Sneak Peek: Agua 301 in Yards Park

By Rina Rapuano  |  December 20, 2013
Credit: Fredde Lieberman

Agua 301 - the latest big buzz down on the DC waterfront - opens in the Capitol Riverfront neighborhood Saturday. The modern Mexican menu created by chef Antonio Burrell includes bocaditos (“little bites”), entrees and tacos.

An extensive margarita menu, which includes a cucumber version on the rocks as well as frozen peach and traditional margaritas, will likely sell like hot cakes once the 44-seat patio opens up. The restaurant will start with dinner service this weekend; lunch will be added December 28, and brunch begins New Year’s Day and then the weekend after.

We were able to tour the 4,000-square-foot space and learn a few things about where the design inspiration came from. Here’s a preview of this second restaurant by Zest American Bistro owners Amanda and Stephen Briggs, including some sneak peeks of some of the chef’s favorite dishes.

Hours will be 11 AM-3 PM weekdays; 3:30-10 PM Sunday through Thursday; 3:30-11 PM Friday and Saturday; 10:30 AM-3 PM for brunch on Saturdays and Sundays. Happy hour will run from 3:30-7 PM daily.

301 Water St. SE; 202-484-0301

  • Credit: Jeff Aitken

    This is what diners see when they walk into the front door. Long red banquettes guide the eye toward the back of the restaurant, where a gem of a room can be closed off for private parties. 

  • Credit: Fredde Lieberman

    The design firm GrizForm Design Architects, the team that also created spaces for such restaurants as Doi Moi and Farmers Fishers Bakers, chose colors like this pinkish clay hue to mimic a desert palette. 

  • Credit: Paul Burke

    The brown wooden panels in the dining room and bar were custom-milled and inspired by an ancient city in Mexico. 

  • Credit: Paul Burke

    The wooden trellis lining the tops of the expansive windows - with water views - not only serves as a sun shade but also evokes the form of an Aztec pyramid. 

  • Credit: Fredde Lieberman

    Beef barbacoa flautas are chef Antonio Burrell's play on a Philly cheesesteak. The rolls are filled with shredded, braised beef, caramelized onions, roasted poblanos, shiitake mushrooms - all served with a side of queso fundido for dipping.

  • Credit: Fredde Lieberman

    The hefty bistec al parilla is 10 ounces of top sirloin served with caramelized onion, tomato salsita, street-corn casserole, yucca fries and chimichurri.

  • Credit: Fredde Lieberman

    The carnitas sopes - a crispy base topped with black-bean puree, pickled red onion, avocado, pineapple chutney and shredded pork - were the hit of the opening party.

  • Credit: Fredde Lieberman

    Pork-belly al pastor is a dressed-up version of the original featuring a pineapple-habanero chutney, achiote sauce, pozole verde and black beans.