On Tap Magazine: New Notable No Longer: April 2018
“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: February 9
Lowdown: The new restaurant at The St. Regis Hotel is a Mediterranean concept with French influences. The space got a quick facelift to add modern touches highlighting the historic building before debuting as Alhambra, an elegant power dining spot. The menu’s signature dishes include scallops a la plancha, rockfish served over chorizo and olive, pit-roasted chicken. In addition, the restaurant partnered with Boulangerie Christophe to offer an exclusive fig and walnut bread. The sophisticated service includes several tableside preparations, like tuna tartare. The highlight for me was the eponymous dessert: chocolate gianduja, Monte Carlo mousse and strawberry sorbet. 923 16th St. NW, DC; www.alhambradc.com
Open: February 9
Location: Fairfax City
Lowdown: Craft beer and Taiwanese small plates make for an ideal pairing at High Side, Fairfax City’s new bar. The downtown spot offers 20 craft beers on tap, ranging from tart and funky sours to malty, dark roasts. There’s also a heavy emphasis on local brews. Each Wednesday, the bar serves a mystery beer, inviting nerds and novices to sample the brew and guess what it is to win an order of pot stickers. There are also four craft cider taps and a wide selection of bottled beers to provide a little variety. The food menu features “xiaochi” such as mala pickled cucumbers, sour plum sweet potato fries, Taiwanese popcorn chicken, Malaysian chicken satay and my personal favorite, a scallion pancake with stir-fried beef. There are also a few larger plates, like garlic noodles with grilled shrimp and a deep-fried pork chop with rice. 4009 Chain Bridge Rd. Fairfax, VA; www.highsideva.com
Open: February 23
Location: The Wharf
Lowdown: The varied cuisines and cultures of Mexico are on display at Mi Vida, the new waterfront restaurant from KNEAD Hospitality + Design and Chef Roberto Santibañez of Fonda in New York City. Santibañez, a native of Mexico City, modeled Mi Vida’s menu after the culinary diversity of his city. Choose from dishes like ceviche de tiritas, tacos de carnitas, queso fundido, enchiladas suizas and braised short ribs from the hearth oven. Santibañez’s favorite aspect of Mexican cooking is the art of creating a rich sauce, so naturally, he spotlights Oaxacan mole negro, the most complex sauce in the country. The dark sauce gets its hue from blackened pepper seeds, along with dozens of other ingredients like fruits and nuts that give it a deep, sweet heat. In addition to showcasing time-honored traditions, Santibañez also plays with modern preparations that are unique but distinctly Mexican. The bar has a vast selection of tequilas and mezcals – more than 130 options – and fresh cocktails like a tequila take on a piña colada and a frozen mango and passion fruit margarita. Several of the drinks are served in whimsical glassware, like the Mez-skull that comes in a glass skull. The spacious 11,000-square-foot restaurant is anchored by a 19-foot clay depiction of the “Tree of Life,” and each of the three floors depicts different periods in Mexican history – from the colonial hacienda terrace to Mayan pyramid motifs in the upstairs ceiling. 98 District Sq. SW, DC; www.mividamexico.com
Open: February 23
Lowdown: Momo Yakitori, the weekend-only restaurant that popped up in Woodridge earlier this year, has a laser focus on one aspect of Japanese cuisine. You won’t find ramen, rice bowls or sushi. Instead, the menu almost exclusively offers yakitori, or skewered chicken prepared on a traditional charcoal grill. You can order single skewers or platters, with options ranging from chicken breast or skin to more unusual choices like duck heart or wagyu. There are also a few salads and other veggie dishes, like shishito peppers and shiitake mushrooms. To drink, opt for sake or shochu by the glass. 2214 Rhode Island Ave. NE, DC; www.momoyakitori.com“
Featured photo by Greg Powers.