Young and Hungry

A Breakdown of GCDC’s Chilled Cheeses

GCDC’s cheese sandwiches are no longer limited to the grilled kind. The Pennsylvania Avenue NW spot, just a block from the White House, recently debuted fromage ice cream sandwiches. Or, as I’d like to call them, “chilled cheeses.” Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your tastes), the treats don’t incorporate anything so exotic as a stinky Stilton or Époisses in frozen form. GCDC instead uses a cream cheese base for flavors like chocolate and coffee, strawberry, and caramel apple. The summer treats are available for $7 each from 4 to 9 p.m. every day throughout the season.



Photos by Darrow Montgomery

No Photos Allowed at D.C.’s Newest “Speakeasy”


And you thought the “speakeasy” trend was on its way out? Not quite. This week, chef Spike Mendelsohn of Good Stuff Eatery and Bearnaise and Vinoda Basnayake of Kabin opened The Sheppard, the latest glamorized interpretation of a Prohibition-era drinking den. The Dupont spot gets its name from Senator Morris Sheppardwho authored The Sheppard Bone-Dry Act of 1917 that banned booze in D.C.

Fortunately, there's no secret phone number or password to get in the door. But like many a modern day watering hole appropriating the word "speakeasy," this one has rules. Well, really just one rule: no photos.

"It's a very small place, and I know some of the guests who are coming would like to have some privacy," Mendelsohn says. "And we just figured having no photography would be great. It's a really dark-lit place. We don't want a bunch of flashes going off."

Plus, Mendelsohn says, the selfies are getting out of hand. "We really want you to enjoy your cocktail, enjoy your time. Don't be on your phone. You have the rest of your life to be on your phone," he says. "That selfie's really not going to turn out anyway because it's too dark."

While you won't necessarily get kicked out for ignoring the rules, Mendelsohn says you may get a friendly warning from the staff. People who need to make phone calls are asked to do so in the downstairs lobby. Texting and "Googling," Mendelsohn says, are OK.  Read more No Photos Allowed at D.C.’s Newest “Speakeasy”

DC Brau Snags Gold Medals at International Beer Competition

20111221_dcbrau_257x386With so many competitions to keep track of last weekend—the World Cup, Wimbledon, Tour de France—there's one you may have missed. Winners of the U.S. Open Beer Championship were announced, and local brewery DC Brau won two gold medals.

The Public, DC Brau's assertively hopped American pale ale, dominated out of more than 100 submissions in the pale ale category. Meanwhile, The Citizen took top honors among Belgian pale ales, which had about 30 entries. This year was DC Brau's first time submitting beers to the competition.

Beers were judged in 81 categories by "blind" tasters over several days in Atlanta, and awards were given to the top three rated beers in each category.

Wormtown Brewing in Worcester, Ma., where founding Bluejacket brewer Megan Parisi now works, was named Grand National Champion with three gold and one silver medal. Other top performing breweries include California's Stone Brewing and Oregon's Deschutes Brewery.

The contest included more than 3,000 entries by 300 breweries from all over the world. That may sound like a drop in the pint glass compared to larger competitions like the World Beer Cup, which had nearly 1,500 breweries participate this year. But winning a medal in the U.S. Beer Championship can be just as competitive, especially in a category as popular as pale ales.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

Chaplin Cocktail Bar Introduces Boozy Dumpling Shooters


You've probably had an oyster shooter. Now, behold the dumpling shooter. You heard right: a dumpling sinking in alcohol, meant to be simultaneously drank and eaten. It's one of several booze-soaked food items that require an ID at Chaplin Cocktail Bar, which opened last night.

The shooter pictured above is the sole cold offering: a steamed shrimp dumpling semi-floating in a Pimm's Cup with a dash of bitters. There's also a warm twist on a whiskey sour with Japanese whiskey, a lemon emulsion, and a hot pork dumpling. Lastly, a hot beef dumpling is combined with Japanese whiskey, cherry brandy, and orange peel. Each of these creations is $9.

Perhaps this is just what happens when bartenders run a restaurant. The place, which is inspired by actor and comedian Charlie Chaplin, is owned by mixologist brothers Ari and Micah Wilder, along with Armin Amin and Adrian Williams. (The Wilders are also partners in Red Light, where you have to be 21 to order some of the boozy desserts.) Manning the kitchen of Chaplin Cocktail bar is Jeremy Cooke, whose resume includes Siroc, Elisir, and a brief stint at Toki Underground.

"I'm going against the conventions of normal cooking," Cooke admits, "because normally we cook the booze out."  Read more Chaplin Cocktail Bar Introduces Boozy Dumpling Shooters

Bangkok Golden Owner to Open Laotian Restaurant in Columbia Heights

Screen Shot 2014-07-10 at 9.16.43 AMBangkok Golden chef and owner Seng Luangrath will open Thip Khao, a sister spot to her Falls Church Laotian restaurant, in Columbia Heights this September. Luangrath doesn't want to reveal the exact address yet because another restaurant is still operating there.

"We do have a lot of customers actually coming from D.C.," Luangrath says. "When I started serving Lao food, I realized how people in D.C. are accepting it and like it. So I wanted to be doing more than Bangkok Golden."

Thip Khao translates to "sticky rice serving basket," a staple on any Laotian table. Unlike Bangkok Golden, which features both Thai and Laotian cuisine, Thip Khao will focus more on food from Luangrath's native country of Laos. The traditional family-style menu will have about 30 items, including a variety of larb (minced meat salad) and grilled items, plus some rotating specials. Fans of Bangkok Golden's crispy rice salad (one of City Paper's 50 must-try dishes) will be happy to know it will also be served at the District locale. Luangrath is also interested in launching a brunch.

Read more Bangkok Golden Owner to Open Laotian Restaurant in Columbia Heights

Last Night’s Leftovers: Adams Morgan Moratorium Edition


Adams Morgan liquor license moratorium lifted for restaurants. [City Desk]

Cashion's Eat Place goes more casual with revamped menu. [Washingtonian]

Where to eat raw meat [Eater]

James Beard Celebrity Chef Dinner coming to The Source. [Zagat]

Where to celebrate Bastille Day [Thrillist]

Fast casual Greek spot GRK opens in Dupont July 18. [Post]

Listrani's to be replace by 7th Hill Pizza in the Palisades. [PoPville]

Photo by  Afagen via Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

What’s in a Name? For Restaurants, Everything.


It could have been called Scotch and Sofa. Or worse: Couch. Those were some of the names that The Fainting Goat owners Greg Algie and Henry Bruce spitballed for their U Street NW restaurant before it opened last winter. The building, after all, once belonged to a home furnishings shop. “In his head, he was just running through a furniture store and started naming things off,” Algie says of his business partner.

Brainstorming with friends over beers during a night of barhopping on 14th Street NW, the group started swapping stories that might evoke better, less upholstery-related ideas. Algie shared how when he was younger, his buddies would tease him for the way he froze up talking to girls in bars by calling him a “fainting goat,” a reference to a breed of myotonic goats that stiffen up and fall over when they’re frightened or panicked.

“Everybody was laughing. It was just funny. And it just clicked with people,” Algie says. “So they were like, ‘That’s it. That’s got to be the name.’”

Restaurateurs often say (though it’s unclear exactly how serious they are) that choosing a name can be one of the hardest parts of opening a new place. The process is fraught with angsty questions: Will there be a trademark conflict? Is the Twitter handle available? Can people pronounce it? And most importantly: Does it capture who we are? Perhaps the pool of options is running dry, because some monikers—Rural Society, Kangaroo Boxing Club, Roofers Union—only seem to be getting wackier and more obscure. Restaurant names are starting to occupy the same lexicographical place once reserved for ridiculous indie band names—or parodies of them. Read more What’s in a Name? For Restaurants, Everything.

Al Crostino Reopens in Shaw Tomorrow With a Discount

alcrostinoAl Crostino will open in its new Shaw digs tomorrow, and guests will receive 30 percent off their checks through Sunday.

The Italian restaurant, which relocated from U Street NW, will be pretty similar to its previous incarnation. Owners and daughter-mother team Lina and Juliana Nicolai will serve up plenty of pastas plus some new fried items like calamari. The first floor will be a casual wine bar, while the upstairs will host the main dining room.

Reservations can be made by calling (202) 797-0523. The restaurant should have an OpenTable page next week.

Al Crostino, 1926 9th St. NW;

Photo via Al Crostino

Rosslyn Getting a Wine Bar and Fast Casual Pizza Place

sipIs Rosslyn on the verge of having a dining scene? That's the question Y&H pondered in a March column after the madhouse opening of middling Heavy Seas Alehouse. Well, Rosslyn is no 14th Street NW yet, but it does have two new spots on the way: Sip Wine Tasting & Tapas Restaurant and SpinFire. Both will open in the Monday Properties building at 1501 Wilson Blvd., where Heavy Seas is also located.

Sip Wine Tasting, which is expanding from Georgia, will offer more than 80 different wines available by the sip, half-glass, full-glass, or bottle. Many of the wines will be poured from self-serve wine machines. The vino will be accompanied by a tapas-style menu from chef Greg DeMichiel, who was on the Food Network show Cutthroat Kitchen. The Georgia menus include dishes like burrata in a jar, short rib mac and cheese, and sous vide chicken kebabs. Every dish will have a suggested wine pairing. The restaurant is slated to open in December.  Read more Rosslyn Getting a Wine Bar and Fast Casual Pizza Place

Yes, Another South American Steakhouse: Rural Society Opens


Argentine steakhouse Rural Society only opened in Thomas Circle’s Loews Madison Hotel last week, but already the staff is talking a big game. “We’re going to win the Best Restaurant of the Year from the RAMMYS next year,” General Manager Robert Esplen told me on opening day.

Bold words for the third South American–inspired steakhouse to open within a mile radius in the past year and a half (Del Campo and Toro Toro being the others). This one comes from Philadelphia-based celebrity chef Jose Garces, who is making his D.C. debut.

“Jose is a world-renowned chef, James Beard award winner, Iron Chef. The food is phenomenal. The service, I think that we’ve done such a great job in training our servers and also wine knowledge… It’s a different league," Esplen says when asked about the local competition. Game on.

One thing that makes this steakhouse a little different menu-wise? Pastas and flatbreads. Esplen explains that Buenos Aires has a lot of Italian influence due to a wave of immigrants in the 19th century. One popular Italian-inspired Argentine dish that will be represented on the menu is sorrentino, a ham and cheese ravioli. The exhibition kitchen also features a wood-fired grill similar to the one at The Red Hen. Steaks are pre-sliced and served family style. “Everything is meant to be shared,” Esplen says. There's also a variety of sausages, seafood, and vegetables cooked by flame. (Check out the full dinner menu below.)

The restaurant is open for dinner to start but will expand to breakfast and lunch on July 17. Breakfast will include traditional Argentine breakfast with mate and pastries as well as more typical American breakfast offerings. (It is in a hotel, after all.) Read more Yes, Another South American Steakhouse: Rural Society Opens