Dining Notes

April 2018

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Whiskey Charlie, perched atop the Canopy by Hilton Hotel, provides an eye-popping view of the Southwest waterfron
Spicy eggplant salad is a popular dish at Dorjee Momo, located atop Bullfrog Bagels near Eastern Market

As Washington finally emerges from a seemingly endless winter, our neighborhood is buzzing with new arrivals, including a Tibetan pop-up. Ensconced in Bullfrog Bagels’s upper level at 317 Seventh Se. SE, Dorjee Momo showcases the cuisine of that Himalayan region. Besides house-made momo (dumplings), the 27-seat charmer also serves Sichuan-style hot pot for four persons. The latter must be ordered in advance.   

Our party of four arrived on a Sunday evening sans reservations. There was a 45-minute wait, but management consoled us with a glass of Chianti, Belgian beer and delicious sunflower buns filled with spinach, tofu, mustard oil and basil-cilantro sauce. We devoured these downstairs at the Bullfrog counter.

We were eventually seated in the cramped but convivial dining room. There we shared tongue-tingling Sichuan eggplant salad—beautifully presented with scallions, sesame and ginger. Spherical dumplings were filled with chicken or lamb, and cloaked with green onion, sesame and spices. Chicken dumpling soup tasted similar to Vietnamese pho, a savory broth laced with enokoi mushrooms, pea shoots and greens. Altogether a pleasurable dining experience. 

A Tibetan refugee, proprietor/chef Dorjee was a Buddhist monk and cook before fleeing to India. He eventually settled in the United States with his American wife. In Washington, Dorjee has cooked at Maketto (Atlas District) and Union Kitchen. Dorjee Momo is open Thursday through Sunday from 5:30 to 11 p.m. The pop-up is expected to operate through the end of the summer. For more information visit www.dorjeemomo.com.

Wharf Arrivals
The District Wharf also welcomes spring arrivals: Roberto Santibañez, Mexican-born chef/founder of the Fonda (New York) restaurant family, has unveiled Mi Vida Restaurante at 98 District Square. Emerging from his kitchen are authentic yet innovative dishes: corn cakes topped with caviar; tacos (pork, steak and chicken); mole-soaked enchiladas; daily catch flanked by black beans and tomatillo salsa; citrus-spiked tres leches cake.

The multi-level space provides patio seating on the ground floor; private dining rooms and a covered balcony facing District Pier. Mi Vida is open from 4 to 11 p.m, Monday through Thursday, 4 p.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday, and 4 to 10 p.m. Sunday. Coming soon: weekday lunch and weekend brunch.

Whiskey Charlie’s menu offers libations, savory bar snacks and small plates

High Above
Providing a jaw-dropping panorama of the U.S. Capitol and the Southwest waterfront is Whiskey Charlie, the penthouse bar perched atop the Canopy by Hilton Hotel. The menu offers “flying light snacks” like cheese and salami plates, lamb meatballs and crab cake sliders. On the hotel’s lobby level, Canopy Central Bistro serves similar fare. Whisking hotel guests and diners to their destinations are Star Wars-style talking elevators, which complement the hotel’s stark, futuristic design. Washington’s location is Canopy by Hilton’s third property; the original is in Reykjavik.

Canopy by Hilton is at 975 Seventh St. SW; call 202-488-2500 or visit www.canopy3.hilton.com.  

Spring Fling
Along the Capitol Riverfront near Nationals Park, The Salt Line’s Executive Chef Kyle Bailey (and RAMMY Award nominee) has added spring to his menu: sweet potato campanelle with house-made ricotta, spinach and parmesan; rock shrimp with noodles, green curry and coconut milk; seared rockfish with celery root; Hungarian goulash, duck confit, and a daily ’fresh catch.

Weather permitting, Salt Line’s outdoor bar is open. When the Nationals are out of town, happy hour goes weekdays from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. with $5 select draft beers, glasses of wine and $7 draft cocktails. Located at 79 Potomac Ave. SE, Salt Line is open daily. Call 202-506-2368 or visit www.thesaltline.com.

Timber Pizza bakes pies in a wood burning oven outdoors at Eastern Market

Market Watch—Pizza Here
Fairly new on Eastern Market’s outdoor scene is Timber Pizza, which bakes its pies in a wood-fired oven at various locations. On a recent Saturday, Peter and I checked it out. Since we purchased our pizza mid-afternoon, we received instructions for reheating (at 450 degrees for 5 minutes) for dinner that night. We chose the $13 “special,” topped with tomato sauce, cheese, salami and peppers. Other options include “cheese please,” “pretty pepperoni” and the veggie “green monster.” Our verdict: Delicious!

Operated by Chris Brady, the Hill stand is a spinoff of four-year-old Timber Pizza, a full service restaurant in Petworth and 2018 RAMMY Award finalist. You’ll find the Eastern Market spinoff most Saturdays. For more information call 443-254-8467 or visit www.TimberPizza.com.

Trader Joe’s
Near Union Market, Trader Joe’s unveiled its fourth DC location March 30. You’ll find the 15,000-square-foot TJ’s on the ground level of the Edison Building, a mixed-use project at 1240 Fourth St. NE. Entrance is at 350 Florida Avenue NE.      

Barracks Row Beat
At the foot of Barracks Row, La Mediterra Fusion Grill opened at 1102 Eighth St. SE, former site of a Peruvian chicken eatery and before that, Ziaffat (Pakistani). The newbie serves  hummus, stuffed grape leaves, salads and falafel, plus (halal) beef, lamb and chicken kebabs. La Mediterra is open daily for lunch and dinner. Dine in, carryout and delivery. Call 202-506-5120 or emailLaMediterra@gmail.com.

New Bakery/Café
A block from Union Market, Pluma by Bluebird has arrived at 391 Morse St. NE. Proprietors Camila Arango and Tom Wellings, who have provided Washington with wholesale pastries for years, have added a café/bakery. Besides its signature bread and pastries, Bluebird also serves salads, sandwiches and drinks. For more information call 202-544-2429 or visit www.plumabybluebird.com.

Wine About It
In the Atlas District, Dio Wine Bar has opened at 904 H St. NE. Operated by owner/general manager Stacy Khoury-Diaz and assistant GM Janine Copeland, the newcomer dispenses wine squeezed from organic or biodynamically farmed grapes. To complement the vino (offered by the bottle and glass) are deviled eggs, smoked salmon toast, goat cheese-stuffed dates, duck prosciutto, chili-spiked mango sorbet and olive oil ice cream. Dio is closed Monday; call 202-506-3103 or visit www.dinowinebar.com.

RAMMY FINALISTS
Congrats and good luck to Capitol Hill (and nearby) finalists for the 2018 RAMMY awards, presented annually—for various categories–by the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington. Winners will be announced at a black tie gala June 10 at the Walter Washington Convention Center.

  • Osteria Morini (Upscale Brunch)
  • Ambar and Maketto (Casual Brunch)
  • Pete Rymshaw, Salt Line (Employee)
  • Red Hen (Service)
  • Pichet Ong, Maketto (Pastry Chef)
  • Maketto (Upscale Casual)
  • ChiKo and Del Mar (New Restaurant)
  • Masseria (Formal Fine Dining)
  • Kyle Bailey, Salt Line, (Chef of the Year)
  • Atlas Brew Works (Fast Bites)
  • Ari Gejdenson (Mindful Restaurants), various locations, and Jamie Leeds, Hank’s various locations (Restaurateur of the Year)
  • Bluejacket (Regional Food and Beverage Producer)