By Debby Critchley
Restaurant Week is almost here! More than 60 Alexandria restaurants throughout Alexandria including Old Town, Del Ray and the West End will offer a $35 three-course dinner or a $35 dinner for two during Alexandria Winter Restaurant Week, Jan. 29-Feb. 7, Visit Alexandria announced. More than two dozen restaurants are also offering lunch deals at $10, $15 or $20 per person in addition to the dinner specials. Go to www.AlexandriaRestaurantWeek.com to view a list of the participating restaurants and what they will be offering. Some of the restaurants will be offering items off their regular menu or creating specialty dishes for the week. Watch for reviews in February.
Have you been to Teaism? Located at 682 N. St Asaph St., it shares parking with Trader Joe’s. The food should not be missed. Food choices are free of additives and GMOs. The menu has a decidedly Asian bent with wonderful choices for meat eaters and vegetarians alike. I love their Bento boxes, especially the baked chilled salmon that includes a radish mix, tomato mint salad, brown rice, and preserved lemon mayo. Another favorite is the Korean brisket sandwich. Made with Roseda Farm beef, it features a generous portion of beef on a ciabatta roll, Asian slaw, house-made gochujang sauce (spicy), Just Mayo, and topped with fried onions. Vegetarians can luxuriate in a South Indian Vegetable Curry with chayote squash, chickpeas, spinach, tomato, and sweet potato and served with brown rice. Breakfast runs from 9:00 to 11:30 am and offers French toast and pancakes with real organic maple syrup. Don’t miss the Irish oatmeal with apricots, blueberries, flax seeds, and toasted almonds. It’s a great way to warm yourself on these cold winter mornings. Another reason to visit on the second Friday of every month is the Healthy Happy Happening from 6:00 to 7:00 pm. Each month features a guest speaker on topics about improving your physical and mental health.
A group of us stopped at Streets Market and Café, 3108 Mt. Vernon Ave., for lunch the other day. They have added sushi to the menu. We tried several pieces of nigiri and sushi rolls. The fish was pristine and the rice well seasoned. The pork buns were even better than we remembered. I also recommend the edamame hummus. Served with homemade fried wonton skins, there was nothing left on the plate. We finished off a basket full of wings too. I still can’t decide which one of the 3 types. They are all delicious!
More change is also coming to Alexandria. Vincent LaMonte has joined Two Nineteen Restaurant, 219 King St., in Old Town. Vincent was born and raised in New Orleans and brings lots of experience cooking Cajun and Creole having worked with Emeril Lagasse for over 6 years. I can’t wait to try the new menu.
Hunting Creek, 1106 King St., has been bought by Jeff Yates. You won’t find many changes except, look for prime cuts of meat replacing choice cuts. Blackwall Hitch, 5 Cameron St., has created 4 new cocktails to celebrate Mercy Street. All are made with ingredients and recipes the era. You’ll be able to taste them during Restaurant Week. Jamie Leeds is opening Hank’s Pasta Bar, 818 N St. Asaph St., in the former Villa d’Este location. It will be a few months until we can enjoy her latest endeavor.
New District Brewing Co., 2709 S. Oakland St. opened Jan. 9. This is a fully-operational brewery with short- and long-term cold storage, a bar with 12 taps, tasting room with tables and seating, and a small retail space. Brothers Steve and Mike Katrivano own and operate the brewery with their father and one of Mike’s college friends. Steve said, “We’re very much a DIY organization that’s been building up for quite some time.” The brewhouse system was designed and built by Mike. Aldi’s, 4602 Kenmore Ave., opened on December 17. Owned by the same corporation as Trader Joe’s, it features both similarities and differences. Like Trader Joe’s, most of the brands being carried are store brands. Items are displayed in their packing boxes. To get a cart, put a quarter in the slot, to get your quarter back, put the cart back. Be sure to bring cash or your debit card too.
The Waterfront Market, 7 King St., closed in November for renovations after Alexandria Restaurant Partners has purchased a majority stake from owner Jody Manor. Expect a new full kitchen and expanded menu in the spring of 2016. Monroe’s, 1603 Commonwealth Ave. has joined the list of closings in the ‘hood.’ Christmas Eve marked their last day. Owners Mark and Laura Abraham are retiring from the restaurant business. Thank you for 20 wonderful years.
Seven Alexandria restaurants made Northern Virginia Magazine’s Top 50 Restaurants list. Included on the list are #2-Restaurant Eve, #6-Brabo, #7-Vermilion, Others on Northern Virginia Magazine’s top 50 list in Alexandria are Hank’s Oyster Bar, Namaste, Reserve 2216 and Society Fair. Namaste is in the Rose Hill neighborhood and Reserve 2216 is temporarily closed while they look for a new space.
Eat well and enjoy.