The New York Times’ Pete Wells, one of the country’s most powerful food writers, boldly proclaimed this month that hotel dining is back in his native New York. Everyone from Mario Batali and April Bloomfield to Andrew Carmellini and Tom Colicchio have had haute hotel eateries. This comes after what feels like a decade of trying to plant restaurants in the unlikeliest of places: shipping containers! Laundromats! Rotting row homes!
But it’s not just the Big Apple that’s going back in time to when it was commonplace to stroll past a concierge desk to get to some of the best tables in town. D.C.’s top chefs are also selecting hotels for their latest and greatest openings this spring.
The hotel: Marriott Marquis (901 Massachusetts Ave. NW)
The chef/restaurateur: Mike Isabella
The restaurant: Arroz
Opening: March 27
Enter Arroz through the grandiose lobby of the Marriott Marquis next to the Convention Center. Just look for the Vegas-style entryway with the word “Arroz” glittering in gold, signaling you’re in for a luxe time after you make your way through a series of dramatically blue archways that tip their hat to Moorish architecture. The restaurant, from restaurateur Mike Isabella, serves cuisine inspired by the south of Spain and Morocco with drinks to match like sherry, gin and tonics, and cocktails spiked with mahia fig brandy. Come warm weather, the Massachusetts Avenue-facing restaurant will have a sexy patio with cushy lounge seating and a trellis. Though in a hotel, Isabella says, “we’re not High Velocity or Starbucks.”
The hotel: The Darcy (1515 Rhode Island Ave. NW)
The chef/restaurateur: Robert Wiedmaier
The restaurant: Siren
Chef Robert Wiedmaier of Marcel’s and Brasserie Beck fame wants future guests of Siren to know his restaurant will have its own entrance, separate from the forthcoming hotel, The Darcy in Logan Circle. That’s where you’ll find his ode to the ocean. Former Brine Chef John Critchley will helm Siren’s kitchen, and diners can expect an opulent raw bar, seafood from around the world, cool takes on vegetables, and lots of Champagne. Named for a mermaid-like mythological creature that eats sailors alive, Siren will have the look and feel of a captain’s quarters on a ship.
The hotel: The LINE Hotel DC (1770 Euclid St. NW)
The chef/restaurateur(s): Erik Bruner-Yang and Spike Gjerde
The restaurant(s): Brothers and Sisters, Spoken English, A Rake’s Progress
The LINE netted two monster chefs for its food and beverage offerings: Erik Bruner-Yang of Maketto and Spike Gjerde of Baltimore’s Woodberry Kitchen. Bruner-Yang will debut a tasting menu restaurant with Spoken English, plus Brothers and Sisters inspired by Japanese and Taiwanese flavors. Meanwhile, Gjerde will celebrate the Mid-Atlantic at A Rake’s Progress and the accompanying A Rake’s Bar.
The hotel: POD Hotel DC (627 H St. NW)
The chef/restaurateur: Ian and Eric Hilton
The restaurant(s): Crimson Diner, Whiskey Bar, and Rooftop
Opening: Late spring
The Hilton brothers, who have been debuting nightlife spots in D.C. for more than a decade, are making their first foray into hotels with a lobby diner, whiskey bar, and rooftop bar all under the Crimson moniker. The diner will serve Southern comfort food well into the night, and the whiskey bar will celebrate the brown spirit’s popularity in the South.