Alba Osteria Opens Dec. 30 Near Chinatown
Alba Osteria, 425 I St. NW, the new restaurant from owner Hakan Ilhan and executive chef Roberto Donna, will open Dec. 30.
The new sister restaurant to Tenlytown’s Al Dente seats 226, including a 63-seat outdoor seasonal patio. Matt Norris, of Norris Design in Atlanta, designed the 5,500-square-foot space, which includes at private dining room that can seat 22. The restaurant pays homage to the traditional wine-centric, casual restaurants found throughout the Italian countryside.
The interior is black and white with a pop of orange and includes a smooth black bar top against a lighted white textured bar front and traditional white Carrara marble with rough broken edges. There are industrial steel beams, a well-worn factory floor and black damask patterned chandeliers. Guests enter through a steel and glass vestibule.
The menu will feature authentic Italian cuisine reflective of the Piedmonte region of Italy, Donna’s homeland. Amy Brandwein is the chef de cuisine, overseeing the daily kitchen operations. Brandwein was previously executive chef at Donna’s Galileo restaurant.
Alba, Italy is situated between the region’s wine country and agricultural center, and food there is a classic representative of Piemonte’s cuisine. Alba Osteria’s menu will offer a selection of small plates. Daily specials will be “Italian sized” portions, designed to be ordered and shared for the table. Dishes are priced from $5 to $19.
Guests will find a chef-focused exhibition salumi and formaggi counter complete with a Ferrari red Berkel slicer to cut the selections of hanging meats. There is also a colorful pizza bar, where a cocktail can be enjoyed while watching the 8,000 pound Ferrara wood-fired oven from Naples, finished with red and orange handmade Italian glass mosaic tile. Reclaimed factory window frames, with refurbished seeded glass, divide the space visually. The windows and the wood paneling in the private room were removed from a 100-year-old demolished Crayola factory in Ohio, giving Alba a green footprint and the ambiance of an old-world café.
The restaurant will have a selection of Italian and local wines, plus four wines and 20 beers on tap. Wines by the bottle range from $22-$200 and $7-$25 by the glass. Happy hour will be from 4-7 p.m. Monday-Friday with $4 draft beers, $5 wines by the glass, complimentary Mortadella (Italian sausage) and $5-$12 bar bites.
Alba Osteria is open for lunch Monday-Friday from 11 a.m.-4 p.m.; dinner Sunday-Thursday 4 p.m.-midnight, Friday-Saturday 4 p.m.-1 a.m. and brunch Saturday-Sunday 10:30 a.m.-4 p.m.. Alba is four blocks from the Gallery Place/Chinatown Metro and four blocks from the Judiciary Square Metro.
DGS Deli offers Jewish-Chinese Christmas eve meal
DGS Delicatessen, 1317 Connecticut Ave. NW, is putting its twist on the tradition of Jews eating Chinese food on Christmas with a Christmas eve feast that combines Jewish deli and Chinese staples. The $37 dinner starts with Reuben egg rolls stuffed with corned beef and sauerkraut with a spicy Russian dressing sauce and matzo ball egg drop soup. The second course is pastrami lo mein and kung pao chicken livers with celery and cashews. The meal concludes with confit “Peking” duck served with hoisin sauce, scallions, and gribenes (fried chicken skin) with kasha fried rice. The full menu is here.
The Chinese banquet will be available on Dec. 24 only from 5-9:30 p.m. The restaurant will not be open on Christmas day.
Bombay Club celebrates silver anniversary
The Bombay Club will celebrate its 25th anniversary in January. Owner Ashok Bajaj moved to Washington, D.C. in 1988 and opened The Bombay Club that same year. He convinced his landlord that the nation’s capital was ready for a fine dining Indian restaurant.
The restaurant, located at 815 Connecticut Ave. NW, will feature a selection of classic Indian dishes during the month of January. These dishes have rotated on and off the restaurant’s menu since its opening, due to their popularity and requests by frequent guests. At lunchtime guests can enjoy a two-course menu, plus a complimentary Indian petit four for $25 per person. For dinner, a complimentary glass of champagne will be presented with the entrée course. The Bombay Club will also observe Restaurant Week, Jan. 13-19 and the featured dishes will be incorporated into these lunch and dinner menus as well.
Prepared by executive chef Nilesh Singhvi, menu highlights include mango shrimp with mango and ginger; goan masala crab with lump crab, spices, onions and fresh curry leaves; tandoori scallops with tomato cilantro chutney; paneer tikka, with cottage cheese, yogurt, peppers and tomato; chicken chop, with coriander, clove and black cardamom; tandoori salmon with ginger, garlic, yogurt and garam masala; lamb vindaloo with peri-peri masala, onions, potato; lobster lababdar with onion, tomato, fenugreek and garam masala; green chili chicken with onion, tomato, dill, cilantro, peppers and spinach; and Bombay thali, with market fresh vegetables, paneer and dal. Entrées include rice, naan, garlic naan and roti. Prices will range from $18-$28. For dessert mango crème brulee with kiwi and pineapple; carrot halwa with carrot, milk, almonds and ginger cream, and rabri, an Indian milk pudding and fresh blueberries are featured.
A selection of new cocktails will also be showcased in January. They are priced from $10-$12 and include the Mango Bellini, with mango puree and sparkling wine; the Mumbai G&T, infused gin, lime and tonic; Raj Cup, Pimms lemon juice and soda; Singapore Sling, a very traditional recipe of port, lemon juice and sparkling wine; the Kamla (lotus flower) with vodka, St. Germain, lemon juice with a lemon sugar rim; and Punjabi Punch with orange juice, spices and Amrut Old Port Indian rum.
Legal Sea Food celebrating “Chowda Day”
In honor of National Soup Month, Legal Sea Foods has declared Jan. 15 Chowda Day. On that day, customers can enjoy Legal Sea Foods’ New England clam chowder for $1 a cup with the purchase of any entrée. There is a limit of one cup of chowder per entrée and no substitutions are accepted.
Chowda Day will be celebrated at three area locations — 704 7th St. NW, 2301 Jefferson Davis Hwy. in Crystal City and Tysons Galleria in McLean.
Katie Busch new chef at Bistro Vivant
Katie Busch is the new chef de cuisine for Bistro Vivant, 1394 Chain Bridge Rd., McLean. She will be responsible for the daily operations of the kitchen and the seasonally driven menu at the French restaurant.
A Philadelphia native, Busch, 29, most recently worked as executive chef at Hospada, a Czech restaurant in New York. Previously, she was a sous chef at Aureole by Charlie Palmer and David Burke Townhouse and the lead line cook at The Modern, also in New York.
Busch opened two restaurants with Chef Christopher Lee, Eden South Beach and Huntington Social. She also helped open Fishtail by David Burke. Her career also includes a stint to assist with the reopening of the Oak Room at the Plaza Hotel.
Editor-in-Chief Mark Heckathorn is a journalist, movie buff and foodie. He oversees DC on Heels editorial operations as well as strategic planning and staff development. Reach him with story ideas or suggestions at dcoheditor (at) gmail (dot) com.