- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 24, 2005


There’ll be no summer doldrums in Washington this year. New restaurants are opening; menus are changing to accommodate the season’s bounty. It’s time to go out and enjoy the city’s terraces.

Jamie Leeds, whose popcorn shrimp and calamari and weekly specials of “meat and two [sides]” made 15 Ria a restaurant to savor frequently, has opened her own Hank’s Oyster Bar (1624 Q St. NW) in her Dupont neighborhood. The chef named her restaurant for her dad, “an avid fisherman,” and she will feature New England beach food and a raw bar; the popcorn shrimp, molasses-braised short ribs and weekly specials from 15 Ria will remain on her menu.

Four blocks from the White House, Elephant & Castle Pub and Restaurant (1201 Pennsylvania Ave. NW) is offering Washingtonians British pub fare such as fish ‘n’ chips, shepherd’s pie, and beans and mash, as well as American entrees, salads and appetizers - and 18 beers on tap.

Up the road in Gaithersburg, Redrock Canyon Grill (100 Boardwalk Place) features a wood-burning stone rotisserie and exhibition kitchen. The menu of this franchise restaurant — the first Redrock is in Oklahoma — includes pollo quesadilla, wood-grilled beef tenderloin, grilled or smoked fish, enchiladas, barbecued St. Louis ribs, and stuffed poblano peppers.

Fresh air is the name of the game in June (before it gets too hot) in Georgetown: Neyla’s (3206 N St. NW) garden patio is open, and the restaurant is beginning a Mediterranean brunch including hot and cold traditional Lebanese mezes on Sundays as of June 5. Georgetown’s old standbys Martin’s Tavern (1264 Wisconsin Ave. NW), Third Edition (1218 Wisconsin Ave. NW) and Old Glory (3139 M St. NW) all have outdoor seating.

Cafe Milano (3251 Prospect St. NW) has an outdoor patio and indoor-outdoor seating when the weather is fine and the large glass windows at the front of the restaurant are open. Citronelle (3000 M St. NW) has outdoor seating for 25 guests, and Seasons at the Four Seasons Hotel (2800 Pennsylvania Ave. NW) can accommodate 30 persons for outdoor seating at lunch and dinner.

The Oval Room (800 Connecticut Ave. NW) welcomes summer with the introduction of a small-plates menu available at lunch and dinner exclusively on the 40-seat patio or at the bar. The small plates include beef spring rolls, octopus salad, grilled shrimp with feta cheese and house-made mozzarella with roasted peppers.

Speaking of outdoor spaces, from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. June 3, visiting celebrity chef Quim Marques of El Suquet l’Allmiral restaurant in Barcelona, along with Jose Andres, executive chef of Jaleo and Oyamel, will prepare a giant paella for 1,000 people just outside Jaleo in Crystal City (2250-A Crystal Drive, Arlington). The chefs will be giving away free bite-size samples. Chef Marques will also be participating in Jaleo’s June 1 to 8 paella festival.

Oyamel (2250-B Crystal Drive, Arlington) will feature 20 dishes incorporating delicate squash blossoms during June. There may even be a squash-blossom cocktail in the works.

Cafe Atlantico (405 Eighth St. NW) is celebrating its 15th year in business during June. Four special events will mark the celebration:

• South American wine tasting at 6:30 p.m. June 7

• Sumptuous Almaviva wine dinner June 15, $125 per person

• Final bidding of a silent art auction featuring six large paintings by South American artists at 11:30 a.m. June 25

• Celebratory dinner with guest chefs from Miami and Philadelphia ($150 per person)

In Alexandria, Restaurant Eve (110 S. Pitt St.) is inaugurating a summer special of “lickity split lunch menus.” For $13.50, guests may select any two items from a list that includes:

• Drinks.

• Salads, sandwiches and light entrees.

• Desserts in any combination.

The special is available only in the bar and lounge from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. There are some terrific dishes on the menu, and it’s a real deal.

Executive Chef Brendan Cox of Circle Bistro (1 Washington Circle NW) is continuing his series of “Summer on the Veranda” cooking classes. “Getting to know your grill” is the theme for June 11. The class costs $40 per person and includes three courses and wine; hours are noon to 2:30 p.m. There’s complimentary parking; the rain date is June 12.

Poste Moderne Brasserie (555 Eighth St. NW) now serves brunch from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Chef Robert Weland’s creative brunch menu includes jelly doughnuts, Kobe beef tartare, house-made brioche French toast, quiche Lorraine, smoked duck panini, and blackened steak and eggs. Prices are a la carte.

Chef Ris Lacoste’s “Springtime in Paris” tasting menu ($60 per person) will be available through June 21 at 1789 (1226 36 St. NW). Her menu includes such very French items as snails, breast of duck, salad with an assortment of French cheeses and chocolate desserts.

If June creates the urge to leave town, the Historic Inn at Easton (28 S. Harrison St., Easton, Md., 410/822-4910) is offering a weekend package for history buffs June 24 to 26. The price per couple for the weekend begins at $920 and includes two nights at the inn; a gourmet dinner on one of the nights; breakfast each morning; and a guided tour, including entrance fees and transportation, of the historic places in the area, such as the Dorchester County Courthouse, site of slave auctions and trials, and Brodess Plantation, birthplace of Harriet Tubman.

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