New York Forks

Two Manhattan institutions bring their acts to D.C.

Politicians aren't the only ones clamoring to get to Washington. The past few months have seen several new D.C. outposts of favorite Big Apple restaurants. Hot spot Shake Shack isn't coming until next year, but these two transplants are giving our city a New York accent:

P.J. Clarke's After a deal to open Scarpetta (another NYC restaurant) fell through, this New York institution (pictured) moved into the former Olive's space. Like Manhattan's answer to a Parisian brasserie, this restaurant features a stellar raw bar of East Coast oysters, cherrystone clams and Maryland crab cocktails, along with classic thick, juicy burgers ($8). For a more Washingtonian experience, book the clubby Sidecar room, where the walls are lined with presidential portraits.

Carmine's With its Flinstonian portions, this red-sauce institution could seem like a gluttons-only affair, but the Penn Quarter restaurant takes its food surprisingly seriously. Al dente spaghetti arrives with a zippy, herby tomato sauce and giant but tender meatballs ($25.50), while shrimp fra diavolo ($31.50) achieves a bright and garlicky slow-building heat that tastes like an Italian grandmother's treasured recipe. Portions are absurdly large, and the servers recommend splitting entrées between at least two people, so go with a crowd to try more dishes.