Another Restaurant Flocks to The Roost

Leni’s Café, serving Central European specialties, is the latest restaurant to flock to the Roost, at 1401 Pennsylvania Ave. SE.

Another restaurant has flocked to The Roost coop—uh—food hall, 1401 Pennsylvania Ave. SE in the posh Blackbird residences. The newcomer is Leni’s Café. There, Executive Chef Brittany Anderson’s all-day menu focuses on Teutonic and Central European dishes like potato pancakes, sandwiches stuffed with choice of bratwurst, roast chicken and arctic char. And don’t miss the borscht, a robust winter soup – a ruby red montage of braised beef, cabbage and bacon crowned with crème fraise and a sprinkling of dill. Among lighter fare is yogurt with muesli, steel-cut oats and a honey nut squash half with cashew yogurt and sprinkled with pumpkin seeds. Charred broccoli rabe is blanketed with Hungarian pepper sauce and quinoa crunch. Sides encompass a rather vinegary sauerkraut slaw, cucumber dill salad and marinated beets.

We’ve also checked out AKO Sushi, which offers a wide array including Signature and Standard makimono (various sushi rolls): spicy tuna, shrimp tempura, Rainbow (tuna, salmon, whitefish), crunchy/spicy avocado and cucumber, eel, and something called Philly, smoked salmon and cream cheese with cucumber. I would have liked a bento box-style combo with tummy-warming miso soup, but AKO Sushi only offered ala carte sushi items. But on a cold winter Saturday, sake ($10), presented in a handsome black cruet, accompanied my sushi and warmed me sufficiently.

From the Roost’s HiFi taco shop, tacos are stuffed with mojo braised chicken, avocado, or a zesty 3-chili marinated catfish. The tortillas taste homemade. Overall, we enjoyed our midday repast.

Other Roost occupants are Cameo, Shelter, Slice Joint (pizza, whole pies or sold by the slice), Red Apron and other Neighborhood Restaurant Group enterprises For exact hours and other information, visit

At Pariaso, formerly Emilie’s, menu “neighborhood favorites” remain, including Nashville hot chicken.

From the Orient to Mexico
Emilie’s, 1101 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, has morphed from Asian to Mexican, making it the Hill’s umpteenth South-of-the-border eatery. Formerly called Emilie’s, the new restaurant moniker is Paraiso Taqueria Y Mezcaleria. The new menu includes guacamole, ceviche and tacos with assorted fillings like carne asada (steak), lengua (braised tongue, don’t knock it until you’ve tried it), cochinita pebil (roast pork) and fried cod.

However, you can still order some of Emilie’s “neighborhood favorites” including the Nashville hot chicken sandwich, General Tso’s banh mi, burgers and roasted Brussels sprouts. Heading the new kitchen is Geovany Beltran.

The Nashville hot chicken sandwich is breaded and fried, accompanied by incendiary chili aioli, dill pickle slices and lettuce, all piled on a sesame bun. Sides include addictive waffle fries. The generous Mexican rice bowl is replete with black beans, crème fresca and choice of carne asada (beef), chicken or cauliflower. Brussels sprouts tasted overly sweet, in spite of a splash of sherry, fish sauce and “everything” bagel seasoning. Service was excellent; our order was ready when Peter arrived to pick it up. Dinner for three before tip came to $47.30.

For now, Paraiso offers only carryout and delivery service, but the Market remains, with a few tweaks, we’re told, with beaucoup bottles of wine. Coming soon (we hope): dine-in service. For hours and updates, call 202-544-4368 or visit

To keep customers warm who prefer to dine al fresco, Mr. Henry’s is selling blankets at $20 each.

Warming Trend
Mr. Henry’s, 601 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, is selling blankets. Customers who dine on the spacious patio may purchase the black fleece items—embroidered with Mr. Henry’s logo—for $20 each. Mr. Henry’s is open daily for lunch and dinner. Call 202-546-8412 or visit

Early Birds flock to Hawk
Attention early risers: The venerable Hawk ‘n’ Dove, 329 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, now serves breakfast. Eye-opener options encompass yogurt parfait, biscuit sandwiches, omelets, pancakes, avocado toast and more, plus coffee, tea and other beverages. Breakfast hours are 8 to 11 a.m. Monday-Friday, and 8 to 3 p.m. with brunch on weekends. Service is curbside pickup and dine-in (check on current COVID regulations). (Regular lunch and dinner is also available, with full bar.) Call 202-547-0030 or visit

Winter Wine and Dine
Here’s something festive to welcome 2021: In the Navy Yard, Shilling Canning Company’s executive chef, Reid Shilling, has joined forces with Moet Hennessy to launch the restaurant’s in-house wine shop. Located at 360 Water St. SE, the restaurant/wine shop carries a rotating selection of vintages (reds, whites and bubblies) selected by the Shilling Canning Company team to pair with the restaurant’s seasonal “farm-to-table” cuisine.

“This is a really meaningful partnership for us, at such a delicate time” says Sara Quinteros-Shilling, co-owner and head of business development who spearheaded the partnership. “It’s the perfect example of paying it forward. Möet Hennessy’s support allows us to continue our mission of supporting small, local farms, producers and fishermen in the Chesapeake region.”

The Möet Hennessy Wine Shop at Shilling Canning Company partnership is the first of its kind in Washington. Moreover, it offers the city’s largest on-premise inventory of Möet Hennessy brands.

Guests may order from  Shilling’s three-course $55 menu with such dishes as Elysian Fields wood oven lamb, pressed flounder with Maryland crab and scallop mousse, vegetable terrine,  sweet potato gnocchi. Among ala carte items are steak frites, wood-oven pizza, buttermilk fried chicken, and more. There’s also a three-course ($35) Sunday brunch.

Shilling Canning Company provides dine-in (check current COVID regs), take-out and delivery six days a week; closed Monday. For reservations and more information call 202-554-7474 or visit

New on H
The Atlas District has acquired a Peruvian restaurant called Tigo’s. Located at 1322 H St. NE, the zesty newcomer serves ceviche, empanadas, and pollo or lomo (rib eye) saltado strips prepared over a wok. The ever rotating space was formerly occupied by Meggrolls, Red Ginger and Shawafel. And….next spring, Farmbird, 625 H St. NE, which showcases antibiotic-free poultry raised humanely on regional farms, will unveil an offshoot across the Potomac at the Ballston Exchange development. Watch for details.

Winter Restaurant Week
Coming up January 18-31: Winter Restaurant Week, sponsored by the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington. For this promotion, which is more important this year than ever before, more than a dozen local restaurants will serve multi-course repasts for $35 or $55. (Lunch/brunch is $22.) Many will also offer specially-priced carryout meals. For more information and an up-to-date list of participating restaurants, visit