HalfSmoke Coming to Shaw in August
Andre McCain will open the 100-seat, 4,000 square-foot HalfSmoke restaurant at 651 Florida Ave. NW in August.
McCain is combining high-end finishes and top-of-the-line equipment like wood-fired grills from Argentina at his casual restaurant in Shaw. The eatery will also feature a 16-seat bar serving on-tap wine, craft beer and specialty cocktails. gas-burning fireplaces throughout along with five large flat screen TVs, board games and a library for reading and sharing.
James Beard award-winning chef Bob Kinkead is consulting on the project and spearheading the kitchen. HalfSmoke will serve gourmet sausages via an assembly line format with house-made sausages and side dishes. The menu will also include house-made tater tots, mac and cheese balls, funnel cakes and milkshakes. The all-natural, hormone and antibiotic-free sausages will range from $7-$10 while sides will be priced from $3-$5 for sides.
“HalfSmoke will fill the void for a premium offering of one of America’s longstanding favorite foods, the sausage, which is the third most consumed item in America,” McCain said in a press release. “Our sausages and toppings can be fully customized to create over 50,000 variations…”
McCain came up with the concept for the Mess Hall culinary incubator’s http://dconheels.com/2015/07/13/no-stalled-truck/ Launchpad competition. A financier of five years turned restaurateur, after working at some fast casual restaurants including McDonald’s, Sweetgreen and Pret a Manger, McCain tapped D+K, the design team behind Cava Grill and Little Beet, to design HalfSmoke along with Hospitality Construction Services, Next Step Design, FACE Associates, Structura, and R.C. Fields and Associates. The interior includes reeded wood and cadet blue tiles that accentuate a sleek, modern Carrara bar top with eclectic lighting illuminating the existing brick walls. Floor-to-ceiling windows along Florida and Georgia Avenues will allow abundant natural light into the space.
The design features intimate spaces throughout the restaurant where diners can grab a seat at the open style kitchen bar, congregate in the side yard for a round of bags or cozy up to a fire in the curated library. There will also be a photo booth for diners to get their photo taken and pin it up on the wall.
El Centro D.F., La Sandia debut Destination: Mexico City menu
El Centro D.F., 1819 14th St. NW and 1218 Wisconsin Ave. NW, and La Sandia, 7852L Tysons Corner Center, are serving a new destination menu inspired by owner Richard Sandoval’s recent trip to Mexico City.
Twice a year, Sandoval and his corporate chefs travel to a different region of Mexico to research the area’s culinary heritage and foods. The result is a collection of new menu items that showcase the region’s flavors and culinary heritage. Available through Aug. 31, the Destination: Mexico City menu will be offered during both lunch and dinner service.
Dishes include chunky guacamole with avocado, heirloom cherry tomatoes, pickled pearl onion, radish, roasted Serrano pepper and tostada; crispy masa calamari with tajin, pickled mango, chile cascabel salsa, jalapeno aioli and charred lemon; mercado quesadilla with huitlacohe-corn masa, roasted mushrooms with epazote Oaxaca cheese, pinto bean chipotle puree, crema fresca, and chile poblano vinaigrette; gordita de chicharron with chicaron-corn masa, romaine lettuce salad, panela cheese, pico de gallo, chile cascabel salsa and crème fresca; mixed greens salad with radish, cucumber, tomato, red onion, carrot, jicama and charred lemon-agave vinaigrette; squash blossom taco with goat cheese stuffed squash blossom, Negra Modelo beer battered pickled vegetables and salsa crudo (El Centro only); Mexico City-style pambazo burger, a beef and chorizo patty with Mexican cheeses, romaine lettuce, crema fresca, pickled chile and salsa verde on adobado bread; ancho rubbled lamb ribs with chimichurri verde and black bean plum salsa; and el machete, a N,Y. grilled strip with corn tortilla, Oaxaca cheese, epazote, mushroom, truffle oil, pasilla salsa and guajillo salsa. Prices range from $7.95-$24.75.
For the perfect pairing, there are two new cocktails at El Centro priced at $12 each. El Chapo is made with El Silencio mezcal, lime, agave nectar, kiwi and ginger; and the Moni“K”a with El Silencio mezcal, Ancho Reyes, Southern Comfort, pineapple, Serrano and lime.
Restaurant celebrate the return of summer tomatoes
Knightsbridge Restaurant Group continues its annual tomato festival. Each of the eight restaurants will celebrate the return of the vine-ripe tomato with a month-long special. Grown locally by farmer Jay Faucher, the restaurants will showcase specials that highlight the vegetable now through Aug. 14.
Bibiana Osteria-Enoteca, 1100 New York Ave. NW, is serving a three-course menu starting with pappa al pomodoro, warm Tuscan tomato and bread soup with stracciatella and focaccia crostini; polipo, grilled octopus with heirloom tomatoes, gigante beans, spiced arugula pesto and olio primo, and crostata di ricotta, house-made ricotta and green zebra tomato tart with watermelon “prosciutto” and guanciale jam. For the second course, diners can choose costoletta alla Milanese, Milano style breaded bone-in veal chop with Roma tomatoes, peppercress and shaved parmigiano; risotto al pomodoro, roasted San Marzano tomato “stained” risotto with ‘nduja sausage and ricotta salata; and tonno “palermitana,” one side grilled bigeye tuna steak with roasted ox heart tomato and sardine terrine. Dessert selections include milk panna cotta with lime curd, sweet wine poached tomato, grilled pineapple and tomato water sorbet; or torta di pomodoro, tear drop tomato cake with compressed strawberries, granola, balsamic reduction, and lemon gelato.
701 Restaurant, 701 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, will offer a three-course menu with appetizers such as a chilled cucumber soup with tzatziki sorbet, heirloom tomato salsa, lamb sausage and pita chips; heirloom tomato tartare with green mole, masa cracker and mustard caviar; and tomato funnel cake with burrata, tomato sambal, confit Sun Gold tomatoes and ramp powder. For the entrée course, diners will enjoy smoked duck breast with green tomatoes, plantains, black beans, and aji amarillo sauce; branzino with sour corn polenta, bulb onions and tomato- chili dashi; or cauliflower shawarma with sesame hummus, heirloom tomato jam, Sun Gold tomatoes and lavash. Dessert includes tomato-tamarind-honey ice cream with tomato honey and smoked pistachio streusel; and peach pavlova with confit Sun Gold tomatoes, meringue crisps and raspberry.
Ardeo+Bardeo, 3311 Connecticut Ave. NW, is serving a three-course tasting menu with a glass of rosé wine $50. The dishes include a starter of heirloom tomato and watermelon gazpacho with crispy prosciutto and goat cheese corn fritters, followed by cioppino with king crab, shrimp, squid, grilled heirloom tomatoes and grilled country bread. For dessert, diners can enjoy Genoise sponge cake with macerated cherry tomatoes and strawberry compote, basil gelato and candied pistachios.
Nopa Kitchen + Bar, 800 F St. NW, is offering a three-course menu with featured starters that include watermelon and tomato gazpacho with Fresno chili yogurt, lemon basil and pickled watermelon; tomato and ricotta gnudi with Carolina gold tomato conserva, basil puree, smoked pine nuts and honey mushrooms; and burrata and arugula salad with lobster terrine, marigolds, house Old Bay, Steve’s tomatoes and tomato-buttermilk vinaigrette. The second course includes choices of tomato infused spaghetti with Dungeness crab, Calabrian chili, garlic scapes and bottarga; pan roasted Coho salmon with heirloom tomato confit, patty pan squash, watercress, smoked corn puree and basil emulsion, and grilled prime coulotte steak with braised chanterelles, crispy herbed farro, black cherry vierge and creamed Tuscan kale. Dessert is a choice of Brandywine tomato and Anson Mills cornmeal tart with fig vincotto and sweet corn ice cream; or warm black cherry tomato and plum pain perdu with challah and lemon thyme sabayon.
The Oval Room, 800 Connecticut Ave. NW., will feature appetizers such as chilled tomato gazpacho with watermelon, jalapeño, cilantro and an olive oil crouton; and heirloom tomato salad with mozzarella di bufala, balsamic caviar, basil sorbet and smoked olive oil. Entrée selections include acquerello risotto with aged pecorino, heirloom tomatoes, cinnamon basil and olio verde novello; house-made linguine with roasted San Marzano tomatoes, crab, fresh chilies and sea urchin emulsion; and olive oil-poached cod with avocado purée, baby cucumber, green tomato jam and heirloom tomato nage. Dessert includes tomato tiramisu with tomato ladyfinger, basil mascarpone and tomato-basil ice cream; or tomato panna cotta with red wine sorbet, rye croutons and lemon basil emulsion.
The Bombay Club, Rasika and Rasika West End will offer a daily special tomato dish for lunch and dinner.
Royal Knights honors the Rickey
The Royal, 501 Florida Ave. NW, is honoring the rickey – the District’s official cocktail created in the 1880s at Shoomaker’s bar downtown – with Rickey Royalty at the July edition of its monthly Royal Knights spirits exploration series from 9 p.m.-1 a.m. on Monday, July 11.
Guest bartender J.P. Fetherson of the Columbia Room will collaborate on the all-rickey cocktail menu, Flying Dog Brewery will showcase its new summer radler and Chef Yuan Tang of the forthcoming Rooster & Owl will serve up creative snacks.
The eight rickeys, all priced at $8, include the Rickey Happy with Mizu lemongrass shochu, refresco de ensalada, lime and sparkling mineral water; the Rikety Cricket with Mina Real reposado, mole bitters, peach, lime and soda; the classic gin rickey with Hayman’s Old Tom gin, lime and sparkling mineral water; Such is Mango with Hamilton 86 rum, mango shrub, white peppercorn/serrano syrup, charred lime and soda; the Rickey Lojano with Rujero singani, horchata lojana, Dolin Rouge vermouth, lime and ginger beer; the Squidkey with Henri Vallet amaro, ginger syrup, orange juice, lemon, mint and soda; and the Rye-key with Dad’s Hat rye port finish, Campari, lemon and Flying Dog hibiscus grapefruit radler.
Tang will serve a menu of snacks and small bites like the R&O corndog with lamb gyro and honey tzaziki; heirloom carrots with ginger-yogurt, toasted almonds and queso fresco; roasted trumpet mushrooms with grilled asparagus, green harissa and black vinegar; and Vietnamese glazed pork ribs with peanuts and green papaya slaw.
Dog days: Frozen treats for pups and owners
We may be in the dog days of summer, but two area restaurants are offering diners and their dogs special treats on the patio to cool down.
Beginning July 12 through the end of the month, Bastille, 606 N. Fayette St. at The Asher in Old Town Alexandria is featuring homemade ice cream treats. The menu includes Café Liégeois, espresso ice cream, espresso, chocolate crunch and Chantilly crème ; Dame Blanche, vanilla bean ice cream, warm chocolate fudge sauce and Chantilly crème; and Tropic, passion fruit sorbet, vanilla ice cream, toasted Congolais, passion fruit caramel and Chantilly crème. Each is priced at for $9.
For diners’ canine friends, which are welcome to join their owners on Bastille’s spacious patio, there is the Cloud Nine Ice Cream Bowl. The canine healthy icy treat is a mixture of banana, peanut butter, yogurt and honey.
Macon Bistro & Larder, 5520 Connecticut Ave. NW, is offering “Yappy Hour” for pups and their human companions every Saturday from noon-4 p.m. through Sept. Sept 3 on its front outdoor patio.
Guests and their dogs can cool off with three frozen popsicles. The restaurant will also offer $6 house red and white wine, $6 beer and complimentary dog treats. Popsicles range from $3 for the canine variety to $7 for the adult-friendly flavors. Dog-friendly popsicles are made with chicken or beef broth, white peaches, strawberries, blueberries, and a stalk of asparagus as the stick. Adult-friendly popsicles are created with Smooth Ambler Greenbrier gin, strawberries, blueberries, white Peaches and orange Juice, while kid-friendly popsicles are made with strawberries, blueberries and orange juice.
Also, the bar is offering a Catalonia Freeze made with Abadal Rosat Spanish rose, Bauchant orange liqueur, diced strawberries, whole raspberries, lemon juice, honey and mint, blended on ice and served in a mason jar with a mint garnish for $14.
The Riggsby celebrates first anniversary
The Riggsby, 1731 New Hampshire Ave. NW in the Carlyle Hotel, will celebrate its first anniversary on Tuesday, July 12 with throwback menu specials in the dining room and a cocktail party in the lounge and bar.
The all-night cocktail party is a ticketed event with a welcome cocktail and passed hors d’oeuvres between 7-10 p.m. for $35. Classics like deviled eggs, as well as mini lobster rolls and tavern burger sliders will be on the menu. Tickets can be purchased online or at the door with additional drinks at the bar.
In the dining room, the full a la carte menu will be available, with two specials: clams casino, littleneck clams stuffed with bacon, breadcrumbs and herb butter ($15) and crown rack of lamb stuffed with ground lamb and served with Mediterranean couscous and tzatziki ($45 per person/minimum two people).
Also, the restaurant’s prime rib Sunday will be replaced with a baked lobster dinner for the summer. Available every Sunday evening, the $49 prix fixe menu offers a first course of a seasonal soup or salad, a second course of one whole stuffed lobster served with French fries and seasonal vegetables and a dessert of seasonal pie or cobbler.
Area restaurants celebrate Bastille Day
While fireworks and festivity ring throughout France on Thursday in celebration of La Fête Nationale, two area restaurants will celebrate all weekend with four-days of festivities.
Bastille, 606 N. Fayette St. at The Asher in Old Town Alexandria, will serve a menu from the Bordeaux region of France for Bastille Day weekend.
The menu includes three prix fixe options: three courses for $39 with an optional $24 wine pairing; four courses for $49 with an optional $30 wine pairing; and five courses for $59 with an optional $35 wine pairing. The dishes are also available a la carte.
The menu offers selections from appetizers of terrine de foie gras and salade de melons with country bread croutons to hors d’oeuvres including escargots au pistou and tarte aux aubergines and entrees from magret de canard aux pêches to loup de mer et sa paella and more. There is also a variety of desserts including gâteau au fromage et fruits rouges and flan pâtissier along with an artisanal cheese selection.
Le Diplomate, 1601 14th St. NW, will celebrate La Fête Nationale with four-days of festivities featuring a streetside glacé cart, live accordion and mime performances, celebratory cocktails, brunches, children’s activities and a petanque court from July 14-17.
The streetside glacé cart will feature rotating varieties of freshly churned glacé, a French style of ice cream using a base of custard and egg yolks to create a creamy confection, including toasted coconut, baba au rhum glacé, raspberry macaron and an elderflower sorbet.
The restaurant’s patio will convert into a pétanque court, where guests can try their hand at the classic French game similar to bocce where two teams compete to throw hollow metal balls closest to the target wooden ball. At 4 p.m., children’s activities begin including face painting and a balloon artist. During the celebration, Le Diplomate will open at 11 a.m. for brunch and remain open all day for coffee, lunch, L’apero and dinner. Guests will be entertained by a mime and accordion music.
The bar will feature French tipples, such as Egalité with Grey Goose cherry noir, Combier cassis, Cointreau and lemon; Liberté with Lillet blanc, Citadel gin and saffron bitters; Fraternité with Dubonnet rouge, Domaine Tariquet, 3 Star Armagnac, bitters and lime; and Pastis Cobbler with Pernod, cucumber, mint and orange. Large carafes serve 4-5 guests. The Saint Antoine with St. Germaine elderflower liquor, house-made peach shrub and sparkling wine will be served in a complimentary St. Germaine pitcher that guests keep. For non-drinkers and little ones, there will be the Cosette, a virgin cocktail made with mint, basil, cassis syrup, lime and ginger ale.
Belgian Restaurant Week returns July 15-21
Belgian Restaurant Week is back, and from July 15-21, Belgian toques in town will unite in honoring their heritage with special menus, parties and dinners showcasing Belgian culture and cuisine, culminating in the 185th annual celebration of Belgian National Day on Thursday, July 21.
Belgian-influenced restaurants participating in this year’s week-long event include Brasserie Beck, 1101 K St. NW; Mussel Bar & Grille, 800 N. Glebe Road, Arlington, and 7262 Woodmont Ave., Bethesda; Belga Café, 514 Eight St. SE; BToo, 1324 14th St. NW; Haute Saison Wafel Bar & Catering, 1309 Fifth St. NE in Union Market; and The Sovereign, 1206 Wisconsin Ave. NW.
Brasserie Beck and Mussel Bar & Grille will be offering specials each day. During lunch, they will serve a special marinated turkey doner kebab sandwich, a spit-roasted flat bread sandwich with pickled onions, feta cheese, lettuce, cabbage and tzatziki sauce along with waffle fries $12.
They will also serve Antigoon’s Revenge, a hybrid that is part cocktail, part Antigoon, owner Robert Wiedmaier’s own Belgian beer label. It is part sweet ginger liqueur, Domaine de Canton, and part St. Germaine elderflower liqueur with a splash of lemon juice shaken and strained into a Martini glass, topped with Antigoon Double Blonde and garnished with a lemon wheel for $9.
Also, each day will offer diners who check-in on Facebook during dinner throughout the week will receive a $20 gift card to use on a future visit. Daily specials include a complimentary Belgian chocolate fountain with fruit, marshmallows, pretzels, candy and cookies, and ice cream to make your very own La Dame Blanche hot chocolate sundae with each entrée purchase on Sunday. On Monday, there will be half-price Belgian beer all day and complimentary Belgian boudin blanc sliders topped with house-made pickles and whole grain mustard on a soft bun. Two-for-Tuesday will feature a family-style shrimp feast for two with garlic and herb grilled shrimp and curried shrimp croquettes with Belgian Frîtes and a Belgian endive salad for $22. Waffle Wednesday features mini-Belgian waffles for $1 each drizzled with either semi-sweet Belgian chocolate or speculoos sauce. And on Thursday, July 21, the restaurant offers mussel madness with all-you-can-eat mussels for $24.
Beyond their individual daily specials, the restaurants will band together for some collective events celebrating their Belgian national pride:
7 for 7 Dinner
Tuesday, July 19, at 6:30 p.m.
BToo, 1324 14th Street NW
Celebrating seven years of Belgian Restaurant Week, seven chefs will each prepare a signature dish paired with Belgian beers. From the “Betsy Gin” beer cocktail to the sweet finish seven courses later, it will be a mighty fine Franco-Flemish feast. Tickets include seven courses with beer and cocktail pairings, tax and gratuity.
Mussel Throw Down
Thursday, July 21, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
Storey Park, 1005 First St. NE
The chefs flaunt their Belgian prowess on Belgian National Day. In hot competition, each chef will preparing unique variations of mussels. Guests can indulge in mussels, frites and waffles, and drink Stella Artois. One lucky person will win a round-trip ticket to Brussels Tickets may be purchased in advance at the door the day of the event.
Thursday, July 21, 10:30 p.m.
Belga Café, 514 Eighth Street SE
Party as Belgians do with a $10 cover charge and a celebration that lasts all night long.
Tickets for all events can be purchased online.
Del Campo at Dusk features tiki theme
Del Campo, 900 Seventh St. NW, continues its summer rooftop series with the return of tiki night from 7-10 p.m. on Friday, July 15.
Diners can enjoy an evening of suckling pig, spam fried rice, a poke bar, raw oyster bar and other tiki-inspired bites on the restaurant’s rooftop deck. https://www.eventbrite.com/e/del-campo-at-dusk-tiki-party-tickets-25911217148 Admission and food is $37 with an optional $30 charge for cocktails such as mai tais and zombies, beer and wine. A cash bar is also available.
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.