NEW DC PLACES TO WINE & DINE (OR BEER & GRUB)

The holiday season is upon us, it’s true. And while the frenzy of sugary sweets, overzealous plates of food, gift giving, and fa-la-la-la-ing is no doubt wonderful, Winter can still rear its nasty head and make the city feel like a drab place to be. Fear not, though! There are plenty of new cozy atmospheres popping up around the city that have the potential to make complete and utter darkness at 6pm and sweater weather turned I-don’t-want-to-leave-the-house weather not so bad, after all. New places to eat can put the pep back in your step and the zest back in your life, winter cloud coverage be damned. Here are some new DC restaurants worth venturing out from under your blankets for:

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Arroz

Arroz is located right inside of the Marriott Marquis hotel, and feels like a glam getaway to somewhere in faraway Morocco, with incredibly well-planned decor such as blue mosaic tiles and understated lit candles present throughout the space. This isn’t a casual, last-minute place. It’s on the fancier end of the spectrum, and you’d be better off with reservations. The star of the show here, though (as it should be) is the food. A coming together of Michael Rafidi, a celebrated chef known in DC and along the East Coast plus Mike Isabella, famed restaurant businessman.

If you peep the menu, you’ll find many exotic offerings with unique flavor combinations. It’s really hard to pick what you’ll want. Some sample items include:

Burnt Eggplant

Moroccan Flat Bread,   Za’atar, Pine Nut, Black Garlic

Salt Cod Fritters

‘Salt & Vinegar,’ Mic Saison, Sherry Aioli

Moorish Chicken

Kale, Chickpea, Preserved Lemon, Fried Almond, Brown Butter Cous Cous

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Himitsu

Don’t let the size of this 24-person dining room fool you. Himitsu is serving up big flavors to small parties, and even stretched beyond DC’s city limits this year to receive a spot on the list of the “Best New Restaurants in America 2017.” So, even though there are no reservations available, staking a spot in line is likely worth your while. The cuisine here is inspired, for the most part, by Japanese foods. The menu, however, is always shifting and changing, featuring everything from “snacks” to “raw plates” and “hot plates”.

Sample items from the menu include:

Charred Baby Carrot

Sweet Garlic Robioina, Burnt Chili Garlic, Brown Butter Pine Nuts, Carrot Fronds, and Mint

Sugi

Lemon Fish, Red Onion, Thai Chili Coconut Milk, Cured Squash, Lime, and Peanuts

“The Benihana”

Kobe Beef Tri-Tip Steak, Umami Butter Rice, Napa White Kimchee, and Garlic Soy

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Lucky Buns

Okay, admittedly, this spot is so new it’s not even open yet…but after the pop-up earned some street cred, it’s hard not to be excited about a unique burger place opening in what they promise will only be a “few more weeks” in Adams Morgan. Their pop-up has received no shortage of praise, getting named “Burger of the Year” by Burgerdays. The burgers are all made of hand-formed Creekstone beef, specially seasoned, and then cooked. Pickles, sauces, and spreads are made in-house and in small batches. Bread is baked locally. These are craft burgers, through and through. Some interesting choices on the menu include:

Alfie’s Bun

Creekstone Patty, Smoked Cheddar, Runny Egg, Pineapple, Pickled Beetroot, Arugula, Lucky Sauce, Grilled Red Onion

Hot Chicky Bun

Fried Chicken Thigh, Sichuan Peppercorn Spice Paste, Pickles, Onion, Mayo, Chinese Yellow Mustard

Spice Bag

Chips with Fried Chicken, Peppers, Onion, Curry, and Spices

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Moreland’s Tavern

Talk about the perfect spot to cozy up and drink a brew or two. The food here will consist of creations from Emily Baran, who has been the sous chef at other DC establishments and also graduated to of her class from L’Academie de Cuisine.The name is a nod to a place where “soldiers from Fort Stevens used to go to eat and drink during the civil war.” The food here is uncomplicated and satisfying, with rave Yelp reviews holding it to promising standards. Some sample selections off the menu include:

Pork Belly Tacos

Slaw, Sriracha Aioli

Crispy Brussel Sprouts

Spiced Yogurt

Steak Frites

Fries, Compound Butter

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