This might become a weekly feature. Here’s a quick round-up of what’s happening in the ‘hood:

A quick round-up of what’s been happening in the U street area the past few days. I promise a more substantial post later, just been a bit too busy to write one.

Posto on 14th street

Posto on 14th street

I finally dined at Posto last night. After writing about it and hearing about it, I was happy to finally experience it for myself. And, well it met and beat my expectations.

The food: so good. I had the house cured olives (good, but it’s hard to make olives taste bad in my book) and the polenta with sausage to start. The polenta was very good, comforting, warm, a little spicy, perfect for a cold rainy night.

Main dishes were the scallops with a lentil ragout and the cinghiale (aka wild boar). The scallops were good, I didn’t instantly think lentils would work with scallops, but they did. It was another warming, comforting dish for winter. The cinghiale, the first I had ever had, was chewy (as to be expected after seeing a recent Iron Chef featuring the ingredient) but so flavorful, so good.

For dessert (because I was feeling decadent, hadn’t had a ton to eat all day, and had just scored my first job interview since losing my job) cranberry and mixed berry cobbler and poached pear with chocolate panna cotta. A nice finish to a great dinner, and I appreciate that the desserts offered weren’t the expected ones you often find at restaurants (usual suspects: flourless chocolate cake, apple pie, creme brulee, ice cream of some sort).

The service: attentive, friendly, nice, in two words: very good. The waiter was very enthusiastic, the hostess and manager were chatty and friendly as well.

The dining room was noisy. I even noticed that they’d put foam at the bottom of the tables to absorb some of the noise, but it wasn’t doing much good. It wasn’t terribly loud though, conversation wasn’t impossible. Though, it’s not a place you’d take a date for a quiet, romantic dinner.

In short, Posto surpassed my expectations for what I hoped it would be: a nice, tasty neighborhood option. I will definitely be returning on a regular basis. Plus: I learned it offers takeout, which will be an awesome alternative to some other options in the neighborhood.

After the jump: more photos. (more…)

Ben's Next Door, open

Ben's Next Door, open

After hearing from my roommate that she’d spent part of New Year’s Eve at Ben’s Next Door (and being incredibly jealous) I had to check it out and see if it was open. It is, sort of: it’s had its soft opening; there is a full bar and some small plates from the chef as well as Ben’s classics re-thought. A full menu will be available in a week or so. I also learned from friendly Rob that there is a possibility of them serving BRUNCH on the weekends. That got me very excited.

The place was relatively crowded for a bar that hadn’t even opened yet. I have a feeling it will be packed on weekends. There were a few glitches to be expected from a place that had just opened: I sat at a high table near the bar with a companion and it wasn’t quite clear if we were supposed to order from the bar or if a server would attend to us. The management staff though was very attentive, stopping by often to see how our experience was.

The menu itself is small for now – small plates from the chef (who was also walking around and introducing himself to diners, as well as giving autographs) and a few classics from Ben’s, but more upscale. The beer menu is extensive (prices ranged from $5 for a Bud to $10 for Chimay), and well priced: Delirium, on tap, was $7. Wine is available by the glass ($6 to $14), and champagne by the bottle as well as glass.

I wish I hadn’t eaten dinner before I went or I would have more room to taste some of the dishes. I plan to be back real soon to offer a more detailed report. More pictures from Next Door after the jump. (more…)

Galileo's old location, courtesy of erin_johnson (Flickr)

Galileo's old location, courtesy of erin_johnson (Flickr)

Tom Sietsema gives us news that Galileo returns from the dead, and will occupy Butterfield 9’s space on 14th street near the White House.

Galileo was actually one of the first restaurants I ate at in DC, while I was visiting colleges in DC I stayed around the corner from the restaurant’s original location in the West End/Foggy Bottom area on 21st and L. A misguided front desk clerk at the hotel told my dad and me that it would be a good place for a quick dinner before we headed to a (now-defunct) Crossfire taping. She failed to mention it was also one of the most snooty, expensive restaurants in the area. Thanks lady. Sure, the food was great, but it wasn’t exactly what we were expecting.

In 2006, Galileo closed as the building it was located in underwent a complete renovation (oh I know, I used to live right next to the building and the construction woke me up every morning) and was set to eventually re-open when the renovation was completed. However, now it is set to open in April or May of 2009 in the shuttered Butterfield 9 space. Should be interesting (and hopefully the snooty, stuck-up service notorious at the old Galileo will disappear).

Metrocurean has the dish on newly opened Posto on 14th street.  She describes her recent meal there:

“I had a quick bite at the bar a few nights ago, and though I’m loathe to judge a restaurant in its infancy, the place shows real promise. A dish of creamy polenta topped with tomato sauce and sausage was a standout, and I’ll be back soon to try the wood-fired pizza. Also on the menu: charcuterie and cheese, a selection of pastas, and a handful of meat entrees, including boar chops, which are also calling my name.”

Along with many others in the neighborhood, I’m very excited that Posto is finally open, we’ve been waiting quite a while since Viridian closed in January (which, the few times I’ve been there, I liked all right). I’m excited to have another casual and (hopefully) good restaurant in the area, especially by the good guys behind Tosca, which I can’t afford except for special occasions. Unfortunately, their menu doesn’t seem to be on their website, so I can’t report on that (or the prices) yet, though I might stop by later and see if it’s posted outside.

I usually wait a few weeks after a restaurant has opened to check it out, to let the kitchen and servers work out the kinks. But once I eat there, I’ll be sure to share my thoughts.