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The new cocktails at Chaia in Chinatown. (Image: Maya Oren)
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Restaurant Rumblings: Chiko opens in Dupont, Hank's Cocktail Bar returns

The D.C. food scene is constantly evolving, and it can be hard for even the biggest food fan to keep up. Restaurant Rumblings is here to get you up to speed on the latest bar and restaurant news, from hot openings to exciting new menus.

Openings:

Hank's Cocktail Bar
(1624 Q St. NW)

Closed since it left Petworth in December, Hank's Cocktail Bar has found new life above its sister oyster bar in Dupont Circle. Cocktails here are far from standard, aiming to push boundaries and expectations. One of the most interesting is the Yam Thale, a savory mix of gin, cucumber, lime, ginger, chili, fish sauce and cilantro-peanut oil. The bar also places a premium on sustainability, taking steps to reduce waste and re-purpose ingredients where possible. Stop in for 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. happy hour specials from Tuesday through Friday, including $9 "trash" gimlets, $7 old fashioneds and $6 selected wines.

Lapop
(1847 Columbia Rd. NW)

Located beneath Lapis Afghan restaurant, Lapop is now serving a menu of craft cocktails and bar bites during the evening hours. Stop in from Wednesday through Sunday beginning at 6 p.m. for drinks served in a casual atmosphere with couches and lots of room to lounge. Fans of heat can try the "None of Us Cared for Kate," with mezcal and a kiwi-ginger-habanero soda. For something more brooding, try the Woodworking Made Easy, a Sazerac riff with rye and absinthe.

North Italia restaurant
(2112 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, #102)

This national chain from Fox Restaurants has set up shop along Pennsylvania Avenue in Foggy Bottom. The crowd-pleasing menu has a full stock of appetizers, pizzas, pastas and entrees. Dishes are made from fresh ingredients, and pastas are scratch-made daily and served with cocktails, wine and local craft beers.

Chiko
(2029 P St. NW)

Fast-casual Korean and Chinese cooking is ready for the Dupont Circle crowds. It's the local businesses' second location in D.C. (a location in California opened a few months ago). Chow down on bowls of cumin lamb stir fry, rib eye and rice cakes or chicken and egg fried rice. Vegetarians can enjoy wok-blistered greens or wheat flour noodles along with Sichuan spicy vegetables and a "Half-a-Cado" salad.

New on the menu:

Plant-based taco shop Chaia has tapped new cocktails at its Chinatown location (615 I St. NW). Sip on a chipotle agave margarita, a mezcal-spiked paloma or the Milian Park, with bourbon, Amaro Montenegro, amargo de chile and bitters. Drinks are $8 all day and sangria, wine and beer are $6. A glass of cider is $7. Pair the beverages with a flight of tacos or with the shop's trio of chips and dip.

Union Market Japanese spot O-Ku DC (1274 5th St. NE) now offers happy hour on Friday in addition to Monday and Wednesday. The menu, available from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., features half-priced sushi rolls and $3 off specialty cocktails and wines by the glass. The prices are available throughout the restaurant.

Fresh brunch options are on the table at Evening Star Cafe (2000 in Alexandria). Hearty dishes range from rich duck confit or short rib hash to a hearty Kalua pig burrito with scrambled eggs, cheese and tater tots. Fans of sweets can order blueberry pancakes or cherry stuffed French toast. Mimosas and Bloody Marys go for $7 each.

Chef changes:

Jonathan Collins is settling is as the new executive chef at Owen's Ordinary. The chef comes to the Pike & Rose tavern after working most recently as the sous chef at Hazel. Come for a taste of revamped favorites along with new plates like suckling pig with shaved fennel, citrus, pomegrante and za'atar spices or seared local scallops with Brussels sprouts and bacon lardons. There will also be a rotating burger of the week, ideal for pairing with Owen's diverse selection of Maryland beers.




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