Seems like our amazing little neighborhood pizza joint is getting more and more positive exposure across the city all the time. On Friday camera crews from NBC 4 were at Menomale to film this short spot narrated by Washington Post restaurant critic Tom Sietsema. According to Menomale’s Facebook page, it ran on Friday night’s NBC 4 broadcast of Nonstop Foodies: DC. Awesome! Click here to view the video. (Menomale is located at 2711 12th St. NE.)
The long anticipated opening of Little Ricky’s, Brookland’s new Cuban sit-down restaurant occurred the weekend of Friday Nov 9 – Sunday Nov 11th. For now, they will be open weekly Friday though Sunday; and as part of their soft opening, will be serving up different 4-course fixed priced menus each night. The idea is to refine the items that they plan to offer on their full, regular menu in December. The price for these meals is $24.50. We stopped by on Friday, and again on Sunday to check it out.
I’ll start with the vibrant ambiance. From the salsa music lilting through the air, to the fine artwork by Cuban artist Ahmed Gomez , the owners have clearly taken a lot of time and effort to create a wonderful atmosphere that is a step above anything we have seen in the immediate area. The beautiful craftsmanship of the hand-made shelving behind the bar is an example of the investment the owners Chase and Lola have made.
On to the food and service. The first night they were open, Friday, the food was very good, but the service was a bit disjointed. Having worked in the restaurant industry for a number of years, I knew to expect that the first night would have a few bumps. I decided to return Sunday night for another go-round. This time the pace of the service was much more smooth, and I already noticed improvements, for example, the portions were tweaked for the better and the side dishes were much more consistent. The management bounced around from table to table, making sure everyone was taken care of. I spoke with roughly 20 guests between the two nights, and to a person everyone raved about how delicious the food was, and how happy they were with the experience.
Standouts on the menu were:
- Croquettas – delicious little appetizers, crunchy on the outside and soft yummy fillings on the inside, like ham or fish.
- Gambas al Ajillo – perfectly sautéed shrimp with a garlic sauce, a classic tapa and perfect way to start a meal
- Sopa de Mariscos – a flavorful tomato based soup chock full of seafood and potatoes
- Lechon Asado – slow roasted pork, oh-so-tender and de-lish
- Grilled Fish (I think it was tilapia) – perfectly cooked with a hint of lime & garlic
- Masa de Puerco – fork tender sautéed pork chucks with a nice caramelized seer with onions
- Mango Ice Cream – soooo soooo good,
(To see the full menus that were served over the weekend, check out our earlier post here.)
We thought we would follow up on Joe’s post about Union Market’s opening in September. Astrid and I have visited a number of times since then, and every time there is something new and improved. I simply love going there. Everything about the place is so fresh, bright and inviting. If you haven’t checked it out, I recommend stopping by. There are activities and events happening all the time. For example, the Crafty Bastards Arts and Crafts Fair is relocating there on Saturday November 10th. Salt & Sundry will open their doors on Novembr 9th. Also, Union Market will be open 5 days a week after next weekend. One of the nicer improvements over time is the increase in prepared food vendors, such as several food trucks turned food stands like DC Empanadas, Curbside Cupcakes, and TaKorean; making it a great place to eat and shop. The one downside is that I find it quite pricey. But, I’ll qualify that by saying that I think this is due to the very high quality and craftsmanlike/artisanal approach of the vendors. For example, the meats are so fresh and come from “happy” free range animals, not mass production facilities. Because of this, we have generally stuck to our regular grocery shopping routine, we simply can’t afford to use Union Market as our weekly stock-up spot, plus a lot of the mundane basics you need in life, think – canned goods, breakfast cereal – simply aren’t there. So,thus far, the market has fallen into 3 categories of use for us 1) a source for amazing dinner party menu ideas and ingredients. The meats, spreads and flowers will make any guest or host super impressed 2) a few “splurge” items like a nice hunk of fine cheese, or the oh-so-incredible smoked salmon bagel sandwich pictured below and 3) a great place to wow your out of town guests, especially those coming from far away places, like NW Washington DC. Union Market is located at 1309 5th Street NE. Check out their website here.
Looking for a place to watch the election results? Consider the Election Night Party at Optimism Bar & Lounge. Specials:
Free Wings – 7:00 PM until 8:00 PM
Discount Drinks – 7:00 PM until 9:00 PM and $6.00 Corzo Silver Shots all night.
Optimism Bar & Lounge is located at 3301 12th Street, NE – at the corner of 12th and Kearney. (202)526-0100
We Brooklanders already know that DC’s best pizza resides right here on 12th St. at Menomale. But, it’s great to see them get some credit where it is due. The restaurant was recently reviewed by Tom Sietsema of the Washington Post. If you don’t know who he is – this is kind of a big deal. He only has over 23,000 followers on Twitter, for example. So what did he have to say about our beloved Menomale?
Tip No. 1: Starters tend to be outsize, and little of what I’ve sampled — unwieldy marinated seafood, caprese salad with cottony tomatoes — is worth taking space away from Rusciano’s typically thin, lightly blistered and pleasantly yeasty pizzas. There are more than a dozen, including a zippy Diavola scattered with spicy salami and peperoncino. Tip No. 2: You’re missing half the fun if you don’t imbibe or at least listen to Estes expound on his favorite subject. Smashed Blueberry, a hybrid between a porter and a Scotch ale, smells like a warm fruit pie but tastes of chocolate and coffee; Baladin Nora Sour is an Egyptian-inspired brew from Italy that hints of coriander.
The only downside is that now everyone will know what a gem we have and it may become yet even more popular. Last night, there was an hour wait. An hour. For a restaurant in Brookland. Could you have imagined saying that a year ago? Congrats Menomale, well done!
Hello fellow Little Ricky’s enthusiasts. On Wednesday we posted that Little Ricky’s would have a soft opening and begin serving up a 4 course fixed priced menu on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Since then, they have launched a reservation system and announced the menus for their opening weekend on November 9 – 12. As part of their soft opening, they will continue to serve the fixed price menus until they have worked through the items that they plan to offer on their full, regular menu in December. The price for these meals is $24.50. Never have I been so happy to be a guinea pig! So without further ado:
Appetizer Course – Croquettas (Ham or Bacalao), Black bean Hummus with Plantain chips, or Gambas al Ajillo
Soup Course – Green Plantain Soup or Caldo Gallego Soup
Main Course – Pollo Navarro (1/4 roasted chicken with hell’a good mojo), Lechon Asado or Grilled Fish (lime & garlic marinade)
Sides – (choice of 3) Black beans & rice, Tostones, Maduros, Yuca con Mojo, Tater Tots or Grilled veggie medley
Dessert Course: Flan – Ice Cream of the day or Arroz Con Leche
Appetizer Course – Tostones with Chicharrones, Ropa Vieja Sliders, and Half Baked potato with Picadillo
Soup Course – Green Plantain Soup or Lental Soup~ Havana Style
Main Course – Chicharrones de Pollo, Boliche or Shrimp Enchilado (no not enchiladas)
Sides – (choice of 3) Black beans & rice, Tostones, Maduros, Yuca con Mojo, Tater Tots or Grilled veggie medley
Dessert Course – Guava Cheesecake, Ice Cream of the Day or Cuban Bread Pudding
Appetizer Course – Garbanzo Refrito con Chorizo, Croquettas, or Picadillo Sliders
Soup Course – Sopa de Marisco or Caldo Gallego Soup
Main Course – Tio Pio’s Grilled Chicken, Grilled Fish of the day or Masa de Puerco
Sides – (choice of 3) Black beans & rice, Tostones, Maduros, Yuca con Mojo, Tater Tots and Grilled veggie medley
Dessert Course – Guava and Cream Cheese Rolled cake, Ice Cream of the day or Flan
The Rhode Island Avenue NE Insider has an informative post on a new restaurant coming to Rhode Island Avenue, right around the corner in Woodridge. The restaurant, Le Table DC, is slated for a soft opening in January 2013, and will offer limited seating and only be open three days a week – at first. The restaurant has an interesting concept. Currently, it operates kind of like a catering company, serving eight course tasting menus to groups of 12 people in private homes for a set price. They plan on bringing that same concept to the restaurant, which will be located at 2212 Rhode Island Ave NE. After checking out the Le Table DC website, it looks like it will be intimate dining, small plates and pretty pricey. This tidbit from the Insider post will be of special interest to Brooklanders:
Can’t wait to try his food? Well, if his planned January 2013 soft opening doesn’t happen, Oliver is trying to plan a popup restaurant for one or two days in January at Silvestre Cafe in Brookland (12th Street).
We wish Le Table DC the best of luck, it is great to see an entrepreneur setting up shop on the avenue.
Us Brooklanders already know that Menomale serves up the best pizza in DC. Now the rest of DC will know about it soon too. Congrats to Menomale on their 3 page spread in the October 2012 food section of Washingtonian Magazine!
On Saturday night the owners of Little Ricky’s hosted a private art show and sneak peek of what’s to come. It was an evening of fantastic food, warm hospitality, great art and live music. I have to confess, by the time my wife and I left, we were downright giddy.
This place is a fantastic. Here’s what separates it from most of the Latin restaurants in DC – it has a crisp, clear point of view – decidedly Cuban. Many places offer a hodge-podge of Latin dishes spanning South, Central and North America and the Caribbean. Not this place. The music, art, decor, and most importantly, the food, stays true to a distinctly Cuban heritage. Notably, the tostones (fried slices of green/unripe plantains) are not something you can find in most catch-all Latin restaurants, and they were scrumptious. My wife was blown away by the heavenly croquettas with their crunchy outside and soft delicious fillings inside. The other striking thing about this place is how high-end everything is. From the fine artwork by Cuban artist Ahmed Gomez to the smallest details, the owners have clearly taken a lot of time and effort to create a wonderful ambiance that is a step above anything we have seen in the immediate area.
Ok, already! So when do they open? The owners, Lola and Chase are planning on a soft opening in early October, so they can work out the kinks first. The next steps are hiring the wait staff and other last minute details. At first, they will only be open Friday though Sunday, including brunch service. Little Ricky’s is located at 3522 12th St. NE. If you would like to keep up with their developments, we recommend liking their Facebook Page or stay tuned here.