Radiator Opens in Former Helix Lounge
Radiator, a cocktail bar with small plates, opens on Thursday, April 28, in Kimpton’s new Mason & Rook Hotel, 1430 Rhode Island Ave. NW. Mason & Rook was formerly the Hotel Helix.
The name is a reference to 14th Street’s past when it was lines with car dealerships and auto repair shops.
Designed by D.C.’s GrizForm Design Architects, the space includes industrial elements. The 57-seat bar area includes a 12-seat communal table and is accented with dark woods and leather with checkerboard floors and vintage car parts. The 23-seat lounge and private dining room includes nooks where small groups can gather. There are games such as backgammon, chess and Jenga. During warmer weather, a 50-seat patio features a large fire pit with sofas and armchairs and a shuffleboard court under a retractable mesh overhang. There is also life-sized Connect Four.
“We’re embracing the shift toward unpretentious dining, while remaining mindful of quality and craft in both food and drink,” said lead bartender Sarah Rosner. “Radiator is first and foremost a hangout spot for the neighborhood where you can grab fun, funky bar snacks or more composed large-format plates alongside your perfectly made cocktail.”
Rosner, who comes from Copycat Co., Derek Brown’s Eat the Rich, Marvin, Townhouse Tavern and Jack Rose Dining Saloon, designed a bar program built on the classics, but with room to play and experiment. Her cheeky house creations include the Big Boy Pants made with blended scotch, lemon, raw honey and strawberry and a rosemary garnish; the Singani-based Bolivian Sage with muddled strawberry, fresh sage, lemon juice, house-made orgeat and pineapple juice; the Barr Knees with Bar Hill gin, yellow chartreuse, lemon, raw honey and grapefruit bitters; the Rickey Goes to Hawaii with gin, li hing powder, lime and soda; and Folk Art with muddled lime, mint leaves, Cynar, aged rum, green chartreuse and pineapple juice. Cocktails are priced from $12-$14.
There are also a few local craft beers on draft including Port City Optimal Whit, Three Stars Peppercorn Saison, D.C. Brau Corruption, Union Brewing Blackwing Lager and Chesapeake Oyster Stout along with Lagunitas Pils, Flying Dog Pearl Necklace and Budweiser. There are another nine beers in cans or bottles including Flying Dog Numero Uno, Atlas Rowdy, Troegs Perpetual and Lost Rhino Icebreaker. Beers are $7-$11. Radiator has eight wines by the glass priced from $7-$11 and another 27 by the bottle for $28-$92. It also highlights a curated range of whiskeys and off-the-beaten path spirits.
The menu from executive chef Jonathan Dearden, a Sterling, Va., native formerly executive chef at Ardeo+Bardeo, includes snacks, shareable plates and large-format items on the small menu (there’s only 21 items on the dinner menu). It is divided into food you eat with your hands and food you eat with a fork and includes Caribbean, .Creole, French and Pan-Asian influences.
Handheld items on the menu include and lamb belly tacos with curried chickpeas, tzatziki, feta and mint; kimchi pickles with cucumber, mango and jicama; Serrano ham and fontina cheese croquetas with fig jam; the Rad burger with red onion marmalade, cambozola cheese and truffle fries; and bacon fat fries with smoked sea salt. Dishes you will need a fork to eat include rockfish with black rice, turnip slaw and poblano peppers; harissa-roasted romanesco with black bean hummus and cilantro tabbouleh; octopus a la plancha with fingerling potatoes, green olives and piquillo vinaigrette; gnocchi with lollipop kale, beech mushrooms, truffle pecorino and arugula pesto; scallops with calasparra rice, chorizo, saffron and pea shoots; beef cheek ravioli with burrata puree, savory spinach and tomato confit; and Wagyu bavette steak with parmesan potatoes, roasted garlic and a cabernet demi glace. Dinner plates run from $6-$29 each.
The restaurant’s breakfast menu includes the typical Americana breakfast with two eggs, potato hash, toast and meat; eggs Benedict with Serrano ham; and smoked salmon on a bagel with caperberries, red onion and whipped cream cheese; as well as a ratatouille vegetable omelet with spinach, mushrooms and zucchini served with potato hast, and toast, and Nutella French toast with roasted banana, whipped cream and cocoa nibs. Breakfast dishes range from $10-$17 with sides priced from $5-$6, fresh pressed juices for $9 and other drinks from $4-$6.
Radiator serves breakfast from 7-10:30 a.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m.-11 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Sunday brunch will be served from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. beginning May 15. Dinner is available from 5-10:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 5 p.m.-11:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. It does not serve lunch. The bar opens daily at 4 p.m. with happy hour from 4-6 p.m. and late night bites from 10:30-11:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11:30 p.m.-12:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.