To keep tabs on every DC restaurant and bar opening is crap. But to keep tabs on the most worthy? Two days worked, and we’re proud of it. And so we present Table Stakes, a monthly summary of the five (or so) must-know sites that have swing their doors widely in the past 30 (or so) days. Let’s eat.
Summer has come for new restaurants. This month, Washington not only welcomed a casual Italian venue in the heart of downtown, a flexible new mainstay and a Greek-influenced wine bar from a Michelin-starred chef, but it also borrowed some concepts from New York City. The city is now home to both the first outpost of the taco bus-turned-takeria that swept New York in 2010 and a French-influenced bakery and café with one of Oprah’s favorite cookies on the dessert menu.
You are here because… You’ve already been a fan of the diverse Mexican cuisine that Tacombi has been offering along the East Coast of the United States since upgrading from a taco bus in Yucatán to Taqueria in New York City in 2010. So you’re excited to find the new location has arrived in Bethesda. The Takeria, Maryland location offers guests a front-row view of the kitchen, where one can sip a cocktail and watch the taco masters make tacos to order. With views of the Capital Crescent Trail, it truly is the perfect place to spend summer evenings.
You are dining in… An array of options including the popular corn steak and baja fish taco, as well as an array of quesadillas and burritas, all made with the freshest tortillas from Tacombe. Vegetarians can dig into the burrita vegana with sweet potatoes, kale, and poblano peppers, while carnivores will love the Mexico City-style pork-stuffed quesadilla gringa. Wash it all down with margaritas or micheladas, or if you’re looking for a non-zero-resistant tipple, opt for homemade agua fresca.
4749 Bethesda Ave
You are here because… Maybe you’ve been to the New York favorites of this French-influenced bakery and café, or maybe you’re just hoping to surprise your lady with a place she can channel what’s inside. Emily in Paris without actually moving to France. Either way, Maman’s new Bethesda Row location is the perfect spot for salads, sandwiches, and pastries this summer. The newer location has the same vintage floral aesthetic as the original, plus an outside patio where you can soak up the sun and imagine being on the French Riviera.
You are dining in… A unique blend of Marseille-meets-Madison Avenue, with options including quiches, truffle croque monsieur, and tuna pan bagnat. Croissants are piled high with ham and Comte cheese, and for dessert, the chocolate-clad brownie is a must—and not just because it was featured on Oprah’s favorite things in 2017. Be sure to save space exclusively for Bethesda Crogel: a bread and croissant mixture topped with smoked salmon Cream cheese, dill and pickled onions.
7140 Bethesda Ln.
You are here because… You’re looking for a friendly place to eat Italian comfort food, and Il Piatto, which replaced the French-influenced Mirabelle, is the new table to try. Sophisticated yet friendly, it’s the perfect spot for a first date that will impress without breaking the bank.
You are dining in… Starters like crunchy zucchini blossoms, arancini or homemade meatballs, followed by mains like fettuccine alla bolognese or eggplant parm. On the lighter side, salmon is served with fresh greens and potatoes, or arugula and Parmesan salad can be topped with your choice of protein. Pair it all with a bottle of Italian or an aperitif, and don’t miss the weekday happy hour, slashing prices on small shared plates like fried calamari or chicken parm crostini from 4-6 p.m. At lunch, gather the crowd and double down on the masonry sprinkler set your own.
900 16The tenth NW . Street
You are here because… I was looking for a flexible new mainstay, and I found it at this West Coast seafood and veggie-inspired restaurant and bar. With a simple opening on June 10 that will soon pave the way for a full menu closer to the end of the month, this new venue, which has taken two years to set up, is already attracting locals with its relaxed atmosphere, low-intrusive wines and a 125-seat patio in the shade of the crape myrtle.
You are dining in… Local fare focused on ingredients, largely inspired by chef/owner Nathan Beauchamp dining in Northern California stalwarts early in his career. Local oysters are paired with a small dollop of pink champagne. Panzanella summer squash is enriched with creamy strawberry. Small dishes to share might include spiced braised octopus with green and orange onions or mackerel with XO eggplant; The most important appetizers include Amish chicken with senchuck and foie gras or lamb two ways with sumac and honey. The cocktail menu features high and low offerings from Ian Fletcher, and a casual booth area serving coffee, pastries, and nitro iced tea from Lancaster’s Passenger Coffee. Expect brunch to join the menu later this summer.
3033 Wilson Boulevard
You are here because… Whether he embraces his Italian heritage on one side or Greek on the other, Chef Nick Stefanelli seems to be doing no wrong. After Masseria, Officina and Philotimo, the chef has now opened his own Kaimaki, a wine and cocktail bar across the breeze road from his Greek sister to fine dining. Named for layering tiny bubbles over Greek coffee, this light-filled space boasts a lively atmosphere and a delicious menu of cocktails, drinks and small bites to share.
You are dining in… Greek high street food that ranges from classic dolmades and gyros to fried lucomas with taramasalata and caviar. Don’t miss out on the Greek fries made with kinbec potatoes and seasoned with oregano. Pair your choices with Greek wine or original craft cocktails like the Red Dragon made with gin, the habanero bush with cucumber and pomegranate or the Medicane with Kleos Mastiha, Jamaican rum, fasciola, lime and bubbles.
1100 15The tenth NW . Street
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