Great news via a few sources in the past few days: a lot of the rumors of some great restaurants coming to 14th street are coming true. Here’s a breakdown of the news:

  • Burger fumes – confirmed. Rogue States, which had to close their Dupont location because of a lawsuit over their burger fumes is opening a location – named Black and Orange, at 1931 14th street, as we had speculated. This is GREAT news. They’re hoping to open in early September, but they’ve admitted that might be a stretch.
  • Rumors that Stephen Starr, a behemoth in the restaurant scene in Philadelphia, is opening a restaurant along 14th street have also proven true. Lydia DePillis says that Starr’s restaurant group is close to signing a lease at the old Shirt Laundry space to open a new location of its French restaurant Parc. I have actually been to Parc – and it was pretty damn good – casual French bistro at its best.
  • And more news from DePillis! JBG’s District Condos project, soon to be at 14th and S, might have two restaurant tenants: a project by Estadio’s Mark Kuller (although his rep denies this), and a sister restaurant to Ted’s Bulletin on Barracks Row.
  • And if DePillis couldn’t break anymore news, she’s also saying that the old Arena Stage spot at 14th and T (read about the history of the building here) will become a Matchbox.

Was that all the news you could use, or what?

The pintxos from Estadio

Saturday afternoon, I headed over to Estadio (14th and Church) for some bites and drinks. Now, Estadio has a lot of buzz around it, both positive and negative. The reviews on Yelp are so uneven – some people had wonderful experiences and some were awful. I’ve read tweets raving about the food and experience and I’ve read tweets bemoaning the service, portion sizes, and the quality of the food. So, going into the experience, my expectations were not high.

We went around 5:30 and easily got a seat at the bar. The restaurant wasn’t very crowded at all. Thinking we’d get a few bites and a drink (PDF menu), we ordered two pintxos (skewered bites) – the chorizo/manchego/quince ($1.50 each) and jamon wrapped fig/cabrales/marcona almonds ($2.50 each). The bites were small but good. We also got a bocadillo (sandwich) that was tiny – maybe four bites, but a very good four bites. The chorizo with idiazabal cheese was warm and wonderful.

Still hungry from these tiny bites, we ordered the patatas bravas and tortilla espanola, two classics. The servings for these were much larger, larger than I was expecting based on what I’d heard about how small the servings are. The patatas were very good, not the complete classic version you’d get in Spain, but all the flavors are there. The tortilla espanola came with spicy sauteed peppers, which added a nice bite to the dish.

Warm peach cake dessert

As for drinks, we stuck with tinto de verano after hearing (and seeing) how tiny the much-vaunted slushitos were. For $9, I wanted more. Tinto de verano ($7), red wine with lemon soda, was refreshing and tasty. I’d say stick to the tradicionales section of the drink menu, where Spanish favorite calimocho sits. From my experience (one of my best friends lives in Spain), these are the drinks Spaniards actually drink, vs. sangria.

To finish, we were intrigued by the desserts and went with warm peach cake with goat cheese ice cream and thyme caramel. Yeah, it was good.

We ended up spending $30/person with 4 drinks – not bad but we didn’t have a full meal (though in fact, I just ended up having a small snack later in the night, I was pretty full).

I really liked the decor, part very medieval Spanish and part whimsical – the bathroom doors are adorned with the most beautiful (and married to each other) Spaniards – Penelope Cruz for women and Javier Bardem for men. And, the inside of the women’s bathroom at least has a huge mural of Spanish soccer players without their shirts on.

The verdict: I liked it a lot, but I think this is a place to go for early drinks and snacks instead of a full-fledged meal unless you want to a) drop a lot of money and b) be prepared to wait because they don’t take reservations past 6 for groups smaller than 6.

Have you been? What do you think?

Looks like they'll have an open kitchen

Chairs are ready!

Walked by Estadio this weekend and it looks so close to opening. They have the furniture ready and everything. I’m getting really excited about this!

I thought I’d take the time to update on the business that are (or were) coming to the area. Here’s a list of what is coming, what was supposed to be coming, and when they are supposed to open:

  • Blackbird Warehouse at 14/U- Hilton brother empire expanding more, with what used to be a concept for a wine bar/bakery becoming a cafe/performance space – no estimated opening date.
  • Boundless Yoga/Georgetown Valet at 13/U – Boundless Yoga is moving from space at 15/U and Georgetown Valet is opening. The building should be open in September. Read below post about the Boundless space, I met with the owner last week.
  • Brixton Pub at 9/U – another Hilton brothers space, supposed to be a gastropub. Not much information beyond that, or on when it’s going to open.
  • Burger/beer place at 14/S – while this isn’t confirmed, I’m pretty sure that this isn’t going to be a reality. The concept was going to be similar to the Shake Shack in NYC, but with opposition from the local ANC, it doesn’t look like a reality.
  • Chidogos at 14th/U – this Chicago style hot dog place, with a liquor license, is scheduled to open sometime this summer.
  • Deli at 12/S – this yet unnamed deli will be coming to a long vacant building on 12th street, not much more information beyond that.
  • Estadio at 14th/Church – the Spanish tapas place by the owners of U Street Girl favorite, Proof. The signs are up, they’re working hard inside. Not sure if they’re going to reach their June opening date but it looks like they’ll make it soon.
  • Diamond District at 14/Corcoran – the seafood market from former Saint Ex/Bar Pilar chef Barton Seaver is no longer coming to the area. Sad, I was looking forward to this one.
  • Italian Shirt Laundry at 14/Q – Tom Sietsema broke the news that two restaurants will be coming to the 14th street corridor – this one will be a combination bakery/pizzeria. Should open sometime this year.
  • Italian Cinema at 14/Rhode Island - from same owners of Italian Shirt Laundry – will serve pasta, charcuterie and screen Italian films on the restaurant’s roof.
  • Port Orleans at 13/U – old Polly’s space rumored to become a burger place by owners of next door neighbors Angelico’s Pizza. Could be opening as early as July.
  • Table 14 at 14/T - we haven’t gotten any updates on this space in a while, it’s supposed to be a farm-to-table restaurant with an Italian focus from the folks from Local 16.
  • Also of note: there are signs advertising open spaces at the Solea building at 14th and Florida, any certain businesses that might have been coming seem to not be anymore.

Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments.

Sneak peek into Estadio

Estadio, the Spanish pintxo and tapas bar from the owners of a U Street Girl favorite Proof, is coming to 14th and Church. Metrocurean has the ETA as Summer 2010, as early as June. By the state of affairs inside though, I’m not sure they’ll reach that June date.

Here are some bits of news that I haven’t covered on my blog just because so many things have been happening that I haven’t completely caught up:

  • Tom Sietsema broke the news that the old indoor Garden District space will become Estadio, a Spanish restaurant from the group that brought you Proof. I loved my birthday dinner at Proof so I’m pretty excited about this development.
  • MPD’s 3rd district listserv has information about a pretty scary altercation that happened at 16th and U on Sunday afternoon – a fight that started in the McDonald’s escalated to someone pulling a gun and hitting a victim with a bat before the assailant got away.
  • Tom Sietsema also reports that there is a new chef at U Street Girl favorite, Creme. Orlando Hitzig, formerly of Columbia Firehouse, will be cooking nightly specials to showcase his cooking, but no fears, Creme lovers, the fabulous shrimp and grits stay on the menu.
  • And, DCist has pictures of a contrary-flow bike lane that has been installed on 15th street from U to Massachusetts Ave.
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