Mussel Power Back to Full Strength on H Street

Capitol Cuisine

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In the Atlas District, customers can again savor Granville Moore’s signature dish: mussels swimming in a white wine/herbed/garlic sauce.

Renewed Mussel Power
It’s BACK! The Atlas District’s Granville Moore’s, beloved for mussels and pommes frites, has returned. During the pandemic shutdown, proprietor/chef Ryan Gordon tried to save his 13-year-old Belgian tavern by morphing into “GM’s Pasta Place,” slinging spaghetti and meatballs. That didn’t work; Pasta Place folded last September. But, much to our delight, late last month, Granville Moore’s reopened.

Again, guests are slurping mussels swimming in white wine, garlic and herbs, bleu cheese, or  spicy Thai curry. (Since shellfish don’t travel well, guests may not order mussels to take home.) Also returning are mounds of crunchy fries to be dipped in truffle, Old Bay, chipotle or garlic aioli sauces.

When we returned to Grandville Moore’s after more than a year, we ordered mussels laced with pork belly, spinach and red onions in wine-lemon broth. One bowl easily feeds two. For sides, we chose broccoli with butter, garlic and parmesan, which we swirled into the frites’ accompanying truffle mayo. There is also a brief sandwich menu: Italian sausage, meatball, chicken parmesan. Desserts: cheesecake and chocolate torte.

The mostly Belgian beer listing has been beefed up; Peter enjoyed his Belgian Baptist Wit brew. You can also order wine and Fling cocktails by Boulevard Brewing Company. Grandville Moore’s has retained much of its long-time staff, now numbering seven.

What helped Grandville Moore’s rebirth was the popular monthly “mussels nights” at The Queen Vic (under the same ownership), nearby at 1206 H St. NE. We also learned a bit of history; the eponymous Dr. Granville Moore, a neighborhood physician who provided pro bono care, lived upstairs. His medicine cabinets, now used for storage, remain behind the bar. Grandville Moore’s interior has changed little, with rough-hewn wooden tables, chairs and brick-lined walls with plaster patches.

Located at 1238 H St. NE, Granville Moore’s is open Thursday through Sunday for dinner only. No cash is accepted. For more information call 202-399-2546. To make a reservation, visit www.resy.com or www.granvillemoores.com.

Viva La Famosa!
We recently checked out La Famosa, un Poco Clasico (“famous little classic”) at 1300 Fourth St. SE, near Nationals Park. The entrance is around the corner on Tingey Street. The Puerto Rican “fast fine” eatery serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. We decided on lunch on an unseasonably chilly Saturday, when we savored the best Puerto Rican fare we’ve tasted north of Miami. Chef/owner Joancarlo Parkhurst hails from that US island territory.

From his picadera (appetizer) lineup we chose bolitas de queso—a trio of little globes fried to a golden crisp and filled with meltingly delicious cheese. Pastelillos are fried turnovers (similar to empanadas) stuffed with choice of beef picadillo, crab or veggies. I opted for the minced beef, which spurted out of the fluted pastry shells and practically melted in my mouth.

At La Famosa, a Puerto Rican eatery near Nats Park, bolitas de queso are little globes fried and filled with melted cheese.

From the sandwich menu Peter passed over the tripeta—pan de agua stuffed with pork butt, deli ham and Swiss cheese, similar to a Cuban sandwich, and went for the creole-style cod sandwich, toasted multigrain bread enveloping the fish, mango, arugula and avocado.

Among platos fuerte (main dishes) is mofongo—fried mashed plantains with choice of pork, shrimp or vegetarian picadillo, served in a traditional clay pot. Whole crispy snapper is escorted by coconut rice and spicy slaw. Bistec encelollado (steak) is swathed in onions and presented with rice and beans.

Desserts include pastelillo de guayaba (guava pastries), coconut macaroons and that all-time classic: flan. Yummy pastries are displayed out front.

Batidos—milk drinks flavored with mango, pineapple and other tropical fruits, are popular. Potent potables run the gamut of beer, wine, and cocktails like el nacional (rum and apricot liqueur), Negronis and pina coladas. La Famosa is open daily for dine-in and carryout. Call 202-921-9882 or visit www.eatlafamosa.com.

Jonathan Returns – by Demand
Local chef/cookbook writer/storyteller Jonathan Bardzik, known for his lively cooking demos at Eastern Market, is back. The personable Bardzik’s eight-episode cooking series, “Jonathan’s Kitchen: Seasons to Taste,” is now streaming on Global LGBTQ+ streaming network Revry.

Bardzik has written three cookbooks including “Seasons to Taste: Farm-Fresh Joy for Kitchen and Table,” the inspiration for the series. For his show, Bardzik shares seasonal recipes and the people they bring together. Guests include his parents, husband Jason and other culinary experts.

Bardzik opens each episode by sharing: “I believe life can and should be lived with joy…preparing a simple meal, setting a table and sharing it with the people I love. And I want to share it with you.” Self-taught, he got his professional start 10 years ago with his demos at Eastern Market. He and Jason live on the Hill.

“Jonathan’s Kitchen premiered” May 21 on Revry and is available on demand at Revry.tv. For more information visit www.jonathanbardzik.com or www.revry.tv.com.

And…
Capitol Hill welcomes back Art and Soul, 415 New Jersey Ave. NW in the Yotel Washington DC Hotel. Having debuted in 2008, the flagship restaurant has reopened after a multi-million dollar facelift. The 5,100-square foot space contains three private indoor dining rooms and an adjacent bar; the patio boasts a panoramic view of the U.S. Capitol dome.

Designed by the New York-based Wimberly Interiors, Art and Soul’s interior features azure hues, reminiscent of the Chesapeake Bay, neon lights, kitchen utensils, and depictions of Washington landmarks.

Chef Danny Chavez showcases ingredients from Chesapeake Bay watershed communities, including pan-seared octopus, adobo-rubbed pork belly, chicken roulade, “spring spaghetti” with veggies and preserved lemons. Desserts: rhubarb and apple crisp, tres leches panna cotta, strawberry bread pudding. Complementing these innovative creations are snazzy cocktails, local draft beers, and wine pairings. For more information, visit www.artandsouldc.com

Crabby
In the Atlas District, we stumbled upon Crab Boss, 1001 H St. NE. Operated by Lenell Watson and Ashleigh Watson, the newcomer has a sister eatery in Brandywine, Maryland. The Florida-style/Cajun-inspired menu showcases all kinds of shellfish: crabmeat draped over crispy fries crowned with “signature” sauce; charbroiled oysters, seafood mac-and-cheese. Plus Cajun-style chicken pasta; beer, wine and cocktails. Crab Boss provides dine in, takeout and delivery. Call 202-813-3463 or visit www.crabboss.com.

Gone
Barracks Row has lost another restaurant to the pandemic: District Soul Food, 500 Eighth St. SE, has closed. David Roundtree, the restaurant’s CEO, told Capitol Hill Corner that “We’re moving,” with details forthcoming.  District Soul opened in 2019 at the former Banana Café address.