Newcomers to Navy Yard

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Large, colorful skull murals decorate the spacious Pink Taco interior.

You can’t miss this place: In the Navy Yard area, an enormous magenta sign heralds the arrival of Pink Taco. You’ll find the new hotspot at 100 M St. SE, where Gordon Biersch used to be.

Part of a national chain based in Los Angeles, Pink Taco claims celebrity fans like Snoop Dogg and Jennifer Aniston. Yes, pink rules here. The colorful moniker refers to rosy-hued pickled veggies draped on tacos, the “Gospel of Pink” strawberry margaritas and even pink water glasses.

The Barbecued lamb taco and “Gospel of Pink” margarita, are customer
favorites at the Navy Yard’s Pink Taco.

Seated on the spacious, wrap-around patio, I just had to order the pink margarita. The tequila-based drink is infused with strawberry beet agave and lime juice. I found the combination pleasant and tangy, topped with the dried lime wheel you often see these days. (Other potent potables include more margaritas, oceans of tequilas, beer and wine. Among booze-free options is refreshing lemonade.)

I decided on the highly recommended lamb barbacoa (barbecued) tacos. Fashioned from soft corn tortillas, the tasty trio was nestled in taco holders and speckled with minced beets, goat cheese and cilantro sprigs. Among other taco options are brisket, achiote shrimp and crispy fish. My companion ordered the chipotle chicken Cobb salad. The bowl was a mosaic of white meat cubes, black beans, avocado slices and queso fresco. Tortilla strips added an agreeable crunch. Unfortunately, the ranch dressing sank to the bottom.

Heartier plates include sizzling fajitas, lobster enchiladas and hamburguesa gordita, an 8-ounce beef patty, pepper jack cheese, avocado, jalapenos and pico de gallo, all swathed in a flour tortilla.

Pink Taco is huge; the sprawling 236-seat restaurant is splashed with bright neon lighting, magenta-colored light bulbs, high-top and booth seating. Enormous murals of skulls—reminiscent of Mexico’s Dia de los Muertos—decorate the walls and pillars. There’s a huge bar and a (very busy!) glassed-in kitchen.

 For hours and more information, visit www.pinktaco.com.

More Newcomers

And… coming soon (if not already) to the Navy Yard, the umpteenth location of the national chain Greene Turtle Sports Bar & Grille. You’ll find it at 1237 First St. SE, near Nationals Park. Launched in Ocean City, Maryland in 1976, Greene Turtle offers sports bar fare, with some twists: loaded tater tots; Smokehouse” nachos; “Slamburgers” (trio of mini-burgers); tacos, soups, salads and desserts. The Cookie Lava Sundae sounds intriguing. For more information and updates visit www.greeneturtle.com.

Zesty Expansion

Bombay Street Food, 524 Eighth St. SE (Barracks Row), has expanded into Maryland. You’ll find the spicy offshoot at 151 American Way in National Harbor. Owner Asad Sheikh, who grew up in Mumbai, operates two Bombay Street Food eateries in DC. Among menu favorites are veggie samosas, chicken tikka masala, several kinds of biryani (chicken, lamb, goat or shrimp, generous enough to feed two or three); fiery vindaloo, and Bombay Thali, a sampling of traditional dishes for two people. Sheikh also operates the fast/casual chain Butter Chicken Company and London Curry House, which opened on U Street NW in January. For more information visit www.bombaystreetfood.us.

Caruso’s Grocery, the Roost’s retro Italian restaurant, is expanding into North Bethesda.

Italian Expansion

Caruso’s Grocery, the nostalgic, Italian charmer at 914 14th St. SE (the Roost food hall), is also venturing into Maryland. This fall, Caruso’s will slide into North Bethesda’s Pike & Rose complex. The future outpost will showcase house-made Caruso favorites including crispy calamari, chicken parmesan, linguine and clams, penne alla vodka with peas and prosciutto, tomato braised meatballs. Plus those popular $10 cocktails, wine and beer. The Maryland menu will also introduce such additions as veal saltimbocca, prime steaks and chops. The Maryland Caruso’s address will be 11820 Trade St., North Bethesda. For updates and more information visit Error! Hyperlink reference not valid.

Yet More Pizza

In the Atlas District, The Little Grand has arrived at 808 Seventh St. NE. The postage-stamp sized newcomer is tucked away in the mixed-use Apollo Building, which also houses Whole Foods market and the vegan restaurant Fancy Radish.

Little Grand is a spinoff of All Souls, a cozy Shaw watering hole. Partners David Batista, Soung Wiser and Joanna Brady have enlisted pizza chef Bobby Hellen to concoct seven types of sourdough-based pizzas. The 12-inch pies are round or square, topped with tomato, pepperoni, meatballs, cheese, veggies and other goodies. You can also order sides, salads and desserts. The bar dispenses local beers, wines, and classic cocktails. For hours and more information visit www.littlegranddc.com.

Summer Restaurant Week

Coming up August 15-21:  Summer Restaurant Week. Sponsored by the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington (RAMW), the promotion invites local diners to experience regional summer flavors in a different way.

In the Atlas District, The Little Grand
has opened at 808 Seventh St. NE, in the Apollo Building.

For on-premises dining, participating restaurants will offer multi-course brunch and lunch menus for $25 per person, and multi-course dinner menus for $40 or $55 per person. Many restaurants will also include cocktail pairings and carryout dinner meals, priced at $70 or $100 for two people and $140 or $200 for four.

For more information, a list of Restaurant Week participants or to make reservations, visit  www.rwdmv.com.

Summer’s cooling Solutions

Anyone who’s been reading my column knows I love food, and that I enjoy cooking. But, with the dog days of August upon us, sometimes it’s just too darn hot to use the kitchen. One evening, Peter really wanted gazpacho, and I admit I can make several tasty versions. However, tonight I did not feel like shopping, chopping and dragging out my vintage blender.

So—I ventured into Pain de Quotidian, 660 Pennsylvania Ave. SE. I was in luck; today’s featured soup was gazpacho. For $10, I purchased a carryout bowl. The rather spicy tomato gazpacho was delicately scented with cumin, lending a Latino touch. Bread slices were thrown in, a good deal for $10. Visit www.paindequotidian.com.

We also felt like roasted chicken, but again, I did not want to heat up the kitchen while the mercury was hitting 95 F outside and climbing. Solution? Rotisserie roast chicken at Canales Delicatessen, in Eastern Market. The succulent $12 bird was big enough for several meals—soup, chicken salad, etc. (Canales also makes a mean Cuban sandwich.) Eastern Market is closed Monday; visit Error! Hyperlink reference not valid.