Lupo Verde (1401 T St. NW, 202/827-4752) is as close as it gets to an Italian trattoria like those that make a search for a good neighborhood restaurant so rewarding in San Francisco and New Orleans.
The bar is downstairs, and long, high tables are set up along the windows that provide a view of T Street. Opposite one of them is the salumi “room,” a small glassed-in space filled with Italian hams, sausages and cheeses. It’s fun to watch the chef help prepare wooden boards of salumi and cheeses decorated with small pots of honey and strawberry jam, a few pieces of fruit and delicious bread. Portions are generous, and there are dozens of choices.
Upstairs there’s a dining room with white tablecloths and a view of busy 14th Street. Enjoy the view with a brunch cocktail called “principessa” made of peach puree, grapefruit bitters and prosecco.
The Green Wolf (English for “lupo verde”) recently started serving weekend brunch as well as nightly dinner. The menu is excellent and reasonable, and includes some original Italian fare. For example, maltagliati are delectable small square pasta made of breadcrumbs and sauced with eggplant, ricotta, cherry tomatoes and Parmesan. Crepes filled with Nutella and poached eggs in a tomato sauce are brunch specials. Strozzatreti (“priest chokers”) are an elongated version of cavatelli. Legend has it that the pasta is so named because gluttonous priests were so delighted with the tasty dish that they gobbled it down too quickly and choked. So eat slowly and enjoy.
Caffe La Tomate (1701 Connecticut Ave. NW, 202/667-5505), another neighborhood place with good Italian eats, is now open for breakfast and light meals. Breakfast pastries, including croissants, are first rate. The menu includes a number of sandwiches such as the “piadina,” a combination of creamy stracchino cheese, prosciutto and arugula; the “tramezzini Ilaria,” which is a spread of fresh tuna, anchovies, mascarpone and cream cheese; and the “guido” — in-house smoked salmon with chive infused mascarpone cheese.
There are several specialty coffee drinks, including a “marocchino freddo” — a delicious mixture of espresso, chocolate and milk, shaken with ice. The cheesecake on the dessert trolley is not to be missed.
Masa 14 (1825 14th St. NW, 202/328-1414) has expanded its repertoire to include sushi with a Latin twist. A spicy tuna roll; a rainbow tropico roll; a scorpion roll with prawn tempura, avocado, and sesame-chipotle mayonnaise; and a golden eel roll with avocado, cucumber and maple-miso sauce are just some of the new combinations, priced from $5 to $14. The rolls are somewhat hotter than traditional Japanese sushi but equally tasty. On Wednesday evenings, sushi is half price.
Aug. 16 is National Rum Day, and Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar (801 Ninth St. NW, 202/408-1600) is celebrating with new flights featuring rums, mojitos and ceviche dishes. Chef Guillermo Pernot will host two interactive cooking classes Tuesday and Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. Classes cost $59 per person. Students will have the opportunity to learn how to make ceviche and pair it with rums. On Aug. 15 and 16 during happy hour, patrons will be able to enjoy rums at half price.
August is also National Coffee Month, and Mio Restaurant (1110 Vermont Ave. NW, 202/955-0075) is celebrating with four a la carte specials, three dishes and one cocktail incorporating coffee beans. Specials include coffee-rubbed rack of lamb, coffee citrus spiced cured salmon and a coffee flan. Mio’s Puerto Rican-grown coffee will be available for purchase in eight-ounce bags for $12 throughout August.
Through Aug. 17, Chef Robert Wiedmaier is offering his first pre-theater children’s menu at Marcel’s (2401 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, 202/296-1166) to celebrate the performances of “The Lion King” at the Kennedy Center. Children under 12 can enjoy the $36 menu each evening from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. and get complimentary transportation to the Kennedy Center in time for the curtain.
In Arlington’s Shirlington Village, Copperwood Tavern (4021 Campbell Ave., 703/552-8010) has a “dog of the month” contest. To enter your dog, email the restaurant at firstname.lastname@example.org, stating your dog’s name, birthday, breed and a few sentences about why he or she should be the dog of the month. Send a photograph, too. Dogs can win only once and must be a resident of Arlington County or the D.C. area to pick up a prize at the restaurant. Each winner receives a customized dog basket, a $50 gift card to redeem at Copperwood Tavern, a restaurant bandana and the winning dog’s picture framed and hung on the restaurant’s “Dog Wall of Fame.”
Washington’s summer restaurant week runs from Aug. 11 to 17. More than 200 restaurants will offer a three-course lunch for $20.14 and a three-course dinner for $30.14. (That extra 14 cents marks the year, ‘14.) Beer lovers take note: City Tap House (901 Ninth St. NW, 202/733-5333) is celebrating D.C. Beer Week from Aug. 17 to 24 with daily specials.