Our ‘hood is getting more bagels. In the Atlas District, Bullfrog Bagels has expanded into the former Star & Shamrock space, creating Bar Bullfrog. The full-service restaurant offers much more than the usual breakfast bagels, while adding matzo ball soup, smoked salmon, braised brisket, fried calamari, pasta dishes, and pan-roasted trout. Plus cocktails, beer and wine.
Customers may queue up to order at the counter, or relax in the adjacent bar/dining area. Seated in the latter, we ordered a horseradish-laced bloody Mary and mini bagel dogs—a Jewish take on pigs-in-a-blanket. The quartet comes in a cast-iron like vessel, paired with spicy mustard. The dogs are tricky to eat. I tried to slice one and the little wiener catapulted out of its bagel jacket and plopped on the floor. No problem, our helpful server, Jim, replaced the errant projectile.
Whitefish salad—concocted in-house from Vancouver-caught fish–is the best we’ve tasted south of New York’s Zabar’s. Matzo ball soup is savory broth replete with feather light matzo balls and crunchy vegetables. Bagels are baked in-house. Located at 1341 H St. NE, Bar Bullfrog is closed Monday. Call 202-388-3833. Another Bullfrog Bagels is located at 317 Seventh St. SE, near Eastern Market.
Hoagies have returned to District Wharf. Grazie Grazie has opened at 85 District Square SW, where Taylor Gourmet used to be. The Italian-themed newcomer is the work of Taylor Gourmet former proprietor Casey Patten. In his solo venture, the menu is similar to fare enjoyed at the departed Taylor: Hoagies including the “Pattison,” stacked with provolone, broccoli rabe and olive oil. The “Ben Franklin” comes with chicken, provolone, marinara and fresh basil. There are also Philly cheese steaks, pasta salads, risotto balls, mozzarella cubes and roasted tomato hummus. Call 202-216-2999 or visit www.graziegrazie.com.
Due to arrive this fall near Union Station is Café Fili, an offshoot of a Baltimore restaurant. The spinoff will showcase a Mediterranean menu with salads, Moroccan chicken paninis, meze and more. Lebanese-born restaurateur Ziad Maalouf told Eater DC that Café Fili is essentially a rebranded version of Tenleytown’s Café Olé, which closed in January after a 20-year run. Among resurrected Café Ole favorites: grilled chicken Pomodoro panini, Moroccan cassoulet and Lebanese feta spread. Maalouf expects to open Washington’s Cafe Fili on the ground floor of the Station House Apartments at Second and G Streets NE.
Having enjoyed a delightful lunch at Shaw’s La Jambe this spring, we visited the bistro’s spinoff in Union Market. Created last December by French/Corsican Anastasia Mori, the second La Jambe has a similar, but smaller, menu. House-made chicken liver mousse, pork rillettes, pickled vegetables, and a listing of “plateaux,” various charcuteries with prosciutto, salami, cheeses, spicy mustard and a dab of honey. Served on a small chopping board, the repast is accompanied by freshly baked bread. Roasted tomato basil soup is crowned with more crusty bread, this time topped with cheese melted with a hand-held gas-fired torch. A glass of Rose de Provence complemented our lunch. You’ll find seating at the bar or at communal picnic tables in front of Union Market. Located at 1309 Fifth St. NE, the Market is closed Monday.
BBQ and Baseball
Peter and I enjoyed a pleasant meal at Willie’s Brew & Que in the Navy Yard near Nationals Park. Willie’s slow-smokes its own pork, chicken wings and turkey breast on the patio, where we were seated for lunch. You can taste the smoky goodness in the meats.
While checking out sports action on umpteen TV screens inside, guests might begin with savory pretzel bites, or wonderfully gooey nachos or assorted sliders, cheesesteak, pulled pork sandwich (with coleslaw). My smoked turkey Cobb was replete with strips of moist turkey breast, velvety avocado slices, corn and black beans. The kitchen should have omitted pale, vapid tomato chunks and added more bacon, which was buried beneath the greens. Our generous salad was napped with a tangy champagne vinaigrette.
Located at 300 Tingey St. SE, Willie’s is open daily for lunch and dinner (til late). Call 202-651-6375 or visit www.williesbrewnque.com.
On the way to a Nats game, we stopped for lunch at Rasa, the fast-casual Indian eatery at 1247 First St. SE. It’s wedged into the row of restaurants near the stadium. You can’t miss the hanging wicker chairs dangling in the front window. Walls are festooned with colorful paintings and artifacts.
Here’s the deal: Take a bowl and build your base — basmati rice, super grains, Romaine lettuce, etc., Then a protein (lamb meatballs, chicken tikka, shrimp, tofu, etc.), veggies (spinach, chickpeas, charred eggplant, green beans), sauce (tomato garlic, coconut ginger, peanut sesame), and finally, a topping like cucumber cubes, mango/pineapple chutney, sunflower seeds. Wine on tap is quaffable; there’s also beer, Anxo cider, cocktails, herbal tea, and richly delicious mango lassi. Pay, then carry your meal to a table or do carryout to take to the game. You can opt for “real” utensils for dining-in, rather than plastic. Rasa is open daily for lunch and dinner, closing at 9 p.m.
Here’s something yummy: roasted shallot truffle olive oil from Dimitri Olive Oils You’ll find it most Saturdays at Eastern Market’s farmers line. Priced at $28 for a 12.8-ounce bottle, it’s not cheap, but a little goes a long way. Pour into a saucer for dunking bread, or drizzle on pasta, grilled meats or salad greens. The stand also sells other Greek olive oils, vinegars, olives and salad dressings. Call 443-834-0707 or visit www.dimitriolivefarms.com.
Port City Java, the popular coffee hangout at 701 North Carolina Ave. SE, has closed. Later this summer, it will be reborn as 7th Street Hill Café, under new management and an expanded menu.
In Navy Yard’s Tingey Plaza, more than 30 vendors hawk their wares at our city’s first Smorgasburg. (Others are in New York and Los Angeles.) Until October, Navy Yard will host the market Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is free. Among victuals are pizza, injera wraps, falafel, crab cakes and ice cream. The sprawling enterprise is the brainchild of Sophia Florendo-Stevens, formerly a general manager of Beuchert’s Saloon.