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Roasted Halumi (1).jpg
Roasted halumi at Sababa. (Image: Greg Powers)

Restaurant Rumblings: Israeli Cooking in Cleveland Park, new brunch at Dacha and more

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.

New on the Menu:

Downtown, Taberna del Alabardero (1776 I St. NW) is launching Sunday brunch with Spanish flare. The old-school European menu debuts April 1 and features dishes like toasted bread with tomatoes, garlic, and Serrano ham; whiskey pork tenderloin with baby potatoes; and lemon creme fraiche pancakes. There will be a selection of paellas as well, with a two-person minimum per order. Dishes can be ordered a la carte or as a $50 three-course or $60 “Spanish-style” brunch. Cocktails range from $9 to $12. See the full menu online.

Dacha Beer Garden (1600 7th St. NW) has collaborated with chef Sasha Felikson (formerly of Doi Moi) to create a new weekend brunch. The updated offerings launch this Sunday. Expect to dig into plates like avocado Texas toast with house-made habanero chicken sausage, a cheesy Croque Madame sandwich, and a pizza-style riff on a traditional Russian "rasstegi," topped with cured salmon, white fish, potatoes, and carrots. Blinis (similar to a crepe) filled with pulled pork and topped with German quark cheese and red caviar is sure to be another hangover favorite.

Chef changes:

Will Harner is in as the new executive chef at Ruta del Vino (800 Upshur St. NW). Harner’s resume includes stops at Whaley’s and Casa Luca in D.C. He’s already brought back some guest favorites to the menu, like the “queijo coalho” Brazilian grilled cheese. Harner also added some dishes, including a vegetarian version of the mixed grill “parrillada.”

Occidental Grill and Seafood (1475 Pennsylvania Ave. NW) recently welcomed in Executive Chef Jake Addeo to the kitchen. He comes most recently from Bibiana in D.C and has brought some new touches to the menu, including a three-cheese gnocchi and a roasted bone marrow dish.

Recent openings:

(3311 Connecticut Ave. NW)

The flavors of Israel have arrived in Cleveland Park. The restaurant opened last week in the former Ardeo space, which restaurateur Ashok Bajaj transformed in under a month. Don’t miss the rotating hummus choice, the daily fish wrapped in grape leaves, or the beef and lamb kefta kabob. Fans of extreme spice will want to order up a plate of roasted chilis to accommodate the rest of the feast.

Taqueria Local
(1627 K St. NW)

Longtime chef Giovanni Orellana is hoping his take on Mexican food will shine at this a new venture. Taqueria Local comes from the team behind Barcode, Decades, and other D.C. establishments. Options on the varied menu include the Choripapa” taco, with Mexican sausage, potato and avocado as well as the seafood tostadas with ahi tuna ceviche and mango habanero shrimp. There will be vegetarian selections along with salads, burritos, soups, and beverages. Taqueria Local also plans to support the community, including by donating 1% of its yearly revenue to the CentroNia charity, which provides affordable bilingual childhood education.

The Fancy Radish
(600 H St. NE)

Vegetarians can get their fill at the first D.C. restaurant from Philadelphia-based Vedge Restaurant Group. The spot doesn't advertise itself as vegetarian or vegan, instead letting the food speak for itself. Dinner reservations are now being accepted.