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You’d think that with all the new restaurants opening up on 14th Street NW, it might be easier to get a table on a Tuesday night. Don’t hold your breath.
Two new restaurants officially opened last night: Italian gastropub Ghibellina and Belgian bistro B Too. Around 8 p.m., Ghibellina had an hour-and-a-half wait, while B Too and month-old Le Diplomate were so full that they both stopped taking names for walk-ins. (I ate at Pearl Dive Oyster Palace: 30 minute wait.)
Meanwhile, Black Whiskey, a new bar and art space from the owner of Kushi Izakaya & Sushi, debuted just a few blocks south over the weekend. (I didn’t get a chance drop in to see how packed it was.) And today, Sweetgreen opens a location at 14th and W with a “pay what you want” promotion with proceeds going to its school nutrition program. (Cue the lines.)
Still to come to the corridor: Kapnos and G, Diego, Piola, Etto, Doi Moi, Ted’s Bulletin, Lupo Verde, Tico, Taqueria Nacional, BakeHouse, Compass Rose, Bar di Bari, M Cafe & Bar, Barcelona Wine Bar, Chipotle, something from the Taylor Gourmet guys, and I’m sure I’m missing something else.
If you can snag a seat, here’s what you should expect to eat and drink at 14th St. NW’s four newest additions:
1324 14th St. NW
What You’ll Eat: Mussels are one of the main attractions with eight different varieties, including “green” with chorizo, spinach, ahd garlic cream sauce and “Hoegaarden” with orange zest, celery, cilantro, and lemongrass. Chef Bart Vandaele has a Jasper oven, which uses charcoal, for many of the dishes. Some of his “100% Belgian” items include Flemish beef stew, mussel waffles, brussels sprouts with duck confit, and endive salad with orange, blue cheese, and cocoa nibs.
What You’ll Drink: Belgian beer, of course. The restaurant has about 120 Belgian brews, including a dozen on draft. Eventually, B Too hopes to bring that collection up to 200 beers. (Beer also makes its way into the cocktails.) The restaurant has a substantial wine list, too, with an emphasis on French Bordeaux and Burgundy as well as Spanish varietals, for which Vandaele has a particular passion.
1610 14th St. NW
What You’ll Eat: The menu is broken down into sections like zuppe (soups), insalate (salads), pasta, pesce (fish), carne (meat), contorni (sides), and salumi e formaggi. Among the “secondi” or main courses is a 1.5 kg (3.3 pound) Bistecca alla Fiorentina for $85. For something a little more manageable, try one of the pizzas, which include the classic margherita di bufala as well as Germogli di Piselli with pea shoots, culatello, lemon, mozzarella, and grana cheese.
What You’ll Drink: Italian wines and beers dominate the drink menu. There are also a half dozen $12 cocktails including the “Ghib-Bellini” with white beach puree, lemon juice, and bitters as well as the “Via Garibaldi” with Fernet Branca, lime and lemon juice, and egg whites.
1410 14th St. NW
What You’ll Eat: The pub food menu includes a carving station that turns out roast meats and vegetables.
What You’ll Drink: Small-batch whiskeys and a dozen or so beers on tap.
1325 W St. NW
What You’ll Eat: Sweetgreen will offer its standard menu of salads, grain bowls, and frozen yogurt, but today only, pay whatever you feel like. Keep in mind: All the money will benefit Sweetgreen in Schools, a collaboration with DC Farm to School which teaches student about the importance of nutrition and local foods.
What You’ll Drink: This location will be the first to have its own Sweetpress window for selling organic cold-press juices.
Photo of B Too by Jessica Sidman