By Debby Critchley
Did you hear? One of our favorite restaurants, RT’s, at 3804 Mt. Vernon Ave., was named one of the nation’s 50 best Southern restaurants by Open Table for 2018. It’s also one of the highest rated seafood restaurants in the nationally acclaimed “Zagat Survey.” We happen to agree. If you haven’t’ been there and tried any of their amazing Cajun dishes, you should plan to go now! And, be sure to try their She-crab soup. Hands down, the best in the country.
Alexandria’s Del Ray neighborhood is still on track to get a beer garden by the end of this year. The Washington Business Journal reports that Matt Rofougaran and Paymon Hadjiesmaeiloo of Virginia watering hole, Tysons Biergarten, are working on Hops ’n’ Shine, a restaurant, bar, and beer garden located in the former Senor Chicken at 3410 Mount Vernon Ave. Expect cheese-covered tater tots (totchos), grilled cheese, and salads on the menu along with a spotlight on craft beer.
Little Yunan is coming to 992 N. Royal and will introduce us to Yunan cuisine. Yunnan cuisine blends ethnic cooking elements from the southwest Chinese. Mixian, or rice noodles, are central to the traditional cooking around which locals have built several key dishes. Mixian, with its rich and often spicy broth is soul food for Yunnanese. The plan includes seating for 58 and they will serve alcohol, beer, and wine on premises.
Cava is now open at Potomac Yards. If you’ve not eaten at Cava, it is similar to Chipotle where diners first pick a base of salad, greens and grains or a grain bowl. Next, chose dips and spreads, such as tzatziki, crazy feta, roasted red pepper hummus, and more. Add your protein toppings like falafel, spicy lamb meatballs or grilled chicken. More toppings like cabbage slaw, olives, and tabbouleh follow. As a first timer, I must say it was delicious. The bowls and burritos are great for all tastes and menu requirements –meat eaters, gluten-free, and vegans included.
Also open as of Aug. 20 is the Glory Days Grill, 3141 Duke St., in the former Lonestar Steakhouse location. They have created a wonderful space (including a room for private parties). There are 38 TVs scattered throughout the restaurant so you will be able to watch your favorite sport. The menu runs the gamut including a wide variety of wings. There are daily meal specials too. I tried the Salmon BLT salad and highly recommend it. The salmon was tasty and the bowl was filled all sorts of goodies including lots of bacon, tomatoes, and avocadoes. There are plenty of other choices including BBQ ribs that have been cooked five hours to fall off the bone tenderness.
The Abyssinia Mart, 720 Jefferson St. is expanding their offering with light breakfast food including egg sandwiches, avocado toast, and Ethiopian breakfast items. They will be offering both table and carryout service. Sardi’s Chicken is opening two Alexandria locations – Beauregard Street in West Alexandria and in the Bailey’s Crossroads in the Shops at Mark Center where it replaces Noodles & Co. This is a Maryland-based casual Peruvian chicken restaurant. The menu features rotisserie chicken with sides and sauces. Other menu items include lamb chops, steak, and Peruvian dishes. More Indian food is available to Old Town at the Crilley Warehouse at 218 N. Lee St. Their newest restaurant, DIYA Indian Cuisine, is already serving tasty Indian food and will hold its grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony on 9/28/18 at 5:00 pm.
West End is also getting a new Giant at 6200 Little River Turnpike in the former Shoppers Food Warehouse. When the store opens in early 2019, the old Giant at 5730 Edsall Rd. will close. The new Giant on Little River Turnpike will be about 56,000 square feet, more than 10,000 square feet larger than the old Giant store. The new store will feature a full-service florist, sushi bar, expanded natural and organic department, cheese shop, enhanced beer and wine selection, prepared food bar, full-service meat, seafood, and deli departments.
Just down the road in Clarendon, Top Chef competitor, Katsuji Tanabe will be opening Le Kon at 3227 Washington Blvd. Katsuji was the contestant everyone loved to hate as he continued to provide some of the most delicious dishes on the show. He currently operates a Kosher taco restaurant New York City. Planning documents show approximately 200 seats including an outdoor patio. The menu will feature a fusion of Mexican and Japanese cuisine inspired by Tanabe’s heritage of a Mexican mother and Japanese father. Le Kon’s menu is online now if you would like to prepare for it’s opening.
Restaurant Week is over and I hope all of you took advantage of the offerings of some 60 local restaurants. Many of the participants held true to the spirit of event by providing a selection of menu items that represented their daily offerings. Restaurants, this is/was your chance to entertain new customers with a sampling of the best you have to offer. Take advantage of it. Provide choices that will make your guests want to return. After all, that’s what it’s all about.
Until next time, eat well and enjoy.