by Debby Critchley
Another busy month in the ‘hood. Lot’s of openings to talk about…
Old Town is now host to Hunting Creek at 1106 King St. This is the steakhouse I mentioned a few months ago. It is owned by the same people who own A la Lucia. They are serving locally grown, antibiotic and hormone free beef. Look for the courtyard patio opening in the spring. Mackie’s Bar and Grill is another steak place just opened at 907 King St. They offer dry aged steaks and other choices like papperadelle, roast chicken, and lobster ravioli. They offer lunch and brunch too. Check out the pork belly appetizer. Bistro Royal is now open in the former Bastille location at 1201 Royal St. Owned by the same wonderful family, they channel their skills into their new more casual location. I highly recommend the pate de campagne and the lamb entrée. They are open for both lunch and dinner.
Mason Social, 728 N. Henry, is the new restaurant and bar in the Parker-Gray neighborhood. It features Chef Joseph Lennon, formerly of Bourbon steak. They feature local ingredients including seafood is sourced from a Virginia-based company owned by an Alexandria resident, and meats and produce from farms in Virginia and Maryland. Lots of excellent menu choices from burgers to steak and both lunch and dinner offer a children’s menu. Lost Dog Café, 808 N. Henry, is open featuring pizza, pasta, and sandwiches. Profits benefit the Lost Dog & Cat Rescue Foundation.
The West End now hosts City Kitchen, 330 S. Pickett serves foods inspired by cities across the country, from Portland Blue Mussels to Long Island Duck and Memphis Bourbon Chicken. Sip on a drink from the restaurant’s extensive wine and beer menus while you decide on your destination.
Emma’s Espresso and Wine Bar is now open in Del Ray, 106 Hume Ave. They offer something for everyone morning to night with its coffee, homemade pastries, and evening wine bar. The lunch menu includes soups, salads, sandwiches, and cold plates. Reserve 2216 Is a cozy space behind an unmarked door atop Del Ray Pizzeria. You need a reservations to get in and try classic Southern dishes with a twist, including hot chicken and waffles, pork confit, gouda tots, and chicken-fried oysters. Try emailing firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Stomping Ground, 2309 Mount Vernon Ave., is projected to open in March. Open 7 days a week, they will serve breakfast focused on biscuits of 10-12 house-made, buttermilk biscuit sandwiches like a classic bacon, egg, and cheese; braised collard greens with black-eyed pea spread; fried chicken with a tahini-honey glaze; and a low-sugar housemade Nutella-like spread with a blood orange marmalade. Lunch and dinner focuses on fresh, seasonal ingredients.
Highline RXR has opened in Crystal City at 2010 Crystal Dr. They feature 31 draft beers and 40 whiskeys. We are talking entertainment here: arcade games like Ms. Pac Man, Big Buck Hunter, and Golden Tee, or a selection of board games that includes Cards Against Humanity, Jenga, and Connect 4. There’re also projectors for watching big games. They also offer karaoke, trivia nights, and other community events. With so much going on, who needs food, but they offer an all day menu of soups, salads, and sandwiches.
Other bites to look for are Irish beef, now legal to import, being served by Cathal Armstrong at his restaurants. Speaking of Chef Armstrong, it is unfortunate that my day job is in the same building as Society Fair. I find myself eating there more and more because of their amazing offerings. It took me 3 days to eat the slice of Kick Ass Chocolate Cake. It was so rich, I couldn’t eat more than a few bites at each sitting. I also suggest you try the green sausage. This house-made sausage of pork and kale is a do not miss. Wegmans Food Markets is scheduled to open Sunday, June 14 at 7 am at Hilltop Village Center, a retail and office complex located at Telegraph Road and Beulah Street, according to a news release from the company. The 126,000 square-foot Alexandria store will be the first in the state to feature a full-service restaurant called The Pub by Wegmans.
Do you love Asian food as much as I do? Zagat says there are 10 must try Chinese restaurants to try in the area. Peking Duck, 7531 Richmond Hwy. features Peking duck; garlicky bang bang shrimp sautéed with vegetables; and chicken with black velvet, a dish of chicken breast sautéed with Chinese eggplant. Take the advice of your server and try the soups. Hong Palace, 6387 Seven Corners Center, is a real Sichuan hole-in-the-wall featuring amazing food. Don’t miss the Kung pao chicken, Chengdu Zhong’s spring dumpling, and dan dan noodles. A&J Restaurant, 4316 Markham St. in Annandale offers amazing dim sum. Cheap and good, try the spicy beef noodle soup; scallion pancake; and pork potstickers. But bring cash, they don’t take plastic. Mark’s Duck House, 6184 Arlington Blvd., Seven Corners, is not fancy but is worth it with Hong Kong style dim sum. Try some of the meats hanging in the window including Peking duck and crispy baby pig. Peking Gourmet, 6029 Leesburg Pike, is a well-known favorite of presidents. A bit pricier than the other restaurants, it offers specialty items not found elsewhere. Try the Peking duck; garlic sprout stir-fried with shrimp, pork or chicken; Sichuan beef proper, a dish of shredded beef sautéed with vegetables, sesame seeds and sauce.
Now that it’s Girl Scout cookie season, here are a few fun facts. Sales of the cookies can be broken down as: Thin Mints (25%), Samoas/Caramel deLites (19%), Peanut Butter Patties/Tagalongs (13%), Peanut Butter Sandwich/Do-si-dos (11%), and Shortbread/Trefoils (9%). Here’s a website where you can find recipes to use with these cookies, http://girlscouts.org/program/gs_cookies/cookie_recipes.asp
Until next time, eat well and enjoy life!