Hank’s Oyster Bar chef and owner Jamie Leeds is foregoing oysters at her newest venture, Hank’s Pasta Bar, which opens in Alexandria today at 4 p.m.
The menu features 15 types of pasta—from fettuccine bolognese to parsnip gnocchi with crab, cherry tomatoes, and spinach. All of the pastas are handmade, expect for the gluten-free fusilli. Can’t decide? Choose a sampler of any three to five pastas (except for the stuffed ones) plus an antipasti board for $29 to $35 per person.
Leeds has been interested in opening an Italian restaurant for nearly a decade. In fact, she’d considered turning her now-closed Columbia Heights restaurant Commonwealth Gastropub into an Italian spot.
Leeds first met Hank’s Pasta Bar chef Nicholas Flores when he previously worked at Al Tiramisu. One day several years ago, she sat down at the bar, and the woman next to her was having linguini with white clam sauce. Leeds tried to order the same, but the restaurant had run out of clams. So, Flores ran over to another nearby restaurant to get clams to make the dish. Leeds later ended up hiring Flores at Hank’s Oyster Bar, and now he’s serving that linguine with white clam sauce on the menu at Hank’s Pasta Bar.
Beyond pasta, the new restaurant offers risotto, crostini, salads, whole roasted fish, and meats like oven-roasted chicken and rosemary grilled lamb chops. Sides include “artisanal” mac and cheese and duck confit potatoes.
The drink menu is made up of a handful of seasonal cocktails plus at least four variations on the negroni. The Figeroni, for example, is made with figgy gin, Campari, sherry, and blackberry. The Italian-focused wine menu will feature 50 to 70 bottle options and 15 to 20 by the glass. During “aperitivo hour” weekdays from 4 to 7 p.m., drink specials plus $1 meatballs are available at the bar.
Brunch will launch on Feb. 13 and eventually lunch will be offered too.
SwatchRoom’s Maggie O’Neill, who also redesigned Hank’s Oyster Bar in Dupont, is responsible for the look of the place. Take a look below.
Barn doors leading into the private dining room:
Private dining/additional seating:
Hank’s Pasta Bar, 600 Montgomery St., Alexandria; (571) 312-4117; hankspastabar.com
Photos by Jessica Sidman