Johnna’s Pick of the Week: New Kids on the Block (DC)

[ 0 ] November 13, 2009 |

D.C.’s a small city in comparison to a lot of other major cities so when we get something new, everybody knows about it. This fall, the city ushered in a few new places that are climbing the foodie charts. JKGF felt it was our duty to let our readers in on what is new to the scene before the crowds start rolling.

Masa 14

The Reserve

The Black Squirrel (*This has been open for a long time but the top floor is now open for the first time…)

These are our top three picks of the week because they are 1.) not oversaturated…yet and 2.) they offer new menus with fresh concepts. When something new comes to the District, it starts out as an awesome, amazing spot to hang out at and then…the crowds start rolling in. When we were in college, our fashion merchandising professor once described this crowd as the “climax” of the trend, basically when everyone else is doing it, the trend is about to go downhill. This is the exact same trend that, on occasion, happens in the restaurant world. Something new becomes the popular, hot spot making it so difficult and uncomfortable to frequent that its popularity gradually declines.

These spots are babies and haven’t become quite the “hot spots” to take over the D.C. scene but they are headed there and we suggest you get your reservations fast, quick and in a hurry. Masa 14, for instance, has a real cool ambiance with the energy of the growing vibrant 14th. street (*U street end) and has combined talents of two of the areas most acclaimed chefs, Chef Richard Sandoval and Chef Kazuhiro “Kaz” Okochi (*Chef Sandoval comes from Zengo and Chef Okochi comes from Kaz Sushi Bistro). This spot is sure to have a ridiculous wait list after the word totally spreads and permeates the entire DMV.

The Reserve is not to far behind with its wait list. The restaurant/bar/lounge is the creation of Moe Hamdan, who has worked in the party circuit in D.C. for years. The restaurant offers a relaxed, chill environment, basically what The Park on Fourteenth was like before it became…should we say it?? Oversaturated. The Reserve doesn’t seem like it will pick up all of the vibe of The Park, but we will say catch a bite and a quick cocktail before the velvet ropes and the big Bouncer arrive. We’ve asked about the expansion of the lunch menu (*this needs improvement…), but their Tequenos of Queso Blanco with Avocado Dip are some of the best bar bites in the District right now. Hands down.

The top floor of the Black Squirrel is open and allows patrons to kind of lose themselves away from the hectic Adams Morgan traffic. We were there to test out the newly opened area and were pleased with the beer selections (*though we are not beer drinkers, we do like it when a place has options for our friends that are…). Once the word gets out that there’s a space with elbow room in Adams Morgan, however, we are afraid things could get tight in this small space.

Our message= Get there. Fast, quick and in a hurry. These are the newbies on the block and everybody loves a fresh face (*or in the Black Squirrel’s case, a fresh face lift), so people will be lining up…especially once the rain stops falling…

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Category: Food.Fun.Stuff., Johnna's Pick of the Week, Washington D.C.

About the Author ()

Johnna French is a Harlem NY native with deep roots in Panama, Washington, DC and North Carolina. All four places have heavily influenced her life and the foods she loves today. After graduating Howard University School of Law and beginning her life as a young professional in the city she was led to start Johnna Knows Good Food in November 2007 to keep family, friends and colleagues updated on where to go and what to eat while dining in the nation’s capitol. French, who still practices law, leads a team of three writers to cover the ever expanding Washington, DC food scene. French has been featured in print and television, appearing in Washingtonian Magazine and is a regular contributor to various local TV affiliates including WUSA 9, FOX 5 DC and WJLA (ABC Affiliate) News Channel 8. During the 2016-2017 football season, Johnna aired on Comcast Sports Mid-Atlantic (CSN) show, Redskins Life, as the weekly tailgate host. Johnna is currently a regular contributor to the FOX Baltimore Weekend morning show.

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