Hill East Burger “A Pleasant Surprise”

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On the “Avenue,” pleasant personnel and a fish tank greet customers at the

When a friend raved about Hill East Burger, 1432 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, we decided to investigate. What a pleasant surprise! At this casual, unpretentious eatery, we started with a bloody mary made with smoked tomato juice, house bloody mary mix and garnished with a smoked olive, pickle slice and a half-smoke coin. The smokiness was delicious. Moreover, guests may choose from vodka, rye, tequila, mezcal and bourbon. I opted for the usual vodka.

By all means, spring for the curly-ish fries. Served with a tomato relish, the addictive fries tasted more like tater tots. They were positively addictive. You can also choose sauces: betonies (garlicy mayo), spicy sweet maple syrup, sweet chili mayo.

Among breakfast sandwiches, I opted for the “first smoke of the day,” made with Sloppy Mama’s half-smoke sausage, poblano cheese, griddled onion and egg (I chose sunny side up, messy but yummy). A tasty vegetarian option is grits paired with a black-eyed pea patty and egg.

Among brunch burgers, Peter went for the Puebla burger, heaped with smoked cheddar, mustard, and arugula. Mashed burger patties can be single, double or triple; we settled for a single, which was plenty. As it was, we couldn’t finish our yummy fries.

A 20 percent service fee is added to Hill East’s tabs. We added a little more. Service, rendered by Camilla, who doubled as bartender, was pleasant and efficient.

Hill East Burger is located near the Potomac Avenue Metro and across the street from The Roost food hall. For hours and more information visit www.hilleastburger.com.

Limani at the Wharf

A recent District Wharf arrival is the upscale Limani, 670 Wharf St. SW. The spectacular, three-level newcomer offers sweeping vistas of the waterfront. Limani—Greek for “port”—is part of the Limani Hospitality Group, which showcases vibrant Greek-Mediterranean cuisine. Hellenic menu highlights include jumbo shrimp saganaki with feta and risotto, feta-stuffed calamari, Greek-style lobster roll, octopus, spanakopita, lamb chops and much more. For now, Limani serves lunch and dinner. For hours and reservations visit www.limani.com.

Hunan Dynasty turns 40

As the Hill continues to welcome new restaurants these days, we sometimes yearn to revisit old timers. So, Peter and I recently returned to Hunan Dynasty, 215 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, which debuted in 1983. I was warmly greeted by the hostess and promptly seated in the ornate and spacious upstairs eatery (and fish tank). I ordered my favorite Chinese dish, chicken in hot garlic sauce, served with spicy hot and sour soup, a crispy eggroll and white rice—a good deal for only $14. Service was polite and quick. Other lunch specials, all priced around $14, include General Tso’s, orange, and Kung Pao chicken, Szechuan and Hunan chicken or beef, Szechuan-style string beans, Moo Goo Gai Pan, and a vegetable combination. Hunan Dynasty specializes in Szechuan style or (curried) stone pot dishes, made with chicken, beef, shrimp or tofu. There’s also an array of hot and cold dim sum, seaweed salad, hot and sour soup, fish with pickled cabbage, Peking duck, Buffalo wings. In addition to Chinese, you can order dishes from Japan, Mongolia, Singapore and Thailand. For more info (or to order online) visit www.hunandynastytogo.com          

Hill East Burger’s irresistible “Curl-ish” fries are escorted by zesty tomato relish.

Egging On

On Barracks Row, I Egg You has hatched at 517 Eighth St. SE. Created by Fried Rice Collective Chefs Scott Dweno and Danny Lee, the sprightly newcomer dispenses all-day breakfast and lunch/brunch, specializing in—you guessed it—yummy egg sandwiches and other delights. Adding to the enjoyment is a full bar. There’s also takeout and delivery. Fried Rice Collective also operates Chiko at 423 Eighth St. SE. For more information visit www.ieggyou.com.

Best known for supplying home and garden items, Frager’s Hardware stocks edibles, including a line of spicy sauces.

Frager’s Holiday Cheer

Here’s another Capitol Hill old timer, which has survived neighborhood changes, suburban big box competition and a devastating fire: Everyone knows that Frager’s Ace Hardware, 1115 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, carries everything you could possibly need for home and garden. Plus beaucoup holiday decorations. But while buying candles at Frager’s recently, I noticed food, and lots of it. Large and small bags of Dot’s Homestyle pretzel twists (regular seasoning and spicy Southwest), all kinds of candy, Old Fashion Claxton fruit cake, chips, peanuts, and an amazing array of sauces and seasonings. Barbecue buff Peter checked out the rows of tongue-torching condiments: Melinda’s Thai Sweet Chili sauce and pizza hot sauce, HM Honey Mustard Rub, Meat Mitch Naked BBQ Sauce, Meat Mitch White Sauce, and, according to Frager’s employee Jay Keegan: top seller Meat Mitch Stay Hot BBQ sauce.

On the “Avenue,” pleasant personnel and a fish tank greet customers at the
venerable Hunan Dynasty.

What a fun, tasty idea for holiday stocking stuffers! Frager’s is open daily; visit www. www.acehardware.com.

Gone

Not all the news this month is good: Barracks Row has lost a pair of favorite businesses. Mason & Greens, the sustainable, zero-waste vegan store at 400 Eighth St. SE, has closed its doors. (The parent shop at 913 King St. in Old town Alexandria, remains open; visit www. masonandgreens.com.) Also, Crazy Aunt Helen’s, the fun, funky restaurant at 713 Eighth St. SE, abruptly closed last month.

Capitol CuisineOn the “Avenue,” Let’s Mix Bibla, the fast-casual Korean/Asian fusion eatery at 209 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, has also called it quits.

And….as always, La Plaza Mexican (and Salvadoran) Cuisine, 629 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, will be open on Christmas Day, December 25. For menu and exact hours visit www.laplazadc.com.  

An earlier version of this story said Limani serves only dinner. The restaurant also serves lunch. The Hill Rag regrets this error.