by Andrea Doyle | June 01, 2015

What's Cooking in D.C.
Among the $9 billion worth of construction underway in Washington, D.C., the first of three phases of CityCenterDC, a $700-million mixed-use development, has opened. Referred to as a "modern-day Rockefeller Center" its 10 acres include restaurants like David Chang's Momofuku and Momofuku Milk Bar. Other CityCenterDC eateries include Rare Sweets, a bakery from Meredith Tomason, a former pastry chef of New York City's Craft restaurant. Renowned chefs like Michel Richard and Carla Hall have all launched their culinary empires in D.C., having attracted other food stars like Stephen Starr and Michael Mina.

The hottest restaurants to open in Washington, D.C., this year include China Chilcanoby from James Beard Award-winning José Andrés. This restaurant (his second to open this year and his sixth downtown) is inspired by the Chifa cuisine -- the unique food culture of immigrants in Peru, combining Chinese, Japanese, and Spanish influences. Dishes include ceviche, dumplings, and aeropuerta (a mix of chow mein and fried rice with veggies in the shape of tiny airplanes). The plates are a riot of color, the décor is striking, and the restaurant is just a 10-minute walk from the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

Another new, cool eatery is Ocopa, a smaller traditional Peruvian restaurant on H Street NE. Erik Bruner-Yang, the maverick behind the lauded ramen shop Toki Underground, has teamed up with Will Sharp of the clothing label DURKL to open Maketto, a mixed-use restaurant, art bookstore, sneaker shop, and bar inspired by an Asian night market.

Orange Anchor is a nautical-inspired fine-dining restaurant with endless river views. The restaurant delivers "curbside" to boats on the Potomac. The menu is nautical-chic, with crab BLTs and duck confit salads. The Graham, an independent hotel in Georgetown, has the neighborhood's only public rooftop bar and now also features The Alex, a cozy ground-floor bar with a "steampunk" design and a cocktail menu that's a touch modern, a touch classic.

In Woodley Park, a tony D.C. neighborhood near the National Zoo and home to several hotels including Omni Shoreham and Marriott Wardman Park, Bar Civita is a new neighborhood gastropub. Signature features include house-made sausage, cheese plates, and happy hour specials.

June is an ideal time to enjoy a D.C. rooftop bar. One of the newest is the Rooftop at The Embassy Row Hotel that offers a bird's-eye view of Dupont Circle. Your attendees can sit poolside with a house-made cocktail under a cabana and enjoy a full menu of top-notch eats provided by hot-spot Station Kitchen & Cocktails on the hotel's ground floor.

The hotel recently celebrated a grand re-opening following an extensive $15-million floor-to-ceiling renovation. The property boasts 231 newly renovated guest rooms with design nods to the neighborhood and a fully integrated lifestyle-driven lobby experience anchored by Station Kitchen. For meetings, the hotel offers more than 10,000 square feet of flexible indoor and outdoor event space.

Also on Dupont Circle is the Dupont Circle Hotel, serving the farm-to-table cuisine of Café Dupont in its event space. The 327-room hotel recently debuted its renovated meeting spaces.

World-renowned chef Geoffrey Zakarian is opening his first restaurant in Washington, D.C., in the forthcoming Trump International Hotel. Zakarian, along with partner Louis Ceruzzi, will bring The National, an American bistro, to the hotel in mid-2016, after a $200-million redevelopment of the historic Old Post Office by The Trump Organization. 

"We're thrilled to announce that Geoffrey Zakarian will open his very first Washington, D.C. restaurant in our hotel, offering both guests and residents truly exceptional cuisine and an unrivaled hospitality experience," Donald Trump said in a statement.

Award-winning chef José Andrés will also open a signature restaurant in the hotel. Andrés will lease and operate a flagship restaurant to be located in the building's dramatic grand lobby. He will also create the food-and-beverage menu for the lobby bar.

The hotel will feature 270 guest rooms with lofty 16-foot ceilings, a 5,000-square-foot spa and a state-of-the-art fitness center. Additionally, two presidential suites will be set in the historic former offices of the postmaster general; at 3,500 and 5,000 square feet, the three-bedroom suites will be among the largest in the country. The hotel will also offer 36,000 square feet of meeting and event space, including the opulent 13,000-square-foot Grand Ballroom.

Questions or comments? Email [email protected]

This article appears in the June 2015 issue of Successful Meetings.