Saturday, January 15, 2011

Washington, DC - 14th Street Restaurants

It always amazes me how a formerly unsavory neighborhood can spring up and gentrify, seemingly, overnight. Maybe it is our need to spread out and find a space of our own, or perhaps it is the explorer in all of us who is inspired to forge ahead and discover new 'lands'. Whatever the motivation may be, the result is more oftentimes than not a new and buzzing area with unique shops and restaurants and a real sense of neighborhood; an area of town so alive that it makes us sit back and ask ourselves, "Why didn't we think of this sooner?"
One such neighborhood that has really come into its own over the last two years is 14th Street, between Logan and Thomas Circles, in Washington, D.C. I recently dined at three of the restaurants in this area over the course of a long weekend in D.C. and want to share with you the culinary fervor that has really excited this part of the city.

Birch & Barley: A glass garage door front, hardwood floors, exposed brick walls covered in candle sconces and an open kitchen set the stage for a menu of all your favorite classic American dishes, with a twist. If you are a beer lover, the upstairs will be an embarrassment of riches: 555 types of artisanal beer from over thirty countries are on hand. The Brät Burger with Beer-Braised Sauerkraut and Emmenthaler cheese will not disappoint.

What I Ordered: I went for their well-known Sunday brunch and had a plate of three homemade fried doughnuts: bittersweet chocolate, lemon-poppy glazed and toffee-bacon, along with a sausage, egg and cheese between two warm creme fraiche biscuits.

                            (Preceding four photos © Powers & Crewe Photography)

Cork Wine Bar: Every neighborhood needs a wine bar like this: casual, affordable, indoor and outdoor tables, small plates and the chance to try over 50 wines by the glass and 160 bottles from wineries all over the world. Cork also offers wine tastings and events twice a month and have a shop nearby where you can purchase many of the wines you sipped at the restaurant, as well as prepared foods, cheeses and baked goods.
What I Ordered: Romaine hearts with creamy anchovy dressing and pecorino, thinly sliced avocado sprinkled with pistachios on grilled crispy bread, roasted brussel sprouts with pancetta and brown butter, lemon and black pepper dusted calamari, sauteed black sea bass, pan-roasted organic chicken breast, french fries with garlic, parsley and homemade ketchup. What I wanted to try but didn't have room for: double chocolate torte with chopped hazelnuts.

Zentan: a smoldering sexy and dark place inside the Donovan House Hotel (Thompson Hotel Group), the inventive Asian kitchen is headed up by famous chef Susur Lee. Get your sushi and sashimi fix here too. In warmer weather, a portion of the menu is offered at the private rooftop pool bar. 
What I Ordered: Veuve Cliquot to start (but of course, it was Saturday night), Singapore slaw with 19 ingredients(don't ask me what they are), salted plum dressing and hazelnuts, crusted vegetable dumplings, caramelized black cod, Cantonese marinated skirt steak, wasabi mashed potato (don't be put off, they are green!) and Tahitian vanilla bean crème brûlée.
                             (Photo © Thompson Hotel) Pin It

1 comment:

  1. cork is one of my favorite places in DC with tasty food and an extensive wine list to suit anyone's palate. and i love the ambiance at cork - comfortable and cozy - just what i need in these frigid january temperatures!