Shellfish Plateau at Bar Spero. Photo by Joseph Weaver
Autumn restaurant opening season is in full swing. Here are 11 new hotspots to try now that have opened in the last month.
1. Chang Chang
1200 19th St., NW
Celebrity Chinese chef Peter Chang just launched his first ever DC restaurant near Dupont Circle. The two-in-one concept is split between a Szechuan takeaway/delivery shop (now open) and a modern, modern-Chinese dining room (opening Thursday, October 20). There’s no overlap between the two, so if you’re craving the classics (ma po tofu, sweet and sour ribs) hit up “Chang-Out.” Meanwhile “Chang-In” will prepare whole duck dinners, weekday bento lunches, and a creative Chinese-American weekend brunch.
2. Spero Bar
250 Massachusetts Ave., NW
Michelin star chef Johnny Spero has just opened this lively gastrobar near Penn Quarter to compliment his Georgetown tasting room (which unfortunately closed due to fire). The concept is inspired by the high-energy spaces Spero discovered while living in Spain, but the concept – featuring a raw bar and wood-fired kitchen – is more global. Think shellfish platters, smoke-kissed small plates like grilled oysters, and a few topper plates like whole roasted lobster with tomalley sauce and kombu butter.
3. Grazie Nonna
1100 15th St., NW
This new Italian restaurant with an old school, red sauce vibe just opened in Midtown Center – and reservations have been taken ever since. Restaurateur Casey Patten – owner of Wharf hoagie haven Grazie Grazie – teamed up with Bammy chef Gerald Addison for the 80-seat venture. (They also run American fry joint Little Chicken nearby.) Creative thin crust is just one part of the menu, which includes hearty antipasti plates, classics like scallop casino and eggplant parm, and pasta with Sunday gravy. approved by grandma.
4. Burger Hill East
1432 Pennsylvania Ave., southeast
Smoked burgers and tallow-washed cocktails are on order at this brand new Capitol Hill hangout—a new collaboration from Chris Svetlik of Tex-Mex spot Republic Cantina, Sloppy Mama owner Joe Neuman, and former barman -soldier Ben Alt. Go for smoked patties—a style popular in Texas but rarely seen here—made with aged Roseda Farm grass-fed beef. We’ve got our eye on the “Puebla” with smoky poblano relish, cheddar, mustard, and pickles – along with a side of “wedgey” fries and one of Alt’s smoke-kiss cocktails.
5534 Connecticut Ave., NW
Owners Nina May, Danilo Simic, and chef Colin McClimans came out of their popular Shaw spot with a wood-fired coastal American restaurant in DC’s Chevy Chase. Diners can cozy up to a 1930s row-building mini bar, share plates like roasted oysters with tequila-spiked chili butter or homemade saffron pasta with scallions, or tuck in for a “simple family dinner” with a parade. of various plates ($50 to $60 per person).
6. Nam Ko
1926 14th St., NW
Restaurateur Michael Schlow transformed Tico on 14th Street into a Japanese-inspired destination for sushi, omakase and sharing plates. Restaurants can mix and match nigiri, rolls, small like wagyu-truffle dumplings, and large format plates like koji aged pork chop with miso beurre blanc. For dessert, don’t miss chef Alex Levin’s soft serve sundaes in flavors like miso-honey black truffle with toffee crunch and chocolate sauce.
7. Han Palace Capitol Hill
522 8th St., SE
All-you-can-eat is coming to Barracks Row with the opening of restaurateur Chris Zhu’s latest Cantonese venture. Two daily unlimited tasting menus (with a two-hour limit) include a $38 per person option with dumplings, shell pancakes, pork buns, noodles, and more. A second prix-fixe ($48 per person) includes all of the above, plus Hong Kong-style roast meats and more entree-like dishes. On weekends, free-flowing $18 mimosas match the food.
2000 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
The team behind Elle at Mt. Pleasant just opened a highly anticipated cafe and wine bar/restaurant in Foggy Bottom’s Western Market food hall. The Italian-inspired venture, helmed by chef Vincent Falcone, features a counter café serving coffee drinks, delicious tinned spirits, homemade pastries, and breakfast and lunch sandwiches. An adjacent all-day restaurant and bar doubles as a full-service restaurant with fresh pasta, seasonal portion plates, and custom pizzas fashioned in Pizza Hut pans (go “pickle pizza” all the way).
502 H St., NE
University of Virginia graduates turned pro-industry Mika and Ian Carlin are behind this wine bar and tasting room on Northeast’s H Street corridor. Chef Ben Browning (ex-Mintwood Place) serves up tantalizing tasting menus themed around Mid-Atlantic ingredients for omnivores and vegetarians alike ($85). Wine pairings showcase Virginia while also featuring a few global selections. Diners can also dip their toes in a la carte menus at a 12-seat bar.
10. Seamore’s Sustainable Seafood
2815 Clarendon Boulevard, Arlington
You won’t find crab or seaweed on the menu at this local Clarendon seafood attraction (at least not right now). The coastal spot – part of a five-restaurant group in New York – only serves fish and shellfish from stable or growing populations. Despite a serious sustainability mission, the place is unassuming with a chalkboard menu of daily catches, beach-y eats like fish tacos and lobster rolls, and local drafts.
11. Silver Dinner and Silver Social
1250 Half St. SE
At last, the local Silver Eatery chain has arrived in the Area with a huge new location near the National Park. All the family-friendly dining classics are on tap, although adults looking for something a little more upscale can head to the 21+ “Silver Social” upstairs. There, adults can sip “fancy coladas” and munch on buffalo chicken tacos—all while catching bits of the baseball game from a heated terrace overlooking the stadium.