Young and Hungry

Daniel Boulud Looks to Ingratiate Himself in D.C. in a Way Other Celebrity Chefs Haven’t


A band played as guests walked a red carpet into DBGB Kitchen and Bar’s VIP-studded opening party last weekend. Upstairs in the first restaurant in the new CityCenterDC complex, an ice sculpture of the Washington Monument towered over platters of complimentary lobster, just-shucked oysters, and shrimp. Elsewhere, guests with flutes of sparkling wine or rosemary-lemon-vodka cocktails in hand nibbled on pistachio macarons or slices of a seven-layer duck and foie gras tourte. It was the most decadent restaurant opening D.C.’s seen in recent memory.

But all that was just the backdrop for the man of the hour: Daniel Boulud. Midway through the spectacle, the famed New York–based chef and restaurateur took the mic to thank friends and blowtorch a six-foot-long baked Alaska. Invitees crowded around like paparazzi snapping photos on their phones as if Beyoncé herself was in the center of the huddle.

Even though it was a Friday evening, when most chefs would be locked down in their own restaurants, many made a point to be there: Nora Pouillon, Ris Lacoste, Mark Furstenberg, Bertrand Chemel, Carla Hall, Patrick O’Connell, and José Andrés, whom Boulud personally waited on with an enormous plate of bread and charcuterie. They will also have a permanent home in the restaurant, thanks to plates lining the walls that more than 100 chefs decorated in red and black paint. The plates, which all have placards with the chefs’ names below, feature self-portraits, animals, messages—even an actual footprint from O’Connell. They come from big names like Emeril Lagasse and Anthony Bourdain, but mostly locals like Proof’s Haidar Karoum and Range’s Bryan Voltaggio.

The over-the-top party and crowd-sourced decor were just a part of Boulud’s efforts to ingratiate himself with the local culinary community. A rash of big name out-of-town chefs and restaurateurs have opened places in D.C. in the past year or two, including most recently Osteria Morini’s Michael White, Rural Society’s Jose Garces, and Tico’s Michael Schlow—not to mention the forthcoming arrival of David Chang, who will open one of his Momofuku restaurants in CityCenterDC next year. But Boulud is unique in the extent to which he’s gone out of his way, at least in these early days, to try to make D.C., and especially its chefs, fall in love with him. Read more Daniel Boulud Looks to Ingratiate Himself in D.C. in a Way Other Celebrity Chefs Haven’t

$10,000 Bottles of Wine and VIP Entrance at Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House

Yet another steakhouse is opening in D.C. on Friday, aiming to serve the District’s most posh residents.

As the second restaurant to open in the luxe CityCenterDC (following the recent debut of Daniel Boulud's DBGB Kitchen and Bar), Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House includes houndstooth curtains, an elevator between the restaurant’s three floors, and a secret underground entrance into the lower dining room for “certain VIPs.”

Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House also has locations in cities like Boston and Las Vegas, and the restaurant group's more casual Del Frisco’s Grille already resides on Pennsylvania Ave. NW and in Rockville.

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Executive Chef Scott Kroener sits at one of the dark walnut tables.

One offering unique to the CityCenterDC location is a $160 surf-and-turf for two: a 16 oz. cold-water Australian lobster paired with a 16 oz. barrel-cut filet mignon—“an ungodly piece of meat,” says chef Scott Kroener—carved tableside.

For appetizers, the steakhouse will also serve caviar, chilled octopus with gigante beans, tomatoes, olives, capers, and lemon ($18), and wagyu beef carpaccio ($16). On- and off-the-bone filet mignon, prime ribeye, and prime strip are Del Frisco’s three most popular steaks.

Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House aims to live up to the motto “Do right, fear no man,” Kroener says. “If you do the right thing by the beef and you buy great product, cook it with care, you serve it in an immaculately clean dining room, with great hospitality, how are you going to beat that? It seems like really low-hanging fruit that would be easy for everyone to get, but it’s not.”

The 1,200-bottle wine selection, overseen by Wine Director David O’Day, features a number of unique direct imports, in addition to a section that reflects what O’Day calls a “who’s who of Napa” and a rack just for the $8,000 to $10,000 bottles. Read more $10,000 Bottles of Wine and VIP Entrance at Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House

The Walrus Oyster & Ale House Now Open in National Harbor


There’s a new place to slurp oysters and drink Old Bay-rimmed cocktails in National Harbor. The Walrus Oyster & Ale House opened last week with a seafood-heavy menu designed by Ancora and Campono chef Bob Kinkead, the restaurant’s culinary advisor.

The menu (see below) includes New England and Eastern Shore chowders (the former with clams, the latter with crab and corn) as well as a number of salads and small plates, like peel-and-eat shrimp, fried oysters, and spicy curried mussels. For something more substantial, there’s a crab cake sandwich, lobster roll, fish and chips, and seafood basket (Ipswich clams, oysters, scallops, or jumbo shrimp) with fries. The few non-seafood offerings range from a burger to beef brisket to a pork chop. Read more The Walrus Oyster & Ale House Now Open in National Harbor

Last Night’s Leftovers: Choco Taco Edition


Room 11 debuts a homemade choco taco. [Eater]

Five over-the-top grilled cheese sandwiches [Express]

Newton's Table lowers prices and goes more casual. [Bethesda Mag]

17 food trucks with great (terrible?) pun names [BuzzFeed]

24-hour Surfside aims to open near the end of September. [PoPville]

Chuy's now open in Fairfax. [Washingtonian]

Chipotle wannabes find D.C. the perfect place for have-it-your-way cuisine. [Post]

Five new fried chicken dishes to try [Zagat]

Photo via Room 11

&pizza to Open 10 New Locations, Starting With K Street NW Tomorrow

andpizza&pizza will open its sixth location at 1400 K St. NW tomorrow, kicking off a mega-expansion of the local chain.

The newest spot will be open from lunch to late-night (until 3:30 a.m. on weekends). Expect it to be pretty similar to the others, with salads and customizable pizzas baked to order in a super-fast conveyor belt oven. The decor will be almost all white—“inspired the the restaurant’s proximity to the White House,” according to a press release. There will also be a “Warhol-esque” mural of John F. Kennedy.

Next up: the chain will open three more locations in D.C. (Barracks Row, Dupont Circle, Chinatown) by early 2015. Dulles International Airport and Reagan National Airport will also get their own outposts, along with three more shops in Maryland (Rockville, Germantown, Gaithersburg) and one in Springfield, Va.

&pizza, 1400 K St. NW;

Photo courtesy &pizza

Pizza Parts & Service Will Have Marinara Dunk Tank This Weekend


Ever dreamed of bathing in marinara? Well, Pizza Parts & Service (from the Taylor Gourmet folks) plans to introduce a red sauce dunk tank in front of the restaurant at the H Street Festival on Saturday. Buy two slices, and get three throws. If you dunk someone, you get a free pie. Anyone can volunteer to be dunked—you also get a free pie for that.

Pizza Parts & Service rep Doug Rashid says they didn't want to do an eating competition ("boring and wasteful"), thus the dunk tank idea was born. While he isn't sure exactly how many gallons of marinara might be involved, he says it will likely be mixed with water. Read more Pizza Parts & Service Will Have Marinara Dunk Tank This Weekend

Last Night’s Leftovers: Washington Dishes


10 must-try dishes to call yourself a Washingtonian [Zagat]

The hot spots to eat brunch [Eater]

Four Seasons food truck will make D.C. stop on East Coast tour. [Washingtonian]

Snallygaster featured beers with strange ingredients, including weasel poop? [Post]

A $1.9 million investment in &pizza will help fund four new locations. [WBJ]

A bill to protect Yelp rants comes to Congress this week. [InTheCapital]

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

Catch Anthony Bourdain and Carla Hall at Capital Food Fight


D.C. has an increasing number of celebrity chefs, but most of the time you won’t see them in town or together. Except once a year at D.C. Central Kitchen’s annual Capital Food Fight. Tickets for the TV star-studded Nov. 11 fundraising event at the Ronald Reagan Building are now on sale.

So who exactly will attendees be stalking for selfies? The Chew’s Carla Hall is back to host alongside Parts Unknown star Anthony Bourdain. An Iron Chef-style battle with mystery ingredients will feature chefs Frederik De Pue (Menu and Table), Tim Ma (Maple Ave Restaurant and Water & Wall), Marjorie Meek-Bradley (Ripple and Roofers Union), and Javier Romero (Taberna Del Alabardero). Read more Catch Anthony Bourdain and Carla Hall at Capital Food Fight

Ceiba to Close This Month After 11 Years

passionfoodPassion Food Hospitality partners Jeff Tunks, Gus DiMillo, and David Wizenberg feel their Latin-inspired restaurant Ceiba has "run its course." The downtown establishment will close Sept. 27 after 11 years in business.

"The time has come," says DiMillo, whose restaurants include District Commons, Fuego Cocina y Tequileria, Acadiana, and others. "Everything's made to open and then eventually things end. I'm not going to wait for somebody to tell me when it's done. I always like to go out on a high note." Read more Ceiba to Close This Month After 11 Years

Last Night’s Leftovers: Somm Edition


Sommelier certification has become a point of contention. [Post]

Seven bar food snacks to try during football season [NoVa Mag]

IChing bringing Asian fusion to Shaw Sept. 26. [PoPville]

Farming is an expensive "habit" for young people. [NPR]

Olive Garden's investors are coming for your free breadsticks. [Vox]

The 13 things you need to eat in D.C. this fall [Thrillist]

David Chang says he's most excited about his D.C. restaurant. [Forbes]

Photo by Darrow Montgomery