On Tap: New Notable No Longer: December 2017
“On Tap keeps locals in the know about the hottest new food and drink spots around town, the top culinary news of the month and recent closings. Read on to get the inside scoop on what’s new, notable and no longer in the DC area.
Open: October 23
Location: The Wharf
Lowdown: Fabio and Maria Trabocchi have expanded their Italian restaurant empire to include coastal Spanish fare at Del Mar at The Wharf. The luxurious waterfront restaurant is dedicated to Maria, who has roots in Spain, and showcases the Trabocchi family’s culinary traditions from their home on the island of Mallorca. To kick off a meal, the raw bar produces stunning seafood towers, with shellfish and seafood nestled among the tentacles of a silver octopus platter. Of course, you’ll have to order a plate of the famed jamón Iberico accompanied by crispy pan de cristal, which is one of my favorite culinary combinations. Paella is a focus, and large pans of bomba rice are brought to the table adorned with jewels like Maine lobster or Mallorcan sobrasada. The entrées range from poached Spanish branzino to grilled Iberico pork with langousine tail. There’s also a selection of whole fish and family-style dishes to share. The cocktail program puts an emphasis on gin and tonics, while the wine list features bottles from the major wine regions of Spain. Del Mar: 791 Wharf St. SW, DC; www.delmardc.com
Kith and Kin
Open: October 19
Location: The Wharf
Lowdown: Chef Kwame Onwuachi is DC’s very own comeback kid. After swallowing a bitter pill with the closure of Shaw Bijou, Onwuachi has returned with a new outlook and a fresh view — of the Potomac River — from his Afro-Caribbean restaurant inside the InterContinental at The Wharf. At Kith and Kin, Onwuachi is just doing what he loves: sharing his heritage by cooking authentic food. Standout dishes have already emerged, with diners raving about the goat roti and the Brussels suya, which had me ready to order seconds or even thirds. Other highlights include the stewed oxtail, the crispy chicken wings and the intriguing seafood plateau. Many of the dishes are infused with family stories, like the peel-and-eat shrimp made with his mother’s spice blend. At the bar, lead bartender Zachary Hoffman riffs on rum with Caribbean recipes, while also incorporating spice blends and ingredients from the region to put a unique spin on classic cocktails. The surroundings are beyond elegant, with custom art pieces such as a wall of boat propellers and a large geometric mural showcasing quotes from chefs who Onwuachi admires. Kith and Kin: 801 Wharf St. SW, DC; www.kithandkindc.com
Open: November 6
Location: Foggy Bottom
Lowdown: After a series of successful pop-ups around the city, this roving dumpling shop has found a permanent home in a stall at the Shops at 2000 Penn. Patrick Coyne, a former consultant and venture capitalist, learned the art of dumpling-making while he was teaching English in China, and wanted to continue the tradition once he moved back to the States. His concept focuses on classic Chinese flavors and ingredients with a modern spin. The shop will offer two dumplings at a time, with filling options like pork cilantro, ginger chicken, Xinjiang lamb and a mixture of bok choy, shiitake mushrooms and scallions called Livin’ on the Vedge. The dumplings can be dipped in two sauces: So So Sesame and Fiery Godmother, which I could splash on pretty much anything. On the side, try the cuke salad in a Chinese vinaigrette. There are a few seats in the stall where you can enjoy your dumplings while admiring the bright décor and vibrant greenery. Laoban Dumplings: 2000 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, DC; www.laobandumplings.com
Open: November 7
Location: Logan Circle
Lowdown: While DC has had some exposure to Georgian fare – think khachapuri and kebabs – it had yet to see a restaurant dedicated solely to the culinary and cultural traditions of the country. Enter Supra, a Georgian restaurant from husband-and-wife team Jonathan and Laura Nelms. Though neither has roots in the Caucasus, Jonathan has a long-held fascination with Georgia that began when he made friends with a Georgian exchange student in high school. That led to a stint living in Moscow and a career focusing on anti-corruption law in the region. Now, Jonathan’s knowledge of Georgian wine, food and heritage is on display at Supra, along with the culinary talent of executive chef Malkhaz Maisashvili, who worked at a number of acclaimed restaurants in Georgia before coming to the U.S. to cook at the Embassy of Georgia. Since the name of the restaurant means celebratory feast, the menu is presented like a traditional supra, starting with cold and hot small plates meant for sharing, moving on to a variety of stuffed breads (khachapuri), and starring plenty of kebabs and whole fish and chicken dishes to serve a crowd. Guests can also experience khinkali: Georgian soup dumplings. The restaurant’s selection of Georgian wine leans heavily toward those made in a qvevri, an ancient winemaking, aging and storing vessel. To educate drinkers, there’s map of the country’s wine regions on display in the bar. Other design elements include a collage made of Georgian newspapers depicting an iconic portrait of horsemen and a wall of shepherd hats called papakhi, which I need in my winter wardrobe. Supra: 1205 11th St. NW, DC; www.supradc.com“
Featured photo by Greg Powers.