Greg Powers
Menu MBK in Washington, D.C., evokes a European country market.
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Birth Announcements: April 2014

Juliet Glass - April 2014

In January, Frederik De Pue, chef/owner of Table and 42° Catering, opened Menu MBK at 405 Eighth Street NW. The tri-level space (formerly Café Atlántico) is a three-in-one concept, with a market, bar, and restaurant spanning the three floors. The interior, designed entirely by De Pue, combines country chic (think repurposed barn doors) with the familiar ease of mid-century modern style furnishings. Along with an à la carte menu, De Pue and chef de cuisine Keith Cabot (whose résumé includes stints at Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc in Yountville, CA, and The Barn at Blackberry Farm in Walland, TN) also offer a $65 tasting menu at the six seat counter flanking the kitchen. Apps ($8 to $14): Brussels sprouts with bottarga and pine nuts; duck confit with farro, mint, and spaghetti squash. Mains ($18 to $25): grilled quail with grits, poached apples, and toasted chestnuts; butter-poached lobster with forbidden rice and caramelized onion broth. Desserts ($8): churros with horchata cream and dulce de leche; orange blossom panna cotta with pink grapefruit.

Jeff Black, chef/partner of the Bethesda-based Black Restaurant Group (BlackSalt and Pearl Dive, among others) opened Republic, a casual bistro that pays homage to the eclectic spirit of Takoma Park (a progressive, free-spirited D.C. suburb), in both its design and menu. Vintage finds such as pendant lamps fashioned from salvaged jet engine parts and Victorian sofas connected into a long banquette flanking the dining room wall give the 95 seater an off-beat feel. Black veteran chef/partner Danny Wells serves seasonally driven American fare with plenty of sustainable seafood and vegetarian options. Apps ($6 to $13): carrot soup with pumpernickel croutons and rum raisins; wood-grilled oysters with lemon/garlic butter and red chile flakes. Mains ($13 to $21): Portuguese seafood stew with fresh and salted cod, white shrimp, mussels, clams, and smoked paprika broth; duck confit cubano sandwiches with country ham, bread and butter pickles, and poblano chiles. Desserts ($7): carrot/parsnip cake with brown butter icing, caramel sauce, and dulce de leche ice cream; chocolate/hazelnut truffle cake with hazelnut brittle and whipped cream.

Scott Shor and Rich Carley, owners of the Beer Exchange retail stores in Greenville and Charleston, opened their first restaurant in February, Edmund’s Oast (1081 Morrison Drive). The name of this 125 seat brewery-based restaurant is a merging of “Edmund Egan,” an English born brewer who settled in Charleston in the 1760s, and “Oast,” an old term for a kiln used for drying hops. The space, which houses an on-site brewery, sports a masculine Old World look. The ceiling, bar, and tables are fashioned from cypress wood—reclaimed, of course. The space is lit by oversized candlelit chandeliers. The progressive, seasonal menu is the work of chef Andy Henderson, who comes by way of San Francisco, where he worked at Local Mission Eatery. Julia Ingram, Henderson’s girlfriend and owner of Sweet Radish Bakeshop, handles desserts. Apps ($4 to $12): pumpkin custard with oyster mushrooms, peppercress, and shallots; whey-cooked polenta with slow-poached duck egg, charred pickled leek tops, and Parmesan. Mains ($16 to $27): guinea hen (roasted breast and smoked thigh), red Russian kale, rutabaga, and cornbread pudding; miso rubbed pork loin with turnip puree, braised greens, smoked ham hock dashi, and pea shoot pistou. Desserts: ($3 to $6): blood orange/almond cake with wildflower honey, whipped buttermilk, and chervil; chamomile panna cotta with kiwi, spiced grains, and nasturtium.

Chef Steve McHugh, a John Besh protégé, opened his first solo venture, Cured, inside Pearl, the new culinary center in the former Pearl Brewery (306 Pearl Parkway). The name references both McHugh’s personal recovery from cancer and the food preservation technique used widely in his kitchen. Seating 142 total, the design integrates details original to the century-old building (exposed brick walls, pressed tin ceilings, and a massive iron vault). Apps ($8 to $11): chicken-fried chicken livers with Meyer lemon, pepper jelly, and shallots; masa-fried oysters with tarragon and pickled tapioca. Mains ($13 to $26): cabrito sliders with local bread, chayote pickles, and onion sprouts; lamb cassoulet with chop, shoulder, merguez, and black-eyed peas. Desserts ($9): red velvet beet “Twinkie” cake with whipped meringue, Meyer lemon curd, and chocolate soil; house-made doughnut bread pudding with chocolate soup and dulce de leche ice cream.

Edited by Juliet Glass. Send news to