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This week in restaurant opening news, D.C. is on fire, New York’s Financial District finally gets its own Eataly and Calexico lands in Detroit.
Eataly: The second location of the Italian superstore and restaurant destination has been in the works for a while and adds a taste of Italy to the FiDi food scene. There’s a dedicated breakfast spot called Orto e Mare, a restaurant separate from the busy market called Osteria della Pace, a juice bar and a mozzarella bar.
Casa Neta: Mescal has been coming out of the dark in the cocktail scene over the past few years. New to the party is this mescal-focused spot, which also offers a food menu to help fuel all that drinking. Think tacos like al pastor and short rib with poblanos, Manchego and avocado-tomatillo crema; nopales salad; and a daily ceviche.
LaRina Pastificio & Vino: The team behind Aita is now making fresh pasta in Fort Greene at their newest project. That handy work goes into dishes like smoked spaghetti with garlic, Calabrian chili, parsley and hazelnuts, and bowls of buckwheat conchiglie with ‘nduja, caprino cheese and smoked eggplant. When the weather’s nice, ask for a seat in the beautiful backyard.
Kettle Black: The team who opened the buzzy Sawyer have a new project right next door. Kettle Black is roomy and looks as if it has been stripped straight from a design magazine, greenwall included. Sydney Hunter, a vet of Petit Trois, is running the kitchen, turning out pizzas from the wood fire oven, meatball sandwiches and gnocchi with braised lamb.
Horse’s Mouth: Koreatown’s Iota Brewing Cafe has been converted into this seafood-focused spot with the help of Charlie Yusta. The menu ranges from mussels with basil, coconut, curry and naan to a sashimi salad with yuzu, asparagus and arugula. Of course, there’s beer and sake to go with it all.
Buffalo Theory: According to its website, this beer-forward restaurant is operating on the hypothesis that drinking beer makes you smarter. Maybe, maybe not, but you’d have to be pretty dim not to check out its head-on Kauai shrimp, crispy adobo wings and fried sticky rice—plus the impressive list of craft beer, of course.
Black Cat: With its live jazz nights and velvet banquettes, this stylish spot fits right into the Tenderloin. The supper club vibe runs deep, and with a chef who’s worked at Zuni Café and Chez Panisse, the quality of the food can back it up. Go for the latkes with grilled figs or the deviled eggs that get rolled in fried herbs.
The Tankard: The line is delightfully blurred between sports bar and hip new dig, so you can eat a plate of bacon-wrapped tater tots and still feel like a grown adult. Settle into a tall chair that looks out the large windows onto Milwaukee Avenue for a happy hour full of prime people-watching and a glass of good wine.
Bindaas: Ashok Bajaj, the James Beard Award-winning chef who runs the kitchens at Rasika and Rasika West End, is focusing on Indian street food here with some very modern twists. Think bacon-chili-cheese naan, savory chaat and crab idiyappam. Look out for the street art on the walls.
Reren Lamen: The team behind Arlington food truck Hot People Food (forget the name and just go with it) are now operating a noodle shop in Chinatown specializing in hand-pulled noodles that are dropped into bowls filled with pork broth and topped with fish balls and spicy beef broth with tea egg, scallion and greens.
Osteria Al Volo: Daniele Catalani (of Cucina Al Volo at Union Market) and his nephew, Matteo, are cooking lots of fresh pastas here like ravioli filled with short rib, making burrata in-house and serving dishes from a town outside of Florence where Daniele grew up. He also plans to add cooking classes later.
Picnik: The menu at this all-day spot is completely Paleo, meaning no gluten, corn or peanuts. Before you roll your eyes, give it a shot. A stack of their pancakes is just as pleasing as the gluten-filled counterpart, especially when topped with poached pasture-raised eggs.
Le Colonial: There are two floors at this Texas outpost of the 20-year-old New York original, where there’s more than the spring rolls and pho that you expect at a Vietnamese restaurant. Sure, those are there as well, but try the shrimp and pineapple in spicy tamarind broth for something beyond your usual soup order.
The General Public: In between the tamale pie and chicken salad is a slight, welcome cheekiness (see the “wana bone” marrow and confit mushroom app for proof). All hail the “rosé all day” special, where rosé is $4 before 5 p.m.—so go ahead, start early. Just stay until at least sundown, when there’s a daily restaurant-wide toast.
Ocio: The name is Spanish (meaning “leisure”), but the food is Italian, and the wines are from everywhere. But all the pieces of this puzzle seem to make perfect sense once you take your first bite of lobster ravioli or paper-thin octopus carpaccio.
Watr: It’s no secret that poke is everywhere these days, and now you can add the roof of the 1 Hotel South Beach to that list. The rooftop space also has tuna tartare flatbread, crispy rock shrimp and handcrafted cocktails that when combined with the sound of the waves below you make for one tropical oasis of a night.
Calexico: The mash-up name explains it all at the New York-gone-Midwest chain. It features Mexican street food like elotes and SoCal favorites like Baja-style fish tacos. Plus, there’s enough guacamole and chile-cilantro fries to make you forget you’re in Detroit, and not hovering near the border of Mexico.
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