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After five years selling sandwiches and salads to the downtown lunch crowd at G Street Food, 32-year-old investment banker-turned restaurateur David Choi is dabbling in the dinner scene. Choi already has two locations of his internationally themed fast casual joint by the White House (on G Street) and in Dupont Circle. His third restaurant, opening tomorrow near McPherson Square, will have the same sandwich- and salad-centric menus for weekday breakfast and lunch, but will transform into a full-service restaurant in the evenings and for weekend brunch.
Dinner, like lunch, will draw from culinary influences around the world. Chef Andrew LaPorta, an alum of Palena, 1789, and Fillomena, at least knows about the wide range of foods in their native settings. As the son of a diplomat, he’s lived on six continents.
The menu features a large section of “bites”—from Bolivian saltenas to Tuscan fried sardines—as well as various mix-and-match boards of housemade sausages and other cured meats. The “of the land and sea” section of the menu skips from Thai long bean “pokpok” to pulled pork. Choi says you won’t find many of the dishes in other D.C. restaurants. In fact, some of them you’ve probably never heard of: ukoy (Filipino baby shrimp and sweet potato fritters), tarator soslu (Turkish fried mussels with walnuts, tarator sauce, and aleppo peppers), and papas huancainas (Peruvian purple potatoes with grilled octopus, farmers cheese, and egg).
Like an increasing number of restaurants these days, G Street will also offer a number of family-style “share” platters that can be split by at least two people. “We will give you a ton of food, and you will not be able to finish an entree from the ‘shares,'” Choi says. “So you better have a friend with you.” These larger dishes ($22 to $40) range from chicken parm to Singapore chili crab to chile rellenos. There’s even a whole suckling pig available with two days notice for groups of at least four people (at $40 per person). breads and pastries baked in-house everyday.
The booze is some of the more affordable around town. No cocktail is more than $9, and bottles of wine range from $21 to $63 with the majority in the $20s-to-$30s range. Beers ($6 to $13) are broken down in four categories—Asia, South America, North America, and Europe—and include some brands from Japan, Argentina, El Salvador, and elsewhere that you won’t easily find around D.C. Happy hour will be rolled out soon with even better deals, like a bucket of six beers for $12.
The restaurant will also begin serving brunch this weekend with a handful of sandwiches, “brunch bites” like Nutella arancini and spicy chicken tamale, and entrees that include risotto pancakes and crispy schnitzel with eggs and frankfurter.
Choi says he’s not too concerned about all the competing flavors. “I think we’ve tried very hard to be as authentic as we can with the various regions that are represented, but at the same time, it’s got to be good…Our menu gives you plenty of options, whatever you’re in the mood for that day.”
Click to enlarge all the menus below.
G Street Food, 1030 15th St. NW; (202) 842-8484; gstreetfood.com Photo by Jessica Sidman