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Neighborhood Eats: Union Market Revealed, Sakuramen Opens, Casa Nonna Closes

by Rebecca Cooper

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Tables at Sakuramen.

Yes, Mike Isabella’s next restaurant, Bandolero, opens today in Georgetown, and yes, Union Market unveiled a killer lineup of vendors and eateries expected for the new market slash restaurant collective, but that’s not all that should be on your food radar this week. Check it out:

Open: The much-anticipated Brookland pizza restaurant Menomalé officially opened last Friday after a couple weeks of soft service. The joint is serving up gourmet pies, calzones, sandwiches, and Italian and specialty meats and cheese plates. Located at 2711 12th Street NE, Menomalé also features craft beers from around the U.S., including Victory’s Prima Pils and Green Flash’s imperial stout. They’re open for dinner every day except Tuesday, and for lunch on Saturday and Sunday.

Tuesday was opening night for DC’s newest noodle shop, Sakuramen in Adams Morgan. The restaurant’s setup at 2441 18th Street NW has one long communal table for soup-slurping, as well as several smaller tables for slightly more intimate dining, and the walls are painted with meandering tree designs. Striving to include flavors of varied cuisines, chef Jonathan Cho is cooking up more than just ramen, with udon and miso soups, as well as dumplings and buns on the menu.

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The classic pie at Menomalé. (Courtesy of Menomalé)

Opening…soon: Just in time for the kickoff to summer, Tom Brown’s New York Avenue Beach Bar is laying sand in anticipation of opening tomorrow afternoon, Eater reports. The former parking lot will offer beer on tap and in cans, refreshing beachy drinks in punch form, lounge chairs to chill out in, kiosks selling t-shirts and flip flops and a place for you to check your regular shoes at the door. Stay tuned to the bar’s Twitter account for confirmation that it will indeed open tomorrow.

Opening…eventually: An upscale American restaurant from a veteran DC chef will open in Arlington’s Ballston neighborhood later this year, reports Washington Business Journal. Leek American Bistro will take over the space currently occupied by Thai Terrace at 801 N. Quincy Street. The chef behind the restaurant is Nathan Spittal, a veteran of upscale DC spots including Nathan’s and the Caucus Room, and more recently the popular BBQ Banditos food truck. The restaurant plans to open in late summer or early fall, Spittal tells WBJ.

In more new Arlington restaurant news, it looks like someone’s hoping to give BBQ powerhouse Pork Barrel BBQ a run for their money. Epic SmokeHouse is looking to open in Pentagon City in the next couple of months, and it will fall somewhere above a BBQ joint and somewhere below a fine dining establishment on the restaurant spectrum, chef Wayne Halleran tells City Paper. Halleran, who worked for the past decade at The Palm, will open the spot at 1330 S. Fair Street with his friend and Palm colleague Joon Yang. The menu will include barbecue dishes as well as more upscale items you’d expect from a steakhouse.

Not opening: The Hilton brothers, who are the brains behind several U Street area restaurants, are pulling out of a deal to open a restaurant on H Street NE, City Paper’s Young & Hungry blog reports. Eric and Ian Hilton planned to open a bar and live entertainment venue at 1337 H Street NE, but recently sold that lease to make room on their plate for four upcoming projects, their spokesman tells CP.

Closed: Italian restaurant Casa Nonna made the surprising announcement yesterday that Wednesday night would be their last night of service at the Dupont Circle location. (They still run one in New York.) Casa Nonna opened less than two years ago in the cavernous 1250 Connecticut Avenue NW location, but the ESquared Hospitality group — which also owns BLT Steak here in DC — said the restaurant’s business was never what they hoped for.

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Former Market Tavern in Clarendon.

Also shutting its doors is Market Tavern, the restaurant that took over for Harry’s Tap Room at 2800 Clarendon Boulevard just a few months ago. A sign posted in the restaurant’s window thanked the neighborhood for the “encouragement, support, and patronage” over the nine years that Harry’s and then Market Tavern graced the busy corner of Clarendon Boulevard and North Fillmore Street. Market Tavern’s owner, who managed Harry’s and took over the space from the parent company last fall, told ARLNow that pricy renovations contributed to the restaurant’s recent hard times. We’ll keep our eyes open for the large space’s next inhabitant, though; a location this prominent is sure to be snapped up quickly.

Events: There’s plenty going on in town this weekend, despite the lore that everyone’s heading out around 2 p.m. on Friday — Going out Gurus and Washingtonian both have a great roundup of suggestions for what to do this weekend. As far as food goes, though, we’ll offer up two barbecue themed options in honor of this weekend’s grill-tastic heritage. If you haven’t been able to make it down to Pork Barrel BBQ in Del Ray, tomorrow’s the last day to try the joint’s pulled pork at a pop-up lunch counter at 918 F Street NW in Penn Quarter (map). From 11-2 p.m., $13 gets you a pulled pork sandwich, sides, and a drink.

On Sunday, you could head over to Hill Country for a traditional picnic supper featuring an all you can eat buffet and live performances from the Mount Calvary Holy Church Choir and blues musician Eli Cook. Tickets run you $20 for the buffet of dogs, burgers, sides, and ice cream; call 202.556-2044 to reserve a spot.

See other articles related to: neighborhood eats

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/neighborhood_eats_union_market_revealed_sakuramen_opening_farewell/5577

1 Comment

  1. Drew Ran said at 1:21 pm on Thursday May 24, 2012:

    Pork Barrel BBQ needs a run for its money. It is mediocre, at best.

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