Woodley Park Gem Gets Gin and Din Right
Less than a block from the Woodley Park-Zoo Metro station, New Heights Restaurant and Gin Joint features interactive evenings with distillers and vintners, catering to D.C.’s growing appetite for juniper based cocktails downstairs while meeting the age-old need for companionably paired food and wine upstairs.
The Gin Joint
The Gin Joint, New Heights’ downstairs bar, displays 65 varieties of top shelf gin. A favored haunt for young urbanites of the craft distillery scene, the Gin Joint has placed itself at the center of a gin renaissance making it the go to place for up-and-coming brands as well as the reliable martini.
When DC on Heels visited New Heights, Tom Porter from New York Distilling Co. was showcasing Dorthy Parker Gin, Miss November for the Joint’s gin of the month program. A floral gin that doesn’t whack you over the head with juniper, Dorthy Parker is as enjoyable in a tumbler as much as she is on the page. Though she’s all about a laugh and a good time, you better take Dorthy the drink seriously and take a famous warning from Dorthy the writer “I like one martini. Two at the most. Three I’m under the table. Four I’m under the host.”
After working up an appetite at the Gin Joint, New Heights patrons can sally upstairs for a masterful meal in an intimate setting. Although able to accommodate a crowd, upstairs manages a coziness with warm fall colors on the walls and a balanced sophistication in the table layout and setting. Similar to the Gin Joint’s monthly exhibition of new flavors, the restaurant features a wine and dine club giving regulars the opportunity to enjoy an evening with visiting winemakers over paired food from Chef Takeshi Nishikawa’s kitchen.
DC on Heels had the luck of stopping by when Steve Reynolds of Reynolds Family Winery was in town bringing with him some choice cellar selections from Napa Valley. A former dentist for seven years and now a three-time James Beard award winner, Reynolds made the transformation from cavities to tannins with a lot of hard work and some really good wine. Over a four course meal each paired with a Reynolds Family original, Reynolds shared with diners his life in wine, detailing his science based approach to the craft and his extracurricular passion for tequila (hint: keep a look out for Reynolds’ own agave line soon).
The menu amazed with each course upstaging the last for taste and innovation. Highlights included the pan seared scallops encrusted in rich brown butter and the roasted venison loin served with a touch of semisweet cocoa and just in time for hunting season. The main dish of braised veal osso buco, coming out with a glass of Reynolds’ limited and cult wine 13 Appellations, left such an impression that it will be a permanent fixture on the New Heights menu this fall and winter.
Moreover, New Heights left such an impression on me that I am liable to become a permanent fixture in the classy upstairs and gin frequently at the downstairs bar. With curated gin tastings and wine nights, New Heights has developed a devoted patronage that the interactive epicure should consider joining.
Richard is a freelance writer who enjoys building a healthy appetite with long runs around the city. When not logging the miles, he can be spotted training the palate at brunches, happy hours and food trucks.