Replacement H Street Bar Aims to Double Its Drinking Space

This article first appeared in Eater DC on September 29, 2017

The remaking of popular H Street eatery Boundary Road into a funky new video game-stocked bar includes taking things to another level: adding a second floor, to be exact.

Adam Stein, the seasoned chef turned newly minted managing partner of forthcoming Bar Elena, tells Eater that he and the current stakeholders are taking a page from three-year-old plans the previous owners never got around to executing and growing upwards.

Construction on the second story is expected to begin shortly. When it’s done, Stein says there should be room for 40 to 50 additional seats, another bar, a private event space, plus more of the pinball, Skee-Ball, and arcade games he’s planning to work into the entertainment mix.

“I kind of see this as a baby Eleanor,” he says, tying the immediate overhaul to the 7,000-square-foot dining complex he’s installing in Ivy City. That long-standing dream, which Stein says is now expected to open in early 2018, is projected to feature a restaurant, bowling lanes, live music, and movies.

Stein is hoping to get Bar Elena rolling later this fall. (A “now hiring” ad went up just this morning.)

Food Frenzy: Try 11 New Restaurants Before They Open

This article first appeared in Washington City Paper on September 6th, 2017

Whet your appetite for 11 forthcoming restaurants at Mess Hall’s third installment of New Kitchens on the Block on Sunday, Oct. 8. It’s the largest class of coming attractions the recurring event has featured to date. The first one, held at Mess Hall in Aug. 2016, highlighted seven new restaurants.

Attendees bounce from station to station trying bites and sips from each new restaurant’s chef at the Northeast D.C. food incubator. Tickets are now on sale for two separate two-hour sessions, beginning at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. General admission tickets cost $65 and VIP tickets, which come with a gift bag, are $105. These events typically sell out.

Highlights include:

Spoken English and Brothers & Sisters 

Both of these Erik Bruner-Yang restaurants are bound for the LINE DC Hotel. Diners can expect Spoken English to feel like a lively Japanese “tachinomiya” or standing restaurant common in Tokyo. Only 14 diners can fit at a time and the food will consist of yakitori, tempura, noodles, Peking duck, and more. His other restaurant, Brothers & Sisters, will feature Taiwanese and Japanese twists on American classics.

Lucky Buns

Chef Alex McCoy of Alfie’s is readying to open his burger joint in Adams Morgan. The patties are inspired by his world travels. “Whether I’m in Bangkok, South America, or London, I have to find the best burger shops,” he says.

Maydan 

This next restaurant from the Compass Rose team pulls inspiration from Eastern Europe including the Caucasus, as well as North Africa and the Middle East. Executive Chefs Gerald Addison and Chris Morgan will be doing a majority of the cooking over open flames at the restaurant going into the Manhattan Laundry Building just off the 14th Street corridor.

Coconut Club

Chef Adam Greenberg is bringing a little aloha spirit to the Union Market district with his restaurant Coconut Club, set to open in 2018. Some of his favorite things to make are island-inspired including poke, Spam fried rice, and jerk chicken. Greenberg formerly worked at Barcelona Wine Bar.

Pluma by Bluebird 

Pluma is also headed to the Union Market district. Married pastry chefs Tom Welling and Camila Arango are opening a bakery and cafe that will serve breakfast pastries, salads, sandwiches, Roman-style pizza, dessert, coffee, beer, and wine. Because Bluebird Bakery sells to many coffee shops around town, you may have already tried their food.

Chloe

Chef Haidar Karoum is opening his first solo restaurant in Navy Yard. It’s named for his niece and the ancient Greek goddess of agriculture, Chloe. He previously ran the kitchens at Estadio, Doi Moi, and Proof. Karoum will focus on cuisine inspired by his Lebanese roots, his love of cooking Southeast Asian cuisine, and his travels around the Mediterranean.

Other participants include:

Bindaas (Foggy Bottom): A second location of Ashok Bajaj’s Indian street food restaurant.

Manna: Chef Todd Gray, the longtime chef/owner of Equinox is opening an Israeli food restaurant inside the future Museum of the Bible.

The Eleanor: Chef Adam Douglas Stein, formerly of Red’s Table, is bringing a restaurant and bowling lounge to Ivy City.

Dorjee Momo: Try Tibetan dumplings and other dishes from Tibetan refugee Lobsang Dorjee Tsering. His meals are currently available through meal delivery service Foodhini.

Cured: Chris Johnson and James Brosch are partners in all things charcuterie. Expect them to serve slices of duck prosciutto, Tuscan-style pork liver mousse, and a rillette.

In addition to food, many of the restaurants will serve cocktails with spirits from New Columbia Distillers, Catoctin Creek Distillery, and One Eight Distilling. Also look for local illustrator Samyuktha Krishna, who will sell food-focused artwork during the event.

Mess Hall, 703 Edgewood St. NE; eventbrite.com/e/mess-hall-presents-nkotb-30-tickets-37632647261

48 Essential Coffee Shops Across the DMV

This article first appeared in Eater.com on Aug 9th, 2017

In the past two years, there has been a major influx of independent coffee shops opening in Washington, which means caffeine lovers have more places than ever to get their pour-over or nitro brew fix. Local success stories such as Compass Coffee continue to multiply, while outside operators are getting in on the action too, with ongoing expansions around the city by San Francisco-based Philz Coffee, Philadelphia-born La Colombe, and, most recently, Oakland-based Blue Bottle Coffee.

Here are four dozen (and counting) of the DMV’s best coffee shops:


43 Takoma Beverage Co. (In Alphabetical Order)

Takoma Beverage Co. features pour-overs and espresso drinks made with North Carolina’s Counter Culture Coffee beans. Though the atmosphere is coffee house, there’s plenty in the order of light tartines, cocktails, and draft beer.

Where To Eat and Drink in Takoma Park

This article first appeared on Eater.com on July 27, 2017

Locals have long known what other area diners are just figuring out: Takoma Park — the town of bungalow homes, eclectic street art, and free composting — has a downtown food scene that is quietly expanding. And local, funky, and eclectic tend to be what suits this neighborhood best.

When Starbucks wanted to come to Carroll Avenue, one of Takoma Park’s main thoroughfares, residents initially balked, lobbying to keep the community filled with independent operators.

Takoma Beverage Co.

Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, this family-run coffee shop/bar serves gourmet fare including fried pork belly, tartines, and meatless meatballs alongside more traditional salad and sandwich options. Don’t miss the Harper Macaw hot chocolate, made in house with 67 percent cocoa drops straight from D.C.’s own chocolatier. Also worth trying: the Takoma Breakfast sandwich featuring poached egg, apple butter, country ham and cheddar cheese. Co-founder Chris Brown, a former science teacher at Montgomery Blair High School, has trained former students to serve as baristas, while his partner, cousin and Northside Social alum, Seth Cook, instructs staff about the particulars of good coffee-, tea-, and espresso service.

New Restaurant With Arcade Games Will Replace Boundary Road on H Street

This Article First Appeared in Washingtonian Magazine

 

Chef Adam Stein will oversee the menu with clam chowder poutine and “monster spaghetti”
New Restaurant With Arcade Games Will Replace Boundary Road on H Street

H Street restaurant Boundary Road is getting a makeover. The new American spot from Karlos Leopold has closed and will be rechristened as Bar Elena in late August, featuring an expanded menu and bar as well as classic arcade games.

Leopold tapped Adam Stein to be the new chef and managing partner of Bar Elena. Stein, who is currently heading up development of The Eleanor (a 7,000 square-foot bar and restaurant complete with indoor bowling lanes in Ivy City), is no stranger to the restaurant. He became close with the staff while helping to open the Big Board across the street.

“It kind of became this whole neighborhood thing, everybody was rooting for everybody. We were a little bit of the new guard, all the way down at the west side of H Street,” Stein says. “I couldn’t really turn down the opportunity to go to a place that I loved for years…and a chance to do a re-launch. It sort of made perfect sense.”

In the back of the new Bar Elena, you can expect skeeball and pinball machines as well as a few nostalgic arcade games. With these additions, the restaurant may soon rival other game-heavy bars down the street, such as Atlas Arcade and H Street Country Club. “It’s good business sense,” says Stein of the additions. “You’re getting another revenue stream, you’re getting a reason for people to come in.” And, he adds, “It’s more fun when you bring the kids in to have dinner at 5:30.”

As far as food goes, the team will continue serving seasonal dishes, with the addition of a shellfish section featuring roasted oysters, stuffed little neck clams, and “monster spaghetti” made with Maine lobster. Other new menu items include clam chowder poutine and a dry-aged beef burger.

For the bar, Stein plans to bring in a lot of local brewers from Virginia and Maryland and build even stronger connections with the breweries and distilleries in DC. The restaurant will keep its craft cocktail menu as well. “I’ll certainly be pushing for the DMV first,” he says.

Keep an eye out for the revamped Bar Elena at the end of the summer.

Bar Elena. 414 H St., NE