Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Latest on Birch & Barley; Diamond District Seafood coming soon

Many of you have probably been wondering what's going on with the long-awaited Birch & Barley and ChurchKey, the two new establishments headed for the former Dakota Cowgirl space on 14th Street between O and Rhode Island.

As you may recall, the establishments have blown through several deadlines--first summer, and then October (which is now highly unlikely). And although NRG, the group behind both establishments, is keeping mum about a potential opening date (too many false starts, I suppose) there does appear to be some very good reasons as to why both places are taking so long to get off the ground.

Seems that executive chef Frank Morales was "let go" recently, according to comments I received from a company spokesperson. In Morales' place steps Kyle Bailey, who most recently served as executive chef at New York-based Allen and Delancey.

According to a release sent out by NRG:

"...[Birch & Barley's] modern American menu will include appetizers such as Charred Octopus with warm fingerling potatoes, pickled eggplant and fried capers and Char tartar with yuzu, ginger, basil and sesame chips. The menu will include a pasta section with rotating selections all made fresh in-house, such as Tagliatelle with braised rabbit, carrots, chives and housemade ricotta.

...Upstairs from Birch & Barley is ChurchKey, NRG’s 3,250 square-foot beer bar. For this space, Bailey has conceived an imaginative menu split into four sections: Fresh, Pressed, Roasted and Fried. Artichoke hearts with sheep’s milk ricotta and chestnut honey are a welcome ‘fresh’ snack, while ‘fried’ and spicy Hush Puppies are destined to be a crowd pleaser. For ‘pressed’ or ‘roasted’ options, guests can try the Truffled grilled cheese with tomato soup dip and the wood-fired Flatbreads with toppings such as Port-glazed Black Mission figs and Gorgonzola crema focata."

While strolling by the building a few nights ago, I managed to sneak a shot inside. While the exterior is clearly looking better, they've got a ways to go on the interior.


A little bit up the block, in the former 100% Mexico Space, Barton Seaver's new sustainable seafood restaurant and market--Diamond District Seafood--continues to take shape. Although Seaver has not yet announced an opening date for the combination restaurant/market, interior space build-out is continuing.

During a recent conversation, Seaver also mentioned that he was exploring the possibility of expanding his establishment across the street, into the space formerly occupied by Candida's World of Books. A lot remains up in the air at this point, but those of you waiting to have a place to purchase or enjoy sustainable seafood in the neighborhood may not have to wait too much longer.


Erica said...

Had a great meal at Allen and Delancey this summer so I'm looking forward to see what the chef does here in DC>

jimbo said...

R.I.P. Hamburger Mary's. I miss that joint.


Anonymous said...

Great news. I've been hankering for a decent charred octopus. And of course, a really good frog and a damned fine peach.

zoro said...

cheff mike is amaking,