City Paper is not for tourists
Restaurateur Robert Wiedmaier of Marcel’s and Brasserie Beck fame is opening a seafood restaurant named Siren. “It’s a mythological creature, kind of like a mermaid that eats sailors alive,” Wiedmaier says. Though his partner, Chef Brian McBride, thought of the name, Wiedmaier responded, “That’s ME, we’re going with it.”
The menu at Siren, which opens this spring in Logan Circle, will be a who’s who of ocean dwellers from around the world, with a special emphasis on the North Sea where sole and turbot can be found. Wiedmaier says to also expect prawns, king crab, and salmon from Alaska, sea urchin from Japan, and fish from Hawaii. “We’re looking for the best of the best that we can find and local too.” The restaurant plans to sell rockfish, sugar toads, and oysters from nearby waters.
Chef John Critchley,who has been leading the kitchen at Brine in Merrifield’s Mosaic District since that seafood restaurant opened in May 2015, has been tapped to lead the kitchen at Siren. His local resume also includes Bourbon Steak and Barcelona Wine Bar. In addition to seafood, Critchley will gussy up vegetables.
Siren is located inside the forthcoming The Darcy, Curio Collection by Hilton hotel that’s replacing The DoubleTree hotel on Scott Circle. Wiedmaier says there will be a separate entrance for Siren so it might not come off as a hotel restaurant. He’s hoping it will be a hit with people who live and work in Logan Circle, not just out-of-towners.
In terms of price, point Wiedmaier stops short of calling Siren fine dining and pins it “somewhere between Marcel’s and Brasserie Beck, maybe like Brabo.” (Wiedmaier cut ties with Brabo in Alexandria this month.)
“I don’t want the average check to be outrageous, I don’t want to hold people food hostage,” he says. He hopes guests can come in for oysters and a martini as easily as they can come in for a blow-out meal of Alaskan king crab and other ocean luxuries.
The wine list accompanying the seafood will be built by Marcel’s sommelier Moez Ben Achour. Wiedmaier says to expect wines from California, Oregon, and Washington State, plus Greece and Spain. Unlike Marcel’s where Champagne can run into the triple digits, expect bubbles in the $75 range.
Siren should feel like classy captain’s quarters on a ship if the design goes according to plan. Think dark wood millwork, red and blue accents, and art depicting “folkloric mermaids.” Maybe some art will even look like old-school tattoos from 19th and 20th Century sailing culture.
Wiedmaier says Siren could open as early as April.
Siren, 1515 Rhode Island Ave. NW; (202) 779-9957; thedarcyhotel.com