Spring, with tourists and cherry blossoms, has finally returned. Accompanying these annual arrivals are several new Capitol Hill restaurants. At last, east of Lincoln Park, Pacci’s finally opened at 106 13th St. SE. Chef Luis Flores’ upbeat Italian menu dispenses Nonna’s polpette (meatballs), grilled octopus, and lasagna Napoletana. The dome-shaped, wood-fired oven promised a selection of red and white pizzas, which were practically flying out of the kitchen on a busy Wednesday evening.
Capping Pacci’s price list are veal chops and ribeye steak, both tagged at $46. But the best thing we tasted was the wild boar (cinghiale in Italian) tagliatelle, chock full of meat, cloaked with robust sauce and dotted with (surprising) capers., an offbeat marriage that worked well. The ribbons of pasta were perfectly cooked, al dente, which held up to the rich porcine sauce. A red/golden beet/burrata salad was beautifully presented, a colorful palate of beets, burrata, and fennel with balsamic dressing; a shower of walnuts added an agreeable crunch. Colleague Liz O’Gorek raves about the rich creamy tiramisu.
Pacci’s also offers a brunch menu, plus beer, wine and cocktails. For more information visit www.paccis.com.
New on “The Avenue” is Coastline Oyster Co. at 319 Pennsylvania Ave. SE. It is part of family-owned Coastline Restaurant group, which also operates nearby Harvest Tide Steak House. The kitchen is helmed by chef/owner Danio Somoza, who turns out cioppino seafood stew, Alaskan halibut and sea scallops, plus steamers—including Chatham mussels with garlic butter– and a raw bar. Carnivores might be served pan-seared pork chops, or New York strip steak.
Lunchtime brings tomato-based seafood stew, replete with clams, shrimp, scallops and veggies. Caesar salad, enlivened with anchovy dressing and capped with a parmesan crisp, can be topped with fried oysters, salmon, halibut or steak.
The drink menu features wine, beer, red and white sangria, tropical cocktails like margaritas and mezcal spritzes, plus “infusions” including Blue Point oyster shooters. For more information visit www.coastlineoysterco.com.
Africa Meets Atlas
Bronze, 1245 H St. NE, celebrates the African culture and diaspora with the 700-year-old tale of Alonzo Bronze, who traveled around the globe, searching for new traditions. He eventually settled in the Caribbean. Inspired by Bronze’s world-wide adventures is the eclectic menu of hamachi crudo (raw yellowtail tuna), “torched” oyster towers, toasted chana (chickpeas) collard pesto and much more. Visit www.bronzedc.com.
Paste & Rind, 904 H St. NE, slid into the space vacated by Dio Wine Bar. The Cheese Counter and Tasting Bar is the first bricks-and-mortar enterprise for Kara McGrath’s locally sourced cheese company, which she launched during the Covid shutdown. Seating 24 patrons, the tiny space has a service counter and a culinary accoutrements shop. The sit-down area serves artisan cheese “slates” with warm local bread (which feed two), charcuteries and wine pairings. Visit www.pasteandrind.com.
Navy Yard Update
The major league baseball season is again underway, as restaurants are cropping up near Nationals Park. A British style pub, Duke’s Grocery, 1201 Half St. SE, is the gastropub’s fourth location. Situated a half block from Nationals Park, Duke’s is beloved for beer-battered fish-and- chips, and the double-patty “proper” burger. Among bottomless brunch offerings are eggs Norwegian (scrambled eggs with smoked salmon), avocado toast and an English breakfast of eggs, rashers, bangers, and roasted tomatoes. To drink: coffee martinis. mimosas, bloody marys and beer. A 40-seat bar stretches the length of one wall and accommodates eight TVs. Visit www.dukesgrocery.com.
Wharf is Growing
As part of the District Wharf’s Phase 2 expansion, New York’s Philippe Chow will soon unveil Philippe by Philippe Chow, the first Washington spinoff of his famed Manhattan flagship. Chow’s eponymous newcomer will showcase classic Peking duck, crispy duck salad, sesame prawns, lobster satay, salt & pepper eggplant, plus some tofu dishes.
Tucked in the luxury Canopy Hotel, 975 Seventh St. SW, is the Canopy Central Bar & Café. For breakfast, you’ll find lox and bagels, “adult lunchables” with meat, cheese, crackers and a “treat,” onion rings, chicken tenders, sandwiches, salads and pizza. Visit www.canopycentralcafeandbar.com
Easy Company Wine Bar, 98 Blair Alley SW, is related to the nearby fun and funky Boardwalk, both part of Better Hospitality Group. This casual neighborhood spot slings crispy calamari, cheese and charcuteries, tzatziki, hummus, mussels, grilled salmon, burgers and more. Plus all kinds of wine, foreign and domestic. Visit www.easycowharf.com.
In the spiffy Pendry Hotel is Flora Flora, 655 Water St. SW. Served poolside, the all-day Latin American-inspired fare focuses on traditional dishes from Mexico and Peru. Favorites include pumpkin empanadas, grilled oysters, striped bass ceviche, hearts of palm tacos, duck confit chaufa (Chinese/Peruvian inspired montage of rice, egg, soy and other ingredients). Visit www.pendry.com.
Across from Gordon Ramsay’s Fish & Chips is the British chef’s dressy Gordon Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen, 652 Wharf St. SW. Ensconced in a sprawling 14,802 square-foot waterfront structure, the pricy flagship restaurant is named after the British-born Ramsay’s famous cooking show. Among specialties are beef Wellington, the decadently delicious, retro concoction of a steak fillet, pate, and duxelles (minced herbed mushrooms) swathed in puff pastry; a dry-aged 24-ounce ribeye, Maine lobster tail, lobster risotto and sticky toffee pudding. For more information on both restaurants visit www.gordonramsayrestaurants.com.
Coming soon if not already: Zooz, 636 Maine Ave. SW, a high-end cocktail ‘‘garden bar.’’ Located at the base of the luxury Amaris condos, the glamorous late-night lounge evokes Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas. Cocktails are presented tableside on rolling carts, along with delectable desserts like crème brulee and tiramisu. www.wharfdc.com.
Wine About it
Coming up April 24 at 6 p.m.: Joselito Casa de Comidas, 660 Pennsylvania Ave. SE will host a gala Wine Tasting Dinner. Prepared by chefs David Cardona and David Sierra in collaboration with Sommelier Gustavo Iniesta, the six-course repast will include such delicacies as tuna tartar and grilled lamb tenderloin. During this dinner, Bodega Elias Mora export manager Catalina Madra and Grapes of Spain CEO Aurelio Cabestrero will walk diners through each wine pairing and share their knowledge and passion about these opulent wines that are modern, yet deeply rooted and devoted to tradition.
Price is $135 per person, including tax and service but not including Eventbrite fees. For more information visit www.joselitodc.com.