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Bulgogi lettuce wraps from Circa, now open in Navy Yard. (Image: Courtesy MHG)

Restaurant Rumblings: Rooster & Owl takes flight, lobster happy hour 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 menu changes.


Pembroke and Doyle
1500 New Hampshire Ave. NW

There have been some major (and elegant) changes at The Dupont Circle Hotel. The space recently unveiled a renovated bar, lounge and dining room serving both classic and re-imagined dishes and drinks. Start or end an evening at Doyle with a Last Word featuring local gin, or a wine from its extensive list. Over at Pembroke, chef Marlon Rambaran takes a farm-to-table approach to European cooking with dishes like lobster bisque, grilled octopus, short ribs and lamb tagine.

Frenchy's Naturel
1337 11th St. NW

Poultry-loving The Bird has closed and given way to the beef-filled menu at this French bistro. Entrees are served with salad, a choice of sauce and bottomless fries. Choose items like the "bavette de boeuf" flank steak, short ribs, a roasted half chicken or the vegetarian grilled mushrooms and cauliflower. Happy hour runs daily from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. with $8 cocktails and glasses of wine, and discounted bar bites.

99 M St. SE

The fourth location of locally-owned Circa is now open, serving signature items ranging from bulgogi lettuce wraps to tuna poke nachos. Sip on craft cocktails like the maple Old Fashioned or enjoy a cold pint of the bar's exclusive Tropic Thunder IPA beer in partnership with D.C.'s Atlas Brew Works. A 50-seat patio will open this spring, ideal for Navy Yard crowds heading to a Nationals or DC United game.

Rooster & Owl
2436 14th St. NW

Husband and wife team Yuan Tang and Carey Russell oversee this much-anticipated restaurant, which lets guests build their own four-course meals from a diverse and seasonal menu. Dishes are expected to change regularly based on what is fresh and available at the markets. Current offerings include plates made with carrots, sunchokes and kohlrabi. Bring friends, too – the restaurant encourages sharing and socializing at the table.

New on the menu:

Del Ray's Junction Bakery & Bistro (1508 Mt. Vernon Ave, Alexandria) has added dinner to its already popular breakfast, brunch and lunch. Highlights include restaurant favorites like the Cubano sandwich with mojo braised pork shoulder and the General Tso's cauliflower. New items have been added, such as the Thai street noodle soup with shredded chicken, coconut and spices along with family-style meals of roast chicken or pot roast with sides. Dinner is offered daily from 4 p.m. through 9 p.m.

Break out the sunglasses for a tropical-inspired brunch at Tiki TNT (1130 Maine Ave. SW). The Wharf distillery and restaurant serves weekend options until 3 p.m. that will satisfy any hangover or hunger. The breakfast flatbread is loaded with pork belly, hot sauce and two fried eggs. Or try the cinnamon buns topped with icing and rum-soaked raisins. Pair it with $25 pitchers of classic rum daiquiri or a $9 frozen rum and Coke. The full menu of cocktails is also available.

Luke's Lobster (multiple locations) will launch happy hour specials next week in an effort to make its succulent lobster a bit more affordable. Stop by from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. and snag a free can of Narraganset beer with the purchase of a lobster roll (they're just $1 with any other food purchase). Other beers, wines and mixed drinks will be $2 off. Groups can share a platter of six mini lobster rolls for $30 or share some hot lobster dip with Cape Code chips for $10. The deal is offered Monday through Friday in Georgetown and daily at the shop's Farragut and Chinatown locations.

Chef changes

Megan Robbins is in as the new executive chef at the Canopy by Hilton, which includes rooftop bar Whiskey Charlie (975 7th St. SW). Expect her cooking to reflect fresh takes on Southern cuisine and an eye toward seafood.