Azur Now Open in Penn Quarter

Staff Writer
Frederik de Pue's much-anticipated second Washington, D.C. restaurant is all about seafood
Greg Powers
Oysters

A new 135-seat contemporary seafood restaurant opened April 18 in the space last occupied by chef José Andrés' pop-ups Café Atlántico, minibar, and America Eats Tavern.

Azur is intended to be a true seafood restaurant, influenced by time chef Frederik de Pue spent with some of Europe's best chefs (for example, Alain Chapel, Alain Ducasse, and Yves Mattagne) and at some of the best seafood kitchens, including the Michelin-starred restaurant Sea Grill in his native Belgium. "The key to great seafood is cooking simply and with respect for your ingredients, and with Azur I can show off that kind of cuisine," de Pue said in a release.

The seasonal menu includes items such as roasted turbot with hakurei turnips, red mullet with shaved fennel salad, and grilled tiger prawns with snap peas, and popcorn grits. De Pue offers shellfish cooked "en cocotte," which means they're prepared in a mussel pot and brought to the table in their cooking liquid, a technique he uses in some of his dishes at his other D.C. restaurant, Table. At Azur, this type of preparation will feature the traditional Belgian combination of leeks, ale, and parsley as well some other more exotic combinations. Azur promises dishes for both meat lovers and vegetarians as well.

The space, an azure ode to the sea, boasts two bars and three floors. The restuarant's nautical theme culminates in a custom-made chandelier that appears to be made of underwater air bubbles in varied shapes and sizes. Upstairs is a raw bar, located in the former minibar space, which offers oysters, caviar, and house-cured salmon, among other selections. The first floor bar will offer "briny bar bites," such as fish chips, baked oysters, marinated white anchovies, sweet and sour fried squid, and uni toast, along with classic and original cocktails named after famous boats.

Chef de Pue is committed to sustainable sourcing, not just in selecting ingredients for Azur, but in all aspects of its operations. For example, Azur will filter all water in-house, compost a portion of its waste, and collect all oyster shells to be returned to local beaches and oyster beds.

The restaurant will serve dinner Tuesday through Sunday, with weekday lunch to follow.

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