive chef Tony Conte will now offer a $60 four-course dinner ($90 with wine pairings) and a $20 bar-only lunch special that includes a select drink, an entrée and a sorbet in addition to the a la carte options. According to restaurateur Ashok Bajaj, whose Knightsbridge Restaurant Group also owns 701 Restaurant and NoPa Kitchen + Bar, among many others, diners can still expect to taste Conte's point of view even though the menu direction has changed. 

“Guests will enjoy an inventive menu that Tony has been working on for the last six months," says Bajaj. "The cooking technique is the same, but his dishes will be simpler and lighter.”

Click through the slideshow below to see the new digs and a few of the new dishes.

800 Connecticut Ave. NW; 202-463-8700

  • Photo by: Greg Powers

    Bajaj brought in Martin Vahtra of Projects Design Associates of New York, who has been nominated for a James Beard Award for restaurant design, to give the restaurant a makeover. The refreshes include new artwork, such as a piece by American artist Jennifer Bartlett, as well as updated lighting, colors and fabrics.

  • Photo by: Greg Powers

    This is the new bar area, where Vahtra used marble and mahogany to create drama and give it an overall sleeker feel. 

  • Photo by: Greg Powers

    Among the lighter dishes on the menu is this Rhode Island fluke dressed with coconut, lime, togarashi (a Japanese seasoning blend) and breakfast radish. 

  • Photo by: Greg Powers

    There's also a bowl of citrus-roasted beets with kefir lime, wasabi and blackberry vinaigrette. 

  • Photo by: Greg Powers

    Even a plate of marinated duck seems light and summery when plated with hazelnut crumbs, carrots and turnips. 

  • Photo by: Greg Powers

    To finish, we're looking forward to trying the ginger-chocolate ganache with curry-orange ice cream and an orange tuile. 


Places Mentioned

The Oval Room

American • White House/World Bank

Food26 Decor23 Service25 Cost$69

Indian • Penn Quarter/Chinatown

Food28 Decor25 Service25 Cost$52
701 Restaurant

Continental • Penn Quarter/Chinatown

Food25 Decor24 Service25 Cost$53
NoPa Kitchen + Bar

American • Penn Quarter/Chinatown

Food19 Decor21 Service20 Cost$45
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