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Shaw is seeing a mini-boom in black-owned restaurants and bars ranging from fast casual to fine dining. The latest to announce its opening, 1230 Restaurant & Champagne Lounge from Senegalese Chef/Partner Malik Fall, is readying to debut next month.
It joins HalfSmoke (already open) from Andre McCain, plus two forthcoming spots: The Shaw Bijou, a tasting menu restaurant from Kwame Onwuachi, and Barcaro, a wine bar from Robert Gadsby. Around the corner on U Street, Service Bar DC from Glendon Hartley opens Thursday.
“As Shaw’s business mix has grown and diversified over the past decade, the percentage of African-American-owned businesses has decreased,” says Alexander M. Padro, the executive director for Shaw Main Streets, Inc. “But it’s great to see Kwame Onwuachi, Malik Fall, Robert Gadsby and Andre McCain join the ranks of the Tesfaye family, Donnie Simpson, Jr., the two Alem Abebes, Joseph Teshome and Yodit Lulu, Prince Makey, and other Shaw restaurateurs of color. The neighborhood’s rich black history continues.”
These openings come at a time when top conversations surrounding food in D.C. is somewhat white-washed. There were no restaurants from African-American proprietors awarded at the 2016 RAMMY Awards, nor were any mentioned in the top 10 of Washington Post critic Tom Sietsema’s Fall Dining Guide. African-American restaurateurs were also shut out of receiving Michelin stars, and Washingtonian’s 2016 “100 Very Best Restaurants” suffers from the same problem.
Speaking of Michelin stars, D.C. netting a restaurant from Fall is a big deal. The chef has worked for a number of starred restaurants, including Le Bernardin in New York and Restaurant Guy Savoy in Paris. His restaurant coming to 1230 9th Street NW will specialize in French-American nouveau cuisine with what general manager and beverage director Hakim Hamid, a D.C. native, says is the biggest selection of champagne in the city.
“We’re at 80, but I’m still tasting wines because we’re aiming for 100,” Hamid says, who adds that there will also be a slate of French-inspired cocktails, such as subbing cognac in for whiskey in an Old Fashioned. Bottles of bubbly will be priced from moderate ($36) to mega-splurge ($2,000).
Sample dishes include Earl Grey-cured wild king salmon with organic greens, gentleman relish, wood sorrel, and salmon roe, and a hearty plate of slow-roasted venison with trumpet mushrooms, beets, and caramelized pearl onions.
The restaurant will be spread out over two floors, including a downstairs bar and dining room complete with a raw bar and chef’s table, plus an upstairs lounge and roof deck. “The mood and the tone is very moody, sexy upbeat, fun, and flirty,” Hamid says.
The restaurant is scheduled to open mid- to late-November.
1230 Restaurant & Champagne Lounge, 1230 9th Street, NW; 1230dc.com