Dining Notes

Photograph By
Celeste McCall

Goat cheese fondue is a popular appetizer at the Fainting Goat.

At long last, on Oct. 20, &pizza arrived, at 405 Eighth St. SE. At the sneak preview we were treated to a tasting of signature oblong pizzas displayed on communal tables. For the striking decor &pizza has partnered with local artist Matt Corredo for a black-and-white mural with “dazzle camouflage,” geometric shapes used on World War I ships to fool the enemy. In the gleaming display kitchen energetic employees tossed together myriad pizza ingredients. Ngarlic is a montage of cheeses, onion, and lots of garlic, drizzled with a ribbon of pesto. Moonstruck has mushrooms, garlic, cheese, and fig balsamic. Maverick is heaped with salami, pepperoni, sausage, and tomato. Some combos seemed outlandish, like the Elvis, with chocolate-hazelnut peanut butter, grape jam, bacon, and banana. You can also design your own pizza with choice of crust: traditional, ancient grain, gluten-free. Housemade teas and sodas flowed (no booze); try the ginger berry lemonade.

Warning: this place is loud. Operated by co-founder/CEO Michael Lastoria, Barracks Row’s &pizza is the District’s 10th outpost, 18th overall. Open daily for lunch and dinner; call 202-866-0734or visit www.andpizza.com.

Watch This Space

Here’s an update on the Spanish restaurant poised to slide into 660 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, vacated by Sona Creamery and Wine Bar. The predecessor’s cheese-making equipment is long gone. The future occupant, Joselito, is an offshoot of Arlington-based SER (Simple, Easy, Real), operated by Spanish-born Javier Candon and his wife Christiana. We don’t have a menu yet, but diners might expect Iberian-style cold meats, gambas al ajillo (garlicky shrimp), seafood paella, and maybe roast suckling pig.

Getting Our Goat

After a walking tour of the U Street murals, we decided to dine at the Fainting Goat, which debuted in December 2013. “I’d faint too if I were about to be chopped up into kebabs,” our friend Tony quipped. According to our server, the offbeat moniker is the nickname of a co-owner who was so shy around girls that he’d almost faint.

There was nothing shy about the dark and cozy interior, with exposed brick walls reminiscent of Georgetown’s Tombs. Decor is “antique shop,” with vintage light fixtures and empty picture frames on one wall waiting to be filled with your imagination, Tony commented.

The brief, interesting menu changes regularly. Our table of three started with goat cheese fondue, the only caprine product we saw, served in a miniature cast iron skillet surrounded by grilled bread chunks and pickled veggies. Sublime, perfect for chilly fall evenings. After we demolished the fondue, Peter ordered steamed mussels with a tarragon-infused sauce, to be mopped up with more crusty bread. However, some of the mollusks tasted raw. We sent the dish back, and our server was very gracious about it. So was the kitchen, and the mussels re-emerged, this time perfectly cooked. My pasta entree was draped with a hint of crab morsels, a scattering of corn kernels, cherry tomatoes, and cremini mushrooms. The dish was rather spicy but not palate-searing. The avocado toast, steak tartare, branzino, and several vegetable dishes looked intriguing – maybe next time. Located at 1330 U St. NW, the Fainting Goat (look for the upside-down goat logo) is open daily for dinner only, with Saturday and Sunday brunch. There’s also a late night menu. Call 202-735-0344or visit www.faintinggoatdc.com.

Family Dining

Here’s a family-friendly promotion. At Lincoln Park Kitchen and Wine Bar, 106 13th St. SE (right off the park), kids eat free on Sundays from 3 to 7 p.m. The restaurant is open daily, dinner only, with an eclectic menu of cheese and charcuterie platters, flatbreads, and pastas, on Tuesday through Sunday, with Sunday brunch. Call 202-506-7013or visit www.lincolnparkdc.com.

Small Plates

As restaurant portions continue to expand, along with our waistlines, we’ve been ordering appetizers – so-called light fare or those over-hyped “small plates” – in lieu of entrees. At a presidential candidates’ debate party last month, in the party room at the 201 Bar, we took a break from the verbal fireworks on TV to seek sustenance. Ordering from the light-fare menu, we chose deep-fried calamari with a toothsome basil/lime aioli. The kitchen was out of the shrimp/feta dumplings so we settled for mini-crabcakes with homemade remoulade. We plan to return and perch at the handsome curved bar in front. As the name indicates, 201 Bar is located at 201 Massachusetts Ave. NE, around the corner from Union Pub, which is under the same management. Call 202-544-5201or visit www.201bar.com.

In the Atlas District we recently enjoyed a light (sort of) Friday lunch at Sticky Rice. From the appetizer listing we went edamame, those addictive little green soybeans, and a plate of pot stickers filled with ground chicken and pork. You can get them fried or steamed; we chose the latter. Along with Peter’s sweet-and-sour shrimp entree we had a satisfying repast. Located at 1224 H St. NE, Sticky Rice is open daily; call 202-397-7655or visit www.StickyRiceDC.com.

Autumn Leaves

A few Metro stops from the Hill (Yellow Line), Columbia Room, 124 Blagden Alley NW, has unveiled chef Johnny Spero’s fall menu, “inspired by leaves and the richness of nature.” You’ll find it in the Tasting Room, Spirits Library, and Punch Garden. “The fall menu … marks our most involved collaboration with the staff,” says head bartender JP Fetherston. “We took the idea of leaves to our bartenders and cooks and encouraged them to run with it. The result is an exceptional menu crafted by our incredible team.”

The seasonal listing will be available until the winter solstice, Dec. 21. The Tasting Room's three-course repast is $79 plus tax, and the five-course menu is $108 plus tax. Both include gratuity and can be booked through www.columbiaroomdc.com. The Spirits Library and Punch Garden have open seating, and reservations are not required. The 2,400 square-foot Columbia Room, nominated twice for a James Beard Award, is a “craft cocktail bar” conceived by spirits expert Derek Brown in 2010. For more information – including the menus –visit www.columbiaroomdc.comor call 202-316-9396.

Turkey Talk

Sapore Oil & Vinegar, 660 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, offers some tasty ideas for Thanksgiving, Nov. 24. Organic pumpkin seed oil (from Austria), a 3.38 fluid ounce bottle at $15.95, might seem steep, but a little goes a long way. Pomegranate/balsamic vinegar is $17.95 for 12.6 ounces. Both items are delicious drizzled over Pappardelle’s Southwestern pasta blend of blue corn, yellow maize, red pepper. A fun hostess gift is a Spanish cazuela, literally little pot, to hold a dipping sauce ($4.95). Sapore is closed Monday; call 202-544-4133.

Cheezy

We finally got around to visiting Righteous Cheese, the artisanal shop in Union Market. Order and pay for a grilled cheese sandwich and glass of wine, pick them up at the bar, then sit anywhere you want. I ordered a wonderfully gooey grilled Fontina with sage on sourdough bread, accompanied by tiny cornichons. The piping hot sandwich complemented my Cote du Rhone blend. Food comes on a cardboard plate, but the wine arrives in a cute little stemless glass that you can purchase, with umpteen kinds of cheeses along with cheese-making kits, cheese publications, cheeseboards (including one shaped like DC), gluten-free fettuccine, gourmet mustard, olives, and much more. Righteous is also taking orders for holiday platters and gift baskets, at the market or online. Closed on Monday, Union Market is at 1309 Fifth St. NE; call 202-716-3320or visit www.righteouscheese.com.

Michelin Hails DC

Congrats to Pineapple and Pearls and Rose’s Luxury, among the dozen DC restaurants included in the national capital’s first Michelin Guide (yeah, the people who make tires). Hunkered side by side, the two posh Barracks Row destinations are both operated by Aaron Silverman. Also making the exclusive dining list is Nick Stefanelli’s Masseria near Union Market.

Here ‘n’ There

Lola’s, 711 Eighth St. SE, has closed temporarily for renovation. And what’s going into the vacant space at 501 Eighth, now being gutted?

At Union Market, Righteous Cheese offers myriad artisanal cheeses and cheese-related items.
Lunchtime is always busy at Barracks Row's &pizza.
Oh so delicious Righteous Cheese serves grilled cheese sandwiches on sourdough bread.

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