News to Digest
Spring's finest offerings are appearing on menus around town. Ramps, asparagus, spring peas and soft shells are just a hint of what's to come. One premier local restaurant will pay tribute to some of the season's best produce with themed weekly dinners, while a favorite Hill destination starts a delectable Sunday brunch with many nods to spring flavors.
A Masterful Summer Plan
Maestro welcomes summer with a series of Wednesday night themed dinners. The specials will run through July 25 with a different focus and menu each week. The five-course prix fixe meal includes wine pairings and costs $150 per person. This month, the dinners showcase foods from different regions of Italy. Tonight highlights the food of Venice, while Rome and the Amalfi Coast are on the docket for the next two weeks.
In June and July, each week's menu showcases a single ingredient. The calendar is as follows:
June 6: White asparagus
June 13: Artichokes
June 27: Tomatoes
July 11: Lobster
July 18: Crab
July 25: Summer vegetables
Wine choices should be particularly interesting for artichokes and asparagus -- two notoriously difficult pairings -- so expect creative flavors from sommelier Vincent Feraud. Diners should also expect whimsical finishing touches from pastry chef Tom Wellings, a Rammy award nominee for Pastry Chef of the Year.
A Taste of Laboratorio
Chef Roberto Donna recreates the spirit of Galileo's interactive Laboratorio with a tasting night at Bebo Trattoria. This six-course menu is offered at 8:30 p.m. this Friday, May 11, and again on Friday, June 29. Unlike Laboratorio, the private dining room does not have a special kitchen for the interactive cooking experience, but Donna will present and explain each course as it is served. The menu, which will incorporate seasonal specials, is not finalized until the day of the dinner. The cost is $65 per person with wine pairings for an additional $35.
Steak for Brunch
Charlie Palmer Steak, one of the power lunch destinations on the Hill, is revving up Sunday with a brand new brunch. The restaurant started serving a $36 prix fixe brunch last Sunday and it could be reason enough to start conducting business on Sundays. With options like blue crab soup, charcuterie and grilled shrimp on the appetizers list alone, this is one decadent brunch list. Entrees include a kobe flat iron steak, oxtail frittata and rockfish with crab risotto. A Belgian waffle makes a dandy side dish at $4 and there is a selection of cakes, pie and a peach cobbler to round it out.
New Around Town
After last-minute problems with its liquor license, Mio opened its doors late last week. Designed as a retro-chic lounge with a whitewashed brick wall, the restaurant feels refreshingly different from the standard office building layout that plagues so many D.C. restaurants. The front features live piano, and the dining room is partitioned into three segments, including an elevated level that can serve as a private dining area.
Chef JohnPaul Damato came from Jaleo, and his Spanish touches grace the menu through flavors, types of cheese and sauces. The menu offers a series of salads and small plates, including whole calamari with tomatoes and capers and a carpaccio with sofrito. Entrees will change regularly, and they are grouped by preparation: Flat Iron and Grill, Pots and Pans and Roasted or Braised. Grilled semi boneless quails stuffed with spinach and feta with grape sauce live under the Grill section, while sautÃ©ed mushrooms and greens on polenta are an enticing option under Pots and Pans. Sides include a wide array of options such as pan-fried okra in cornmeal, caramelized sunchokes and creamy polenta with Spanish blue cheese. On the cocktail menu: mojito, caipirinha, a blood orange margarita and a white wine with muddled strawberries. The wine list features a strong European base with a good variety of Spanish varietals and also standout choices from Chile, California and Australia. The restaurant offers the option of creating your own flight of wines.
Mio starts lunch service next Wednesday.
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