Washington, D.C. runs hot and cold in May (actually), but Washingtonians eagerly await its arrival because the Nationals are playing, patios are open for outdoor dining, and soft shell crab season has arrived. It’s also a popular time of year for new restaurant openings, and this month there are a slew of new eateries to add to your must-hit list. There are posh new steak houses, Italian market restaurants, and oops – one of our resident booze gurus has done it again. Newbies aren’t the only ones throwing parties, one old favorite has all of its ducks in a row for a locavore cruise that celebrates the bounty of Maryland’s Eastern Shore.
Beauty and Bounty of the Bay Cruise from Park Hyatt
Each spring, Park Hyatt hotels around the globe host the Masters of Food & Wine series, and on Saturday, May 30, executive chef Ryan LaRoche, from Park Hyatt D.C.’s Blue Duck Tavern, sets sail with a select group of passengers for a gourmet cruise aboard the Liberté, a luxurious 74-foot sailing schooner. From 2 to 5 p.m., guests will enjoy a sumptuous feast that celebrates the local bounty of Maryland’s Eastern Shore. The price is $150 per person (excluding tax and gratuity), and from the moment the schooner leaves Annapolis for the waters of the Chesapeake, hors d’oeuvres will be passed and spring-inspired cocktails will flow. Be sure to book passage now or you’ll be left ashore.
Chef Amy Brandwein to Open Centrolina June 1
Local chef Amy Brandwein is embarking on her first solo foray into D.C.’s dining scene with Centrolina, a dual concept osteria and Italian market featuring freshly prepared, seasonal food. Brandwein’s eatery and market will operate in symbiosis with a rotating menu of Amy’s favorite dishes and select pantry items and wines for cooking all'Italiana. For Brandwein, “Centrolina is about creating an experience for diners where they can enjoy a chef-driven Italian meal and then stroll into the market to purchase my house-made pasta, sauces, local bread and imported Italian treats.” Market hours begin at 8 a.m. on May 26, and lunch reservations begin June 1. Try pasta dishes like pappardelle lamb ragu, wood-fired fish and poletto, panini, and fried-to-order bomboloni.
Embassy Chef Challenge
In 2007, Cultural Tourism DC launched Passport DC, a one-of-a-kind embassy tour that gives the public a peek into embassies in Washington and gives represented countries a chance to showcase their culture, trade, and tourism. From the beginning, the event was a smash hit, and led to the creation of the annual Embassy Chef Challenge, now in its seventh year. This year, the gala cook-off is being held Wednesday, May 20, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center and tickets are $250 per person. This savory event is your chance to travel the world on your belly without having to pack a bag. All you have to do is sample the cuisine of embassy chefs from 12 nations as they compete for the Judges’ Choice and People’s Choice awards.
Jug & Table to Open in Adams Morgan
The folks behind Ripple and Roofers Union are at it again, this time they’ve reworked the downstairs at Roofers Union and turned into a wine bar specializing in hand selected, esoteric but affordable wine. The new digs, called Jug & Table, will open on May 29 at 5 p.m., and you can expect to see more than 40 bottles on the wine list along with 20 wines by the glass, and eight wines in three, six, or nine ounce sample sizes. The “Jug” in Jug & Table is a happy hour for groups who want to get their wine in quantity, and they’re $20 to $25 each from 5 to 7 p.m.. Executive chef Marjorie Meek-Bradley will offer potted goodies and paninis once Jug & Table is open, just don’t look for her at the opening — she’ll be on a much needed vacation with chef Jennifer Carroll, of Top Chef fame, to cover for her.
MET Bethesda Hosts Soft Shell Crab Festival: 30 Ways in 30 Days
Bethesda recently welcomed the opening of Boston-based MET Group’s latest iteration: MET Bethesda: Metropolitan Kitchen & Bar. Restaurateur Kathy Sidell is the woman behind this new concept located in the Westfield Montgomery Mall and she is saying hello to her new neighbors by participating in MET Group’s Tenth Annual Soft Shell Crab Festival from May 13 to June 11. Over the festival’s 30 days, MET will serve a special soft shell crab dish each night, and there are other crab dishes galore on offer from the corn meal encrusted crabs, to tempura-style, sandwiches, à la meunière, and crabs on pizza. Prices for appetizers and sandwiches range from $11 to $18 with entrées between $22 and $28.