What’s New In the Food Scene, Alexandria?
From pizza to seafood, burgers and more.... there's plenty to sink your teeth into this month at new restaurants and old favorites!
Alexandria, VA – It’s summer and The Loft at Lena’s now features Oceans 21 inspired by the beauty and serenity of the coasts of the Northeast. You will find yourself in the lovely hues of blue as if you are immersed in the ocean waters and waves, surrounded by natural woods and batik patterns. You can relax and pretend you’re digging your toes in the white sand of the beach while salty sea breezes waft over you. Emmy Squared has opened for takeout and delivery in Old Town at 124 King St. It features Detroit-style pizza and handcrafted burgers and sandwiches as of June 28, 2021. They will announce dine-in service hours at a later date. Join @emilyhyland on July 22 for their virtual pizza class. You can purchase the pizza + cocktail kit on Goldbelly which gives you everything you need [minus the booze] to top and cook their Colony pizza as you make a Detroit-style dough from scratch, and shake up the Lavender Lemonade cocktail. Each kit is enough for two
Everything Old is New Again
The Royal Restaurant, 730 N. St. Asaph St., is not to be missed. Its menu may look the same but the cooking has reached new highs with the addition of Executive Chef Tony Halloran, formerly of Georgia Brown’s and other fine dining restaurants. Gone are dishes made with stuff from cans and boxes. Chef Halloran is sourcing fresh produce, vegetables from the Old Town Farmer’s Market, seafood from MAS seafood, and other local sources elevating the flavors of your favorite dishes. The pancakes are fluffier, the veggies are freshly sautéed, the crab cakes crabbier, and the fried chicken is every bit is as good as it always has been. According to Chef Halloran, “We are bringing fine dining dishes without the fine dining prices to the Royal.” Roman Roberts, Halloran’s sous chef, is a BBQ whiz. He’ll be smoking and ‘cueing his specialties like brisket, pulled pork and chicken, and succulent back ribs on holidays and feature his ribs every other week on the Sunday buffet. I tried the sauteed fresh salmon sitting on a bed of summer squash, mushrooms, shallots, and tomatoes, surrounded by a fabulous beurre blanc. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner is served daily with a Saturday and Sunday brunch.
A long-time family favorite has been reborn with the purchase of the Fuddruckers restaurant brand by Nicholas Perkins, an existing franchisee. Perkins, a Howard University School of Business graduate, stated, “We’re excited to be purchasing Fuddruckers and look forward to working with Fuddruckers’ many dedicated, highly capable franchisees to further build this brand. As a Fuddruckers franchisee, I have a vested interest in ensuring that all Fuddruckers franchisees have the resources, infrastructure, and operational and marketing support they need to maximize their return on investment. This strategic alignment, when combined with the fact that we sell the ‘World’s Greatest Hamburgers’™, will ensure the long-term success of the brand and our franchisees.” There are currently 92 Fuddruckers locations in the U.S., with two locations in Greater Washington.
Coming to a Location Near You!
Kismet Modern Indian, an offshoot of Karma Modern Indian in DC, is planning to open a location in Old Town at 111 N. Pitt, former home of Pat Troy’s Ireland’s Own and BurgerFi. Chef Ajay Kumar has been recognized by Michelin for his Indian cuisine. Kumar, a native of New Delhi, is bringing the tastes of his native country with the goal of making those flavors more approachable to the Western palate. Expect a family-friendly, casual experience. According to their Facebook page, “Kismet Modern Indian, the second restaurant for business duo, Sachin Mahajan and Ajay Kumar, is known for its fresh and unexpected ingredient combinations, forward-thinking flavor profiles, and time-honored cooking techniques, elevating Indian cuisine.”
Have you heard about Whino? This is a new 6,200-square-foot restaurant in an art gallery, or, is it an art gallery inside a restaurant. I had the opportunity to get an early view of the place in Ballston Quarter next to Macy’s. The food is fine dining in a casual setting. Three hand painted murals grace the ceilings over the four dining/drinking areas. The two bars feature local beers and wines as well as a wide variety of craft cocktails. One of the bars features a 10-seat tasting area that hosts a biweekly beer fest while the 51 ft bar has a view of the open kitchen. The dining room has both high and low seating for your comfort. The menu contains some absolutely fabulous finds prepared by Chef Terry Natas. I tried a crudo of Cape May day boat scallops residing with a raw tomatillo salsa, serrano pepper, cucumber, and microcilantro. I could eat this every day. If you love lamb, you must try the lamb ribs. Dukkha and zaatar spiced lamb ribs are slow roasted and topped with za’atar roasted vegetable couscous. The luscious fatty ribs are punctuated with pomegranate seeds. It was an absolute symphony of flavors. I’m looking forward to visiting again. PS – the art is for sale.
Does your family love cinnamon rolls but find it too hot to bake? Here’s a tip I just learned from The Kitchen. Use a roll of croissant roll dough and your air fryer. Unwrap and unroll out the dough on parchment paper. Pinch the seams together, spread out your favorite cinnamon/sugar/butter filling, then roll up the dough from the long end, and cut into individual rolls. Line your air fryer basket or tray with parchment paper and cook for about 20 minutes. Your kitchen stays cool and you’ve got buttery cinnamon buns. Go to their website for a complete recipe.
Until next time, eat well and enjoy!
Do you have news of an opening, closing, or other dining ideas? Let me know at [email protected]