Near Eastern Market, we’ve recently enjoyed 700 Penn’s hot new destinations: Eat Brgz (see item below) and the lively Eastern Wine Bar. But last week, we decided to revisit an old, beloved haunt, Montmartre. On a warm summer evening we settled on the outdoor patio. Our French-born server seemed to be everywhere at once, whisking water, wine and victuals to customers, including a large family gathering. He was amazing. Peter ordered a seasonal special of green tomato gazpacho, laced with feta and herbs with a touch of after-burn. Heading the night’s specials was duck breast, a favorite. However, I settled on another mainstay, braised rabbit leg with olives, shiitake mushroom and linguine, lightly perfumed with truffle oil.
Perfectly cooked Icelandic cod came with clams, artichokes, spinach and fingerling potatoes. Favorites over the years include homemade country pate, hanger steak, mussels, and crème brulee. For brunch, I love Montmartre’s quiche. Wines are moderately priced. Dinner for two came to $99, before tip. Located at 327 Seventh St. SE, Montmartre is closed Monday; call 202-544-1244 or visit www.montmartredc.com.
And…District Soul Food
We also revisited Barracks Row’s seven-month-old District Soul Food, 500 Eighth St. SE. Vibrant, local art adorns the walls of this former Banana Café venue. DSF’s moist, lip-tingling jerk chicken wings are best we’ve tasted north of Jamaica. Ranch dressing with a generous house salad quenched the fires. Escorted by tangy-sweet coleslaw, Peter’s fried catfish po’boy reminded us of Horace & Dickie’s downhome fish place at 12th and H streets NE. Heading District’s Soul’s dinner menu: shrimp-and-grits, smoked ribs, bone-in pork chops, South-style fried chicken. Lunch for two with vino and refreshing lemonade was $55. Service was friendly and helpful. Open daily; call 202-544-8882 or visit www.districtsoulfood.com.
Latest to join the burger brigade is Eat Brgz. Open about a month, it’s fast-casual; customers place their orders, pay and seat themselves. Burgers are formed with Black Angus beef, chicken and vegan, snuggled in Lyon Bakery potato or house-made cauliflower buns. The latter is tasty, but tends to fall apart. Greek-style patties are mixed with kalamata olives, cukes, sundried tomatoes and feta. I loved the accompanying tzatziki.
“Memphis BBQ” is combined with mushrooms, cheddar and onion. Other options are “Cuban (ham, chorizo, Swiss cheese), Buffalo (celery, carrots, bleu cheese). You can also invent your own combos. No lettuce or tomato. “We keep things simple,” explained a server as she adjusted our wobbly outdoor table. A generous pour of the house red or white wine is just $7. “Super high protein” milkshakes are super thick and super sweet. Lunch for two came to $42 including tax and tip. Located at 250 Seventh St. SE, Eat Brgz is open daily for lunch and dinner. Visit www.eatbrgz.com.
Italian Seafood Coming
Good news to warm us up this winter: New York restaurateur Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group is unveiling Maialino Mare in the Navy Yard. His seafood enterprise is slated to arrive at the base of the 225-room Thompson Hotel, currently under construction at Tingey and Third Streets SE. USHG will also operate the hotel’s rooftop bar.
At Maialino, executive chef Rose Noel’s menu will showcase suckling pig, cacio e pepe (literally pasta with cheese and pepper), carbonara, linguine alla vongole and whole grilled fish. Chef Noel joined USHG in 2014 to cook at New York’s Maialino with chef Jason Pfeifer.
Kevin Tien, founding chef of Petworth’s tiny Himitsu, is departing to concentrate on opening Capitol Hill’s highly anticipated Emilie’s. (Tien is handing Himitsu’s reins to partner/beverage director Carlie Steiner.) Emilie’s, a 100-seat culinary venture offering “small plates,” will be unveiled next year in the Penn Eleven complex at 1101 Pennsylvania Ave. SE.
This fall, The Roost, Neighborhood Restaurant Group’s mega dining destination, is bringing in-house spirits and beer to 1401 Pennsylvania Ave. SE. The 12,500-square-foot venture will roost in a new residential building dubbed the Blackbird.
Spirits director Nick Farrell will head the cocktail and wine bar, “Show of Hands.” He’ll concoct fancy drinks with limoncello, absinthe, vermouth, seasonal fruit liqueurs and an amaro Farrell will distill himself. NRG adds that a second still unnamed Roost bar will be run by NRG beer director Greg Engert.
In the Atlas District, we’ve checked out Duffy’s Irish Pub. Originally located on U St. NW, Duffy’s moved last year to 1016 H St. NE, in the former Liberty Tree slot. Now a year old, the transplant retains its predecessor’s pressed tin ceiling and down-home atmosphere.
Equally unpretentious is the menu, which focuses on chicken, especially wings–half-price on Wednesdays. The “signature” bloody Mary is adorned with a wing segment. Generous chicken quesadillas are stuffed with white meat cubes, diced onion and tomato. However, I found the accompanying salsa too fiery and vinegary for my taste. You can also find brats, “Mama” Julia’s pupusas and fish-and-chips. The latter—firm white fish with a gossamer-light batter–comes with the usual fries or wonderfully addictive tater tots. Vegans will leave not leave hungry; there’s a yummy avocado sandwich. Brunch for two with a drink a piece came to $52 before tip.
Duffy’s is open daily; for hours call 202-462-9464 or visit www.dcduffys.com.
Rice is Nice
Nearby, fast-casual Asian chain Rice Bar opened its fourth outlet this summer at 625 H St. NE. The environmentally-friendly eatery specializes in compose-your-own bibimbap (or noodle dishes) from an almost overwhelming array of rice, proteins, vegetables, broth, sauces, toppings. Rice Bar is open daily; call 202-758-2004 or visit www.ricebardc.com
Navy Yard News
Shilling Canning Company, created by Reid Shilling, has arrived at 360 Water St. SE. Shilling, a former sous chef at Blagden Alley’s the Dabney, oversees a wood-fired oven, raw bar and meat-curing chamber. Shilling also jazzes up mid-Atlantic classics like scrapple and pork roll. The restaurant moniker comes from the canning company that Shilling’s family operated in the 1930s, ‘40s, and ‘50s. Shilling’s staff still cans farm-fresh produce and Chesapeake seafood in glass jars. Call 202-554-7474 or visit www.shillingcaning.com.
Cluck and Shuck
After debuting in Shaw, Scott Parker’s fried chicken and oyster eatery Roy Boys is expanding to the Navy Yard. The offshoot is set to open at 1025 First St. SE, in the former Justin’s Cafe space. The menu will be the same at both branches: Nashville hot-fried chicken, chopped salads, raw and grilled oysters and–ice cream tacos. The 60-seat enterprise will have a full bar with all-day Bloody Marys.