Bistrot Royal Opens in Alexandria from What’s Happening in DC: New Openings, New Chef Hires, and Barbecue Bashes

What’s Happening in DC: New Openings, New Chef Hires, and Barbecue Bashes

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Credit: Bistrot Royal

Bistrot Royal Opens in Alexandria

On Wednesday, January 21, chefs Christophe and Michelle Poteaux opened Bistrot Royal, a casual French bistrot located on the waterfront in Old Town Alexandria. The bistrot is replacing the Poteaux’s other long-time restaurant, Bastille, which has moved to a new location. Bistrot Royal’s 42 seats can accommodate guests for lunch, dinner, and desserts in cozy Parisian-style banquettes, high top bar seats, or, as the French say, en plein air on the patio. Chef de cuisine Salvador Alvarez, will oversee menus that include classics such as moules marinières and pommes frites, coq au vin, frisée aux lardons, and crème brûlée.

Credit: Bastille

Bastille Re-Opens in Alexandria

On Monday, January 26, only a few days behind the successful open of Bistrot Royal, chefs Christophe and Michelle Poteaux proudly re-open Bastille at its new, larger location on North Fayette Street in Alexandria, Va.

Along with an updated kitchen, Bastille’s dining room will now be able to accommodate 140 guests in two dining rooms, an all-day café, and in the patio courtyard. A more au courante décor featuring burnished wood accents, cityscape photographs, and sleek lighting gives the restaurant a contemporary French ambience.

The new chef de cuisine is Dawn Burkart, a former colleague from Aquarelle, and while the menu retains many of the French classics, chef Christophe Poteaux has added new dishes like paella à la plancha and Maine lobster braised in coconut curry broth. These additions reflect modern France’s cultural diversity and include culinary flavors and recipes from North Africa and the Middle East. Chef Michelle Poteaux will continue to offer excellent housemade sweets and baked goods such as galette de pain flatbread, a selection of ice creams, and made-to-order cakes for special occasions.

Credit: Boss Shepherd’s

Boss Shepherd’s Birthday Special

For those who have a hankering for crispy fried chicken, Boss Shepherd is one dining spot where they know a thing or two about Southern cooking, spirits, and hospitality. We encourage you to take advantage of the special promotion they are offering in honor of Mr. Alexander Robey Shepherd, aka “Boss” Shepherd’s birthday. Boss Shepherd was born on January 30, 1835, so between Monday, January 26 and Saturday, January 31, the restaurant is offering executive chef Jeremy Waybright’s crispy fried chicken for $18.73 (normally $24) and $1 shots of whiskey when you purchase the fried chicken special. Each includes a half chicken, flaky buttermilk biscuit, fairy tale eggplant, and smoked egg yolk sauce, and you can bet this is lip-smacking chicken.

Credit: D.C. Meat Week

D.C. Meat Week

The Super Bowl is not far away, and for lovers of slow-cooked, smoked meat, that means only one thing: Meat Week. Since 2005, barbecue fans across the country have been feasting on pulled, primped, spiced, and slathered pork, chicken, brisket, and ribs. Although D.C.’s Meat Week started in 2010, it has since picked up steam, and this year, Mike Bober, D.C. Meat Week’s founder and first mate, along with captain Hayden Hurst, have planned nine official events including a barbecue brunch and a "Brews and 'Cue” party at Denizens Brewery.

D.C.’s Meat Week runs from Sunday, January 25 to Sunday, February 1, and you can see the full lineup of barbecue joints here. No reservations are required; just look for the Meat Week flags at each venue, buy your grub, and join the crowd. Look for each D.C. Meat Week venue’s specials on Twitter, and be sure to like D.C. Meat Week on Facebook.

Credit: Orange Anchor

The Opening of Orange Anchor

In early February, Reese Gardner, owner of Wooden Nickel Bar Company, will open Orange Anchor at the Washington Harbour in lower Georgetown. This will be his fifth food and drink project in the D.C. area, which includes Copperwood Tavern, Union Social, Second State, and Irish Whiskey Public House. All of Wooden Nickel’s properties have a distinct persona and focus on specific types of beverages with complementary food and drink menus that have a distinctly local focus, whether it’s the foodstuffs of Pennsylvania or Ireland.

At Orange Anchor, everyone is treated like a captain, be they old salty seadogs or local landlubbers, and this populist attitude is reflected in the easy menu and friendly service. The restaurant will offer seasonal American cuisine prepared with local game, farm-raised poultry, and fresh meat and seafood, as well as handmade artisanal cocktails. Quality is the goal, and Orange Anchor Dock Bar will serve prime cuts of beef, fresh lobster and tuna, and ingredients sourced from small farmers within a three-hour drive of D.C. To slake their customers’ thirst, a selection of more than 40 rare and infused rums will be offered and used to prepare classic, seasonal, and specialty cocktails. For those who prefer a daily ration of beer, the bar will feature “Captain’s Favorite Drafts.”

Credit: Rey Lopez/Under a Bushel Photography

The Revamping of The Oval Room

When you own an influential restaurant group, the chefs you put in charge can take your restaurants straight to the top or damage your hard-won reputation. Choosing the right combination of talent, experience, and management skills is essential, and Ashok Bajaj, one of D.C.’s most successful and award-winning restaurateurs, has a knack for finding just the right person. Recently, The Oval Room went through a makeover in the dining room with a recent renovation, and in the kitchen with a new executive chef, John Melfi, and the results are stunning.

A graduate of Pennsylvania Culinary Institute, chef Melfi brings a wealth of experience to the job, which includes stints with influential chefs and restaurants in D.C. and Charleston, South Carolina. Over the last 12 years, his career trajectory has exposed him to a range of American regional and international cuisines and his most recent position was as the opening chef of Fiola Mare under James Beard Award-winning chef and owner Fabio Trabocchi, where he garnered three stars from The Washington Post and from Washingtonian magazine. Prior to that position, chef Melfi was the chef de cuisine at three-star rated Blue Duck Tavern. While there, he helped the restaurant win the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington’s “Fine Dining Restaurant of the Year” award in June 2013; he also worked at Vidalia with Jeff Buben and was a sous chef at famed Charleston destination restaurant, Slightly North of Broad, where he prepared low-country cuisine alongside acclaimed chef Frank Lee. We are eagerly waiting to see what he has in store for D.C.’s foodies and can’t wait to taste his new menu.  

Credit: Anjali M

A Taste of Santa Monica, by Way of Chicago

Pike & Rose in Bethesda, Maryland, has just added Chicago’s Summer House Santa Monica to their roster, now open daily for dinner. A project of Lettuce Entertain You, this new restaurant is in the capable hands of chef Jeff Mahin along with chef and partner Francis Brennan. The seasonal menu features American cuisine with a California vibe and includes a variety of meat, poultry, and fish cooked simply over a grill or in the wood-fire oven. Simple yet elegant is the approach taken with all of the dishes, like the bucatini and brown butter carbonara with braised bacon, farm egg, and Parmesan, or the wood-grilled mahi mahi taco with black beans, rice, guacamole, and salsa. In addition, the restaurant makes its own artisanal bread and pastries, has a California-centric wine list, and offers fresh-squeezed juices. California expats will find the restaurant’s subdued, beachy décor comfortingly familiar and will find it easy to relax in the dining room’s pale ocean hues, natural linens, and patina of bleached wood surfaces. 

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What’s Happening in DC: New Openings, New Chef Hires, and Barbecue Bashes

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