Joining Barracks Row’s ever-expanding restaurant brigade is Rose’s Luxury, 717 Eighth St. SE. Dispensing cutting-edge cuisine, according to the Post’s Tom Sietsema, Rose’s is the creation of Aaron Silverman, who has wielded his whisk at New York’s Momofuku Noodle Bar. Aaron’s chef de cuisine is Scott Muns, formerly with Frederick’s acclaimed Volt. Rose was the name of Silverman’s late grandmother. Designed by the Georgetown firm of Hapstak-Demetriu, the stunning décor of this former, three-level office space soars with exposed pipes, brick walls and sparkling lights. Some furnishings—including a snazzy antique telephone-- were gleaned from flea markets, Silverman told us.
When we arrived on a drizzly evening, we faced a 30-minute wait for a table. So we settled on a front row center perch at the counter in front of the bustling display kitchen. Appearing promptly was a loaf of melt-in-your-mouth potato bread—straight from the oven, with creamy whipped butter and fried flakes of potato skin. Bread and other items were presented on flowery antique plates, the sort you might inherit from your grandmother. Delightfully mismatched silverware emerged from cigar boxes.
We had to try owner/chef Silverman’s touted, weird-sounding popcorn soup. Served in a jelly jar, the potage tastes like buttery popped kernels, rich but foamy, which complements the base of roasted lobster. Peter chose a quartet of Prince Edward Island oysters, zinged with citrus vinaigrette. Quoting from Washington Post columnist John Kelly, Peter declared the bivalves “taste like kissing a mermaid.” We also loved the smoked baby back ribs.
From Rose’s family-style menu, we shared brined fried chicken paired with lima beans, two pretty deviled eggs, and a dish of (unnecessary) hot sauce. Dark and light meat segments were moist, but the crust was rather salty. Rose’s is not cheap; our tab, which included two glasses of wine from the brief, interesting list, came to almost $100. But it was worth it. Service was friendly yet professional. Rose’s Luxury is open Monday-Saturday for dinner only. Call 202-580-8889 orwww.rosesluxury.com.
Rare on Barracks Row
Medium Rare, an offshoot of Cleveland Park’s steak-and-frites restaurant, is replacing Fusion Grill at 515 Eighth St. SE. While seeking an additional Medium Rare venue, owner Mark Bucher has been opening multiple locations of his BGR: The Burger Joint. He now has about a dozen sprinkled around the Washington area and elsewhere on the East Coast. Meanwhile, Fusion, which has occupied that Barracks Row spot forever, is reportedly seeking new digs.
At 415 8th Street, SE, Kraze Burgers has opened, the first of the local chain to open in DC. The burgers, we’re told, are hand-formed (never frozen), snuggled in multi-grain buns and splashed with choice of sauces. Besides beef, Kraze grills tofu, veggie, turkey and chicken burgers, and features a special Bulgogi burger with slices of marinated rib eye. For updates visit www.kraze.us.
In the Atlas District, Granville Moore’s has overhauled its kitchen and given a facelift to the upstairs bar area. “Space has always been a challenge,” says owner and executive chef Teddy Folkman. The expansion will speed up waiting times. To enlarge the 100-square-foot kitchen, designers commandeered a storage area. New equipment is coming, including a much-needed oven. The dining room comfortably seats 34. Located at 1238 H Street, NE, Granville Moore’s is open daily for dinner with lunch on Fridays starting at 11:30 a.m. Weekend brunch goes from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Granville Moore’s also caters. For more information, visit www.granvillemoores.com.
Happy at Ambar
Ambar, 523 Eighth St. SE, has happy hour Monday through Friday, from 4 to 7 p.m. Beer, wine, cocktails and small plates are just $4 per item. Cocktails include mango lemonade, margaritas and mojitos. “Balkan bites” include bacon-wrapped prunes, leek croquettes, red pepper spread, beef and pork kebabs. Call 202-813-3039 or www.ambarrestaurant.com.
If you like the zesty “Crazy Feta” cheese at Cava Mezze, 527 Eighth St. SE, you can buy it at Eastern Market. Available at Eastern Market Grocery, an 8.5 ounce container costs $10. The stand also sells Cava’s Spicy Hommus, $4 for an 8.5-ounce container. Both items are doing very well, we’re told.
Remember the TV western “Gunsmoke?” Well, later this year, look for Miss Kitty’s Saloon in the 1200 block of H St. The down-home, two-level newcomer is named after the lady friend of “Gunsmoke hero” Matt Dillon. Miss Kitty’s executive chef/partner is CIA grad Scott Webster, who cooked for Clyde’s Restaurant Group for 16 years. Stay tuned.
New at Union Market
Ris Lacoste, chef/owner of Ris, the upscale West End restaurant, is unveiling a stall at Union Market, 1309 Fifth St. NE. Around mid-November, look for Lacoste’s stocks, sauces, soups, prepared foods, baked goods, and “Ris Bowls” (stews, salads and “nutritious children’s foods.”) Assisting Lacoste in her enterprise will be Allison Cortese, Ris’ dining room manager. RIS at Union Market will operate during regular market hours, Wednesday through Sunday.
Real Mexican downtown
At first we thought MXDC, which opened this fall in Roberto Donna’s old spot next to the Hamilton, were Roman numerals (memories from high school Latin). Noooo, MXDC refers to “Mexican in Washington DC.” REAL Mexican, not Tex-Mex. On a warm October evening, Peter and I stumbled into this stylish restaurant after a stirring impromptu concert by Peter Yarrow at a Lafayette Park peace vigil.
MXDC is restaurateur Todd English’s sole Washington outpost (he also operated downtown’s long-gone Olives). As we sipped rather strong margaritas, our server brought a trio of salsas: mild, medium and hot (very!), which we scooped up with warm, yummy chips. Besides traditional guacamole, there’s Azul (chunky avocado tossed with bacon and bleu cheese). Richly delicious. In fact we filled up on that and hardly found room for our offbeat beet ceviche, octopus tacos, seafood (shrimp) quesadillas, garnished with red pickled onions and cilantro sprigs. Open six days (closed Sunday), MXDC is at 600 14th St. NW; call 202-393-1900.
We knew fall had arrived with all its bluster when Peter declared: “It’s pho weather.” Fortunately we did not have far to go for this tummy-warming Vietnamese beef-based broth; we headed straight for Anh-Dao’s Taste of Vietnam, 1123 Pennsylvania Ave. SE. If the interior of this 35-seat charmer looks familiar, it’s because it once housed part of Henry Mendoza’s now-defunct Il Capo di Capitol Hill/Mi Vecindad restaurant. The rest of the space is occupied by Frager’s resurrected paint store. (No worries, Henry’s La Plaza is still going strong up the street at 629 Pennsylvania Ave. SE.)
Anh-Dao was packed for a mid-week lunch. I chose the “special” pho laced with eye of round, flank steak and dense Asian-style meat balls, with oodles of noodles scented with lemon grass. The generous bowl was garnished with sprigs of Asian basil, jalapeno slices and a stack of bean sprouts. Even better is roasted duck soup; an entire duck leg swims in savory broth. Among non-soups, we recommend vermicelli (noodles) with spicy lemon grass chicken. Spring rolls are plumped with shrimp and accompanied by a piquant peanut sauce. Dishes taste authentic; we’ve visited Southeast Asia.
Most phos are $9.99, a dollar more after 3 p.m. Beverages include jasmine and Vietnamese-style tea, coffee, soft drinks, soy milk, no booze. There’s also carryout. Anh-Dao is open Monday-Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday andSaturday 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sunday 11-9. Call 202-546-4641.
Da Luft Restaurant & Lounge, 1242 H St. NE, serves Sunday brunch, from noon to 2 p.m. At dinner shortly after the opening, Peter enjoyed the crispy catfish nuggets, while I munched on turkey sliders. Executive Chef Ernest Todd’s other offerings include wings (buffalo, honey or Caribbean-style); shrimp hushpuppies, crockpot chili, chicken marsala, blackened salmon and much more. Besides the Sunday repast, Da Luft is open Tuesday-Thursday from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m.; Friday andSaturday until 3 a.m. Go to www.daluftdc.com.