Dining Notes

Agua 301's pinata display took top honors for Best Booth Setup at the Night at the Yards culinary competition. Photo: Celeste McCall

From the Bayou

Bayou Bakery Coffee Bar & Eatery at Hill Center is in the news this month. On Veterans Day, Nov. 11 (all day), the neighborhood favorite will offer a 15 percent discount to all veterans and active military. Congrats to Bayou for being chosen for an Excellence in Historic Resources Design Award by the DC Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. Adaptive reuse/restoration of the circa 1860s carriage house, which once housed ambulance horses, was designed by architect David Bell. 

Known for authentic Louisiana cooking (you gotta try the beignets, gumbo, and pralines), Bayou Bakery is the creation of New Orleans native David Guas, who also operates a sister enterprise in Arlington. Bayou Bakery at Hill Center is open daily including weekend brunch. Call 202-664-5307.

Night at the Yards

Last month, Living Classrooms, the education and job-training program for at-risk young adults, held its annual Night at the Yards fundraiser. The setting was the scenic Capitol Riverfront near Nationals Park. Among festivities was a culinary competition involving more than a dozen local restaurants, brewpubs, and food trucks. Most participants, who also dispensed their creations to guests, represented Capitol Hill, NoMa, and the nearby riverfront. Judges were Rausa Aziz (Edible DC), Laura Wainman of Washington Life, and moi. We sampled a lot of tasty vittles, and the winners were ‒ food: Ice Cream Jubilee; cocktail: Blue Jacket & Arsenal; presentation: Caddies on Cordell (Bethesda); booth setup: Agua 301. 

Jazzy Facelift

Don’t be alarmed by the construction in front of Mr. Henry’s, 601 Pennsylvania Ave. SE. The popular saloon is just getting a facelift and there’s a lot going on inside. For starters, Henry’s has unveiled a new weekend jazz menu in its cozy upstairs dining area. On Friday and Saturday, from 6 to 10 p.m.(reservations are accepted from 6 to 8 p.m.), guests may order the likes of wild mushroom risotto, grilled shrimp, Angus steak, crabcakes, lamb shanks, or croissant bread pudding. Jazz goes until 11. There’s also live music Wednesday-Saturday. More good news: Mr. Henry’s weekend a la carte breakfast-brunch has a new choice: chorizo sausage hash.

For more information call 202-546-8412 or visit www.mrhenrysdc.com.

Barracks Row Update

Barracks Row restaurants are on the move. The neighborhood welcomes Ziaafat Grill & Restaurant, which arrived last month at 1102 Eighth St. SE. Operated by Tony Khan, the bare-bones Pakistani newcomer dispenses halal fare (permitted under Islamic law). The daily buffet is laden with lentils, vegetables, meat, and naan (bread). Get there early; the buffet sells out. So far we’ve sampled chicken kebabs, spicy ground beef, veggies, and naan ‒ zesty and delicious. Virtually everything is made from scratch, we’re told. Ziaafat is open daily; carryout is available. Call 202-546-0000.

Soon Las Placitas, which lost its original space to Matchbox expansion, will reopen in its new digs at 1100 Eighth St. SE, and it looks like a Potbelly Sandwich Shop will replace Capitol Hill Tandoor Grill at 419 Eighth. Zest Bistro, 735 Eighth, has “closed until further notice.” Partners Stephen and Amanda Briggs and David Bonier still operate Agua 301, their spiffy “modern Mexican” restaurant at 301 Water St. SE.

New off Lincoln Park

Soon, if not already, Lincoln Park Kitchen & Wine Bar, just east of the park, will open in the spot formerly occupied by the Italian-themed Ninnella. The new enterprise is the creation of Gambia-born executive chef/owner Howsoon H.O. Cham, who operated the short-lived Newtown Kitchen on U Street NW. Expect the kitchen to showcase cheese/charcuterie selections, shrimp and “geechie boy” grits, mussels with lemon grass/Thai basil, beef short ribs, and pastas (a holdover from Ninnella?). Located at 106 13th St. SE, Cham’s restaurant will be open (dinner only) six days a week plus weekend brunch; closed Monday. Call 202-543-0184.

Holiday Spice

Gourmet goodies to spice up holiday dishes: Sapore Artisanal Oils & Vinegars, 660 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, now carries pumpkin seed oil. The Austrian import complements Pappardelle’s Autumn Harvest Orzo (chestnut, pumpkin, sage). For the big bird: turkey brine, a 15½ ounce jar will do an 18-pound gobbler or several smaller birds. Sapore is closed Monday (until December when it’s open seven days); call 202-544-4133.

New Cookbook

In plenty of time for the holidays, fellow Hill Rag culinary scribe and chef extraordinaire Jonathan Bardzik has come out with a new book, “Seasons to Taste,” a 326-page hardcover with more than 100 yummy recipes, photos, and cooking tips. Visit JonathanBardzik.com/the-books.

Fall Fare

On Barracks Row, 527 Eighth St. SE, Cava Grill has unveiled its fall menu. Chef Dimitri Moshovitis’ summer gazpacho has made way for fall Greek minestrone, jam-packed with carrots, celery, onion, chickpeas, and Hellenic spices. Other newcomers are black lentils with charred octopus and green harissa, oven-roasted Brussels sprouts, butternut squash, and cauliflower quinoa tabbouleh. Besides the Barracks Row spot the new menu is available at all 11 Washington-area locations. For more information, visit www.cavagrill.com.

Also showcasing an autumnal menu is Le Grenier, the Atlas District French charmer. Offerings include crepes picarde (red cabbage, poached figs, feta), sea scallops St. Jacques, mussels with andouille and cider, and blanquette de veau (veal). Le Grenier (“The Attic”) is at 502 H St. NE. For more information visit www.legrenierdc.com.

Pre-Theatre Deal

Bistro Cacao, 320 Massachusetts Ave. SE, now offers a three-course, pre-theatre menu. Tagged at $29.95, the prix-fixe repast goes from 5:00 to 6:30 daily. Call 202-546-4737.

New Address, Same Street

From the West Wing to the Avenue? John Renninger, who retired after eight years in the White House Food Service, has moved from 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW to the third block of Pennsylvania SE. As director of operations for Sunnyside Restaurant Group, Renninger will oversee the group’s three Hill restaurants: Good Stuff Eatery, We, the Pizza, and Béarnaise. Renninger is also an executive team member for domestic and international expansion. To his new job Renninger brings 20 years of culinary experience, including service in the US Navy.

Turkey Trot

Have you ever tasted fried turkey? It’s delicious, but do NOT try this at home. Instead, on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 26, bring your own turkey to Medium Rare, 515 Eighth St. SE. Between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., chef Fenton Graham will deep-fry your bird for free. Gobblers must be fresh (not frozen) and unseasoned, weighing no more than 8 to 10 pounds. Also please bring a container. While your birds sizzle in peanut oil, hang around, sip hot cider, and watch the Macy’s parade on TV. Call 202-601-7136.

At Café Berlin, 322 Massachusetts Ave. NE, Thanksgiving seatings are at 1:00, 3:30, 6:00, and 8:00 p.m. Diners may choose from a three-course prix-fixe menu, or wild game dishes. For reservations and more information call 202-543-7656.

Station 4, 1101 Fourth St. SW, is serving dinner from 1 to 11 p.m. The three-course prix-fixe menu, starting with amuse bouche, is $38 per person, not including drinks and tip. Besides turkey, options are salmon, pumpkin ravioli, and New York strip steak. Plus sides. Call 202-488-0987.

Tunnicliff’s, 222 Seventh St. SE, presents a three-course repast of turkey and the trimmings in addition to the regular menu. For details call 202-544-5680.

Muse, at the Mandarin Oriental, 1330 Maryland Ave. SW, is also offering Thanksgiving dinner. For details call 202-554-8588.

New Dim Sum

Maketto, the high-end boutique/café/restaurant at 1351 H St. NE, now serves Sunday dim sum brunch. Hours are 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. First come, first served. Call 202-838-9972 or www.maketto1351.com.

Sapore Artisanal Oils & Vinegars offers spicy gourmet treats for your Thanksgiving dinner. Photo: Celeste McCall
Fellow Hill Rag writer and chef Jonathan Bardzik presents his weekend cooking demo at Eastern Market. His new cookbook is out in time for the holidays. Photo: Pete McCall

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