Coming Attractions


If you’ve ever left one of the Eat Good Food Group’s Alexandria restaurants wishing you could replicate what you just ate at home, consider yourself one step closer.  Tomorrow at 6 PM, Society Fair opens its doors to the public, offering many of the ingredients used at Restaurant Eve, the Majestic, Eamonn’s, PX and Virtue Feed & Grain.  Get ready to raid Chef Cathal Armstrong’s pantries.

We had an opportunity to take a look around as Rob Shinn and his team were getting ready for this week’s opening, and we were like kids in a candy store as we moved from butcher’s counter to coffee station to bakery racks.  Goods we’d only read about before (being unable to find them at local grocers) were all around us.  Where’s Julie Andrews to sing about “favorite things” when you need her?

Lots of pictures and your plan of attack after the jump. (more…)

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If you’re like us, right about now you’re torn between your good intentions to eat better (more whole foods, less processed junk) and a craving for big flavors.  Starting at 11 AM this morning, it will become just a little bit easier to find that balance in Clarendon.  Lime Fresh Mexican Grill, a burritos-and-fajitas restaurant that originated in Miami, opens for business today.

On the surface, Lime may seem like another quick-service Mexican restaurant – Baja Fresh, Chipotle – but we stopped in to take a look around, and what we found surprised us.  Lime is much closer to a fast-casual sit-down restaurant, as evidenced by their focus on service (and their adult beverage menu).  They’re planning to offer speedy lunch options for office-workers on the go as well as a more relaxed sit-down experience for those who prefer to savor their meals.

We walked in on Lime during service training, and they were kind enough to give their cooks an impromptu test run as well so we could see a few of their more popular dishes as they’ll be served.  Check them out after the jump along with some photos of the inviting decor and the amenities that Lime is most proud of. (more…)

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Neighborhood and community.

Since July of 1997, Evening Star Cafe has been an integral part of both for the residents of Del Ray.  It has been the site of first dates, proposals and countless other milestones in their lives.  So you can understand the level of interest caused by the restaurant’s recent remodel, and the pressure on the Neighborhood Restaurant Group to get it right.

The wait ends tonight at 5:30, when new chef Jim Jeffords and his team throw open the doors to welcome the neighborhood back for the first time.  Although there are plenty of changes to ooh and aah over, the regulars will be pleased to see that it’s still the same old Evening Star at heart.  And the fact that they can now make reservations throughout the evening via OpenTable will likely be a welcome addition, as well.

We stopped by yesterday for a quick look around and a chat with the staff.  Details, including some work-in-progress photos and a few new menu items to whet your appetite, after the jump. (more…)

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<<EDIT 11:30 AM, 12/1/11: An alert tipster just let us know that Memphis has decided to delay its opening until Monday.  Staff are handing out coupons for a free appetizer with the purchase of two entrees during the month of December and explaining that the restaurant just got its liquor license today.>>

Back to back barbecue openings, and it’s not even my birthday!  Consider it a practice run for Meat Week 2012.

If you smell smoke in Crystal City tomorrow, don’t be alarmed.  Memphis Barbecue opens its doors at lunchtime, and they’re going to be bringing the low-and-slow taste of that great southern barbecue city to the former site of Mackey’s Public House on 23rd Street.  We stopped in for a look around the dining room and a peek inside the kitchen.

The name that Chris George and his father, Dr. William George, gave to their restaurant is at once generic and super-specific.  On the one hand, it channels one of the five major styles of American barbecue (and one of the two major competition circuits), connecting itself to the history and the tradition that comes with it.  At the same time, that connection tells you everything you need to know about the meal you’re about to experience, conjuring up memories of smoky pork laced with spicy dry rubs and tangy-sweet sauces.

As it turns out, Crystal City’s take on Memphis does all that and quite a bit more, with a menu that only begins at hickory-smoked barbecue.

More of what’s in store after the jump. (more…)

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In September of 2009, we reached out to a couple of guys named Heath and Brett whose locally-made barbecue sauce had earned them a chance to appear on ABC’s Shark Tank.  Since then, we’ve worked with the Pork Barrel BBQ team to participate in two DC Meat Weeks, each time offering attendees a taste of what they could expect at the “soon-to-open” restaurant in Del Ray.  And they’ve been more than a little busy themselves, winning the Perdue National Chicken Championship and taking the title of Grand Champion at the Safeway National Capital Barbecue Battle in June.

But the wait ends tonight.

Pork Barrel BBQ officially opens its doors at 5 PM, and when we took a look around this weekend the restaurant gave every indication of being worth the wait.  As Heath Hall put it, “This is barbecue.  We wanted to make sure everything was just right.  You can’t rush good barbecue, no matter how much you might want to.”  With five smoked meats and more than half a dozen sides on offer, that meant a lot of testing and retesting of recipes while the restaurant space was finished to everyone’s satisfaction.

All the dirty details on the smoker, the sides and the space after the jump. (more…)

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Workday lunch.  Sandwiches and salads.  Ho-hum, right?

For our friends near Farragut Square, there’s a new option that’s likely to make you rethink that assessment.  And for everyone else…they’re Metro accessible!

Welcome BONMi, a quick-service shop offering up sandwiches, salads, and summer rolls with flavors inspired by those of traditional Vietnamese banh mi.  A trip to Vietnam convinced Lynne Jacoby and her partners that the satisfying street food could be the next big thing, and then they took it one step further.  They kept the flavors the same but upgraded their offerings to incorporate modern prep techniques and presentations to appeal to health-conscious diners.

We had a chance to take a look around BONMi late last week as they were putting the finishing touches on the interior, and then we were back there at lunchtime today to taste one of the first sandwiches to come off their cafeteria-style prep line.  What we saw (and tasted) has us hungry for more.  And if it does the same to you, we’ve got TEN FREE LUNCHES to give away to Capital Spice readers.

Join us after the jump a look at the interior and the food as well as details on how you can win one of the ten free lunches. (more…)

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If there was one common complaint about Hank’s Oyster Bar, Chef Jamie Leeds’ “urban beach food” venue, it was that there just wasn’t enough room.  Regulars and first-timers alike would often find the small space, located in a Q Street townhouse near Dupont Circle, filled to capacity (capacity being 65 or so) from happy hour to closing time.  Six years later, Hank’s is all growed up.

Yesterday evening marked the opening of Hank’s new Lounge, next door to (and incorporating) the original space.  With this welcome expansion, Hank’s has effectively doubled its indoor seating capacity.  An outdoor patio allows for another 40 diners, which means they’ll be doing a whole lot of additional shucking at the raw bar.

Fortunately, they’ve expanded that, too.  The bar that used to serve Hank’s has been stripped of its beer taps and will now serve as the raw bar.  The best part?  They’ve kept the bar seating there, giving a lucky few a ringside seat to watch the shuckers work their magic.

More on the new layout, including some nautically inspired new rooms and a look at some new food items (can you say “never-before-seen oyster variety?”) after the jump. (more…)

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Toward the end of his stint at Vidalia, Chef RJ Cooper had jumped into the world of the multi-course “experience” tasting menu with both feet.  His “24″ menu got some great coverage from Tim Carman when he was still at the Washington City Paper, and when news came that his first solo concept would be Rogue 24, a restaurant built around the tasting menu, the buzz started building almost immediately.

We’re just a day away from opening now, and those who’ve had a chance to experience dishes firsthand – either in soft opening service over the weekend or at Cooper’s pop-up test run in New York City – have been raving.  We may not have been so lucky as to try the food yet, but we did get to stop by last Friday as Cooper was putting his team through their paces on a couple of dishes.  We got to see the open kitchen in the center of the room alive with activity, and we can only imagine how much more energy there will be when all the seats are filled, too.

Of course we took some pictures, and we also took the time to chat up sommelier Matthew Carroll about the challenges of creating appropriate pairings for a 24-course tasting menu while we were there.

Photos, conversation and “olive paper” after the jump. (more…)

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For most of us, July 4th is a day to sit back and relax as we celebrate our nation’s independence.  For Jose Andres, not so much.  The outgoing head of the ThinkFoodGroup has a busy Monday lined up, what with the opening of his new America Eats Tavern and his work with the National Archives’ “What’s Cooking Uncle Sam?” exhibit. We even got an inside tip on what he’ll be doing that morning (which we’ll share after the jump).

America Eats, conceived as a complement to the exhibit, is a pop-up restaurant that has possessed the body of Cafe Atlantico on 8th Street, NW in Penn Quarter.  The restaurant features seating on three levels and a significant facelift that focuses on iconic American images and artwork.  And although the menu is not yet complete, Andres has promised a bill of fare that will serve as a history lesson on a plate, featuring historically significant American recipes along with background information on where, when and why.

We had a chance to drop by the restaurant yesterday and take a look around.  They’ll be working around the clock between now and lunchtime Monday to make sure it’s all ready to go, but what we saw was already well on its way to completion, and there are some decorations that will make you stop and smile no matter where you enter the story of America’s dietary history.

Details and photos – including an impromptu chat with Archivist of the United States David Ferriero – after the jump. (more…)

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Good news, Eastern Market!  At 11 AM tomorrow, Pitango Gelato will open its third DC location next door to the original Peregrine Espresso.  Damn – now I’m craving an affogato.

When we got word that tomorrow would be opening day, we immediately took a walk over to Eastern Market to check out the space.  We had been watching the construction with interest, but the news that they were ready still took us by surprise.  What we saw when we got there was a Pitango shop that was just about ready for business.

A few more shots of the interior after the jump. (more…)

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