Capitol Cuisine

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It’s been a busy summer in our ‘hood. Near Eastern Market, Pesce Too, a spinoff of Dupont Circle’s venerable fish-centric restaurant, has popped up atop Bullfrog Bagels. Located at 317 Seventh St. SE, the upscale newcomer showcases chef Andrew LaPorta’s lobster bisque, grilled octopus, linguine-and-clams, whole grilled fish, braised oxtail. Beer and wine are available. Pesce is open Wednesday-Saturday for dinner only; for reservations visit www.opentable.com/pesce-restaurant.

And….Due to open any day now across the street: Eat Brgz, 250 Seventh St. SE, next to District Vet. At this burger emporium, diners customize their burgers with Black Angus beef (or chicken or veggie patties) merged with choice of toppings: feta cheese, Kalamata olives, sundried tomatoes, house-made seasoning. Escorted by tzatziki, queso or mojo, the plump patties are snuggled between Washington’s own Lyon Bakery bread.

Created by Brandon Gaynor, the 1,600-square-foot Eat Brgz provides plenty of seating—indoor and out. The interior is designed by Jon Siani and Aria Group, with artwork by Brooklyn artist Phil Powers.

A favorite Bombay Street Food dish is saag paneer, spicy spinach laced with Indian-style cottage cheese. Photo: Celeste McCall

Indian Street Sense
Last month on Barracks Row, Mumbai-born Asad Sheikh, unveiled Bombay Street Food 2, at 524 Eighth St. SE. Gone is the battleship-grey façade of the space’s predecessor, Garrison. Now, the colorful exterior beckons customers to Sheikh’s second Bombay Street; his original opened seven months ago in Columbia Heights. Bombay’s eye candy continues inside, with beautiful murals Sheikh compiled himself by downloading images from Google and having them printed. The murals depict Gandhi, the late Anthony Bourdain, other A-listers and ordinary folks.

Bombay Street Food 2 owner Asad Sheikh serves goat birayani to customer Nan Raphael. Photo: Celeste McCall

We began with spicy tandoor wings, and they mean spicy. The half dozen wings were exotically flavored with a mean after-burn. Raita, the yogurt/cucumber dip, quenched the fires. Served in a gleaming brass dish is Bombay Biryani, the basmati rice mélange, capped with a circle of naan with choice of protein. We got the goat, which arrives fresh daily from a Virginia farm.
Vegetarian dishes shine, including our favorite—saag paneer–spinach with chunky farmers cheese. Lunchtime specials attract Congressional staffers and there’s a kids menu. Other bargains honor nearby Marines (please present your ID). Weekend brunch brings the regular menu plus scrambled eggs or chicken with vegetables, home fries.. For now: beer and wine only. Open daily for lunch and dinner. Call 202-558-9506 or visit www.bombaystreetfood.us.

Belly Up
Nearby, Brick Lane Restaurant has morphed into Marrakech. Located near Dupont Circle, the original Marrakech closed for “relocating.” It resurfaced at 517 Eighth St. SE with Moroccan fare and weekend belly dancers. (Brick Lane’s co-owner is originally from Morocco.) The (dinner only) North African menu includes tabouleh (parsley/bulgar salad), rice-filled grape leaves, watermelon salad, buttermilk-fried calamari, lamb sausage, plus burgers and sandwiches.

Brick Lane/Marrakech is open daily for lunch and dinner. Call 202-675-2002 or visit www.bricklane-restaurant-dc.com.

More Barracks Row
Caribbean/fusion food truck Qui Qui has partnered with Valor, 723 8th St, SE, Sundays and Mondays through August. (Qui Qui is the childhood nickname of chef/owner Ismael Mendez.) He hooks up with Yorman Sanchez, formerly of Osteria Morini and A Rake’s Progress ….The first floor of the former Phase One women’s bar, 525 Eighth St. SE, will become a Japanese ramen and izakaya (small plates) café. For the enterprise, Red Rock Pizza owner James O’Brien joins a group of silent investors. No name or opening date is set.

New Italian
I recently accompanied my Red Hat group for lunch at Nostra Cucina, formerly Bistro Italiano. Tucked into a townhouse behind Schneider’s liquor store, Nostra Cucina is easy to miss. Look for the Italian flag out front. A mirror on the rear wall makes the 35-seat restaurant seem larger. Owners are Jose Joya and his father Luis, who worked at A. Litteri Italian grocery for 30 years before buying the restaurant. (Located near Union Market, the 93-year-old A. Litteri has been purchased by “wine guy” Kenneth Nankervis.)

Nothing trendy at Nostra Cucina: fried calamari; salad Caprese; house-made pastas, salmon, veal marsala, eggplant parmesan and pizzas including “build-your-own.” Decibel level is high, making conversation difficult. Located at 320 D St. NE, Nostra Cucina is open six days a week for lunch and dinner, closed Sundays. Call 202-546-4522 or visit www.nostracucinadc.com.

Crunchy Burmese tea leaf salad is a customer favorite at the Atlas District’s Thamee. Photo: Celeste McCall

Burmese Daughter
Thamee, the Atlas District Burmese eatery, is short on space but long on charm. Located at 1320 H St. NE, Thamee, “daughter” in Burmese, is tiny, with just 14 tables. The “daughter” is co-owner Simone Jacobson, offspring of Burma-born chef Law-Yone, who also operates Toli Moli in Union Market. Her business partner is Eric Yang. We’re specially captivated by the pan-fried dumplings, a quartet of emerald-hued pockets stuffed with savory ground beef (or veggies).

Escorted by a tangy dipping sauce, emerald green dumplings emerge from Thamee’s busy kitchen. Photo: Celeste McCall

Burmese kitchens are known for hin–curries—which incorporate coconut, chicken, pork, eggplant and even mangos. Peter ordered mohinga, the “national dish of Burma,” popular breakfast fare similar to China’s congee. In fact, Simone dubbed Peter an honorary Burmese for ordering it. Thamee also showcases whole steamed branzino. Complementing these spicy dishes is butterfly limeade, a refreshing mint-infused beverage. There’s also a full bar. Our tab, $60 for two, arrived in a mini coconut shell. Thamee is closed Tuesday; call 202-750-6529 or visit www.thamee.com.

Coming…
A Neapolitan-style pizzeria owned and operated by deaf personnel is headed for the Atlas District next spring. Look for it in the Baldwin apartment complex at 1300 H St. NE. The location is a natural for Mozzeria, due to its proximity to Gallaudet University. That’s where where Mozzeria’s owners Melody Stein and Russ Stein, first met. (Last fall, Starbucks opened its first US Signing Store a few blocks away at 625 H. All employees must be proficient in American Sign Language (ASL).

Summer Restaurant Week
Coming up August 12-18: Summer Restaurant Week, sponsored by the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington (RAMW). Many Washington area restaurants—some in our neighborhood–will offer pre-fixe $35 dinner and $22 lunch/brunch options. Regular menus will also be available. For more information visit www.RWDMV.com.

The write-up on Mozzeria has been edited to reflect the preferred terminology of the deaf community, as per community feedback. The Hill Rag regrets the error.