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Steak frites for two at Brabo in Alexandria. (Image: Courtesy Brabo)

Restaurant Rumblings: Local cider, Middle Eastern cocktails and summer menus

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.

Recent openings:

Capitol Cider House
(3930 Georgia Ave. NW)

Swing over to Petworth to sip on local craft ciders inside this spacious taproom. The bar sources ciders from apples grown within a 200-mile radius from D.C. It offers its own product along with pours from other area producers (including ANXO). Kids are welcome and the patio is dog-friendly. A small menu of hot snacks from area vendors can be had as well.

The Green Zone
(2226 18th St. NW)

Middle Eastern cocktails and bites are the focus of owner Chris Franke's new Adams Morgan bar. Long a pop-up around the city, The Green Zone's permanent home features cocktails drawing on Middle Eastern ingredients like apricots, dates, mint and pomegranate. The bar also showcases classic and modern drink recipes from bars around the world. Make a meal out of hummus or muhamarra dips, fresh flatbread, falafel or chicken wings spiced with lemon, za'tar, sumac and garlic.

Mission Navy Yard
(1221 Van St. SE)

The second location of Mission features a taco-heavy menu and more than a mile of draft lines serving beers, wines and cocktails. Choose from five types of margaritas while munching on eight different tacos in varieties like pollo verde and mushroom asparagus. The kitchen also serves a selection of Tex-Mex appetizers that include skillets of Frito pie and queso fundido.

La Vie
(88 District Sq. SW)

The French Riviera meets the Potomac at La Vie, a Mediterranean-inspired addition to The Wharf development. Take in the grandeur of the decor while digging in to plates of pastas, refined meat and seafood entrées, and a fully-stocked raw bar. Or settle in with a waterfront view and a refreshing cocktail – the menu ranges from light and refreshing ("Dip Your Toes") to strong and boozy ("Off the Deep End).

New on the menu:

The Garden Café at the National Gallery of Art (6th and Constitution Ave. NW) has transitioned to its summer menu with dishes reflecting seasonal ingredients as well as its chef's Jamaican roots. Dive into panzanella, peach salad with feta and pecans, grilled mahi-mahi, pineapple upside down cake and plenty more. These dishes will also be available on the cafe's $30 all-you-can-eat weekend brunch menu (mimosas are $6 a pop).

Area locations of Beefsteak have introduced a meatless burger that fits right in with grilling season. The Faux Joe, as it's known, is designed to be a vegetarian solution to the Sloppy Joe. It's made from Beyond Meat crumbles and a chilorio-style sauce. It's served on a brioche bun and topped with avocado, tomato and a vegan chipotle mayonnaise.

Lobster BLT salad, summer mango gazpacho and coconut panna cotta are among the new summer choices at Jardenea (2430 Pennsylvania Ave. NW) inside the Melrose Georgetown Hotel.

Alexandria's Brabo brasserie (1600 King St. NW) is ramping up its meat offerings with a dedicated steak frites menu. Dry-aged cuts are sourced from Creekstone Farms and served with Roquefort butter or cracked black peppercorn sauce and crispy fries. Debut options range from an 8 oz hanger steak ($35) to a 22 oz "cote de boeuf" for two ($95).


The Black Squirrel (2427 18th St. NW), long a D.C. favorite for beer and pub grub. will serve its last pint on July 31. Ownership is closing the restaurant and expects to relaunch it as a new concept called Seasons & Sessions.