Food News Highlights

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Hello readers.  Forking DC has been a little quiet lately as I’ve been traveling and getting ready for a new day job.  (I’ll soon be reporting about my adventures forking food in Costa Rica and Kentucky. Stay tuned!)

As I’m settling back into the DC food scene, I thought I’d share some highlights in case you haven’t had a chance to catch up on food news lately.

Recent Openings — Chez Billy, the new French-inspired, Petworth eatery from the Hilton brothers opened this past weekend (check out the menu here).  Roberto Donna, of Galileo fame (or infamy), has opened a pizza joint, La Forchetta, in Glover Park.  And for those mid-morning waffle cravings, there’s now Back Alley Waffles in Mt. Vernon Square, close to another favorite alley eatery — Sundevich.  In thirst-quenching news, Shaw Tavern is finally serving alcohol. (Yay!) I still haven’t made it to recently opened Maple in Columbia Heights, but the menu looks good.  Weekend morning just got more interesting as both Mintwood Place and Boundary Road are now offering brunch.  Anyone have any impressions to report on these places?

Chef Shuffling — Earlier this month, BLT Steak announced that it had hired a a new executive chef to replace recently departing Victor Albisu.  The new chef is Jon Mathieson who previously cooked for two Northern Virginia restaurants that are now closed — Michel and Inox — as well as 2941.  Interesting choice.  I’m curious about the future of BLT Steak given the departures of its executive chef and sous chef as well as numerous changes in general managers, all within the last six months.  Plus, when a restaurant decides to “save” money by switching to smaller and tasteless olives for the bar, it can’t be a good sign.  Maybe corporate needs to rethink some overall strategies before BLT essentially becomes a Macaroni Grill (Two notes: (1) I love Macaroni Grill, but you know what I mean; (2) I have to give credit to a friend of mine for coming up with that analogy).

Forthcoming — Starting today, Mike Isabella will be temporarily operating his highly anticipated Bandolero from Tackle Box’s Cleveland Park location since Bandolero’s permanent location in Hook’s old spot in Georgetown is still under construction.  Dining is limited to dinner reservations from April 19 to May 4 and will offer a five course tasting menu for $65 (including tax and gratuity).  On Cinco de Mayo, the restaurant will be open from noon to 1 am and will offer an a la carte menu all day as well as complimentary margaritas from 5 to 7pm.

The new beach bar on New York Avenue is scheduled to open in May. I have to admit I’m intrigued by this concept.  They plan to ship in lots of sand and collaborate with food trucks to feed patrons.  We’ll see how that works out . . . Prince of Petworth has been reporting about a new Cava Grill opening in Columbia Heights on July 1st.  I can’t say how excited I am that one of my favorite Greek restaurants will be so close to me.  Finally, H Street is getting a new pizza place this June. (Read about it here.)

And, in case you haven’t read the latest issue of The City Paper, the Paper reports a few more remote projects in the works for the 14th Street corridor including a Greek-inspired restaurant from Mike Isabella, a Southeast Asian joint brought to you by the folks behind Proof and Estadio, a new Matchbox, and three Italian-inspired restaurants.  Last but not least, a popular Chicago wine bar tells Eater that it’s looking into a possible DC outpost.

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All this talk is making me hungry.  Time for some forking.

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