Egypt, Brazil and the Stadium
By the Gastronomes
Stepping outside of the “traditional” Dining Out format, we thought we would give you all a teaser about some of the newest eateries in our midst. In fact, all three of these establishments opened within days of each other in the last week of March. In full disclosure, we didn’t dine at any of them so we aren’t going to comment on the food from that perspective. We were on a mission to see what each of these new places were all about and did have a cocktail and talked with patrons, bartenders, servers and managers at each place.
208 Queen Street
Old Town Alexandria
I was immediately drawn to Elaine’s since that is my legal first name. Right out of the gate, I know it will be a great addition to Old Town’s dining scene. Many of you may recognize the address since it was home to Bilbo Baggins for many years. Let me tell you, the build out transformed the former dark (and not exactly clean) motif into a beautiful contemporary space.
Elaine’s is named after the owner’s grandmother. Her husband told us that when she was twelve years old in Cairo, Egypt, she promised her grandmother that one day she would own a restaurant and name it after her. She is looking forward to sharing her family recipes with everyone.
The menu boasts modern Mediterranean cuisine based on food found in Alexandria, Egypt. We were told that their unique style is best described as Middle Eastern with French, Greek, and Italian influences. The food we saw served while on our visit looked amazing and neither of us knows that much about middle eastern cuisine in general, let alone Egyptian. We are so looking forward to having a meal there soon.
My drink of choice – a glass of Woolpack Sauvignon Blanc – excellent wine.
Fogo de Chao
141 National Plaza
The Harbor is now home to a Brazilian steak house! Located in the former McLoone’s Pier House space on the water at the east end of National Plaza, Fogo de Chao opened on March 24th. This is their sixth location in the DMV. We always intended to check out DC but didn’t want the hassle of the traffic and the parking. Now it is a straight shot from Old Town with lots of available parking space (albeit paid parking) nearby. Eating at a Brazilian steak house is a treat. If you have never been, put it on your bucket list. The restaurant features an open-air churrasco grill where guests can dine and watch gaucho chefs demonstrate the culinary art of churrasco as they butcher, prepare and grill different cuts of meat over an open flame. Having your choice of meats carved individually for you at your table is a treat. The Market Table aka extensive salad bar is a colorful palate of fresh ingredients inspired by Brazilian farmlands and recipes that are traditional and natural staples of Southern Brazilian cuisine. The National Harbor location features an outdoor dining patio with waterfront views of the river and an attractive indoor bar that is ideal for their all-day Happy Hour. Yes. All. Day.
My drink of choice – Mango Habenero Caipirinha (Silver Cachaca, limes, mango, habanero peppers – yum!
Tom’s Watch Bar
200 American Way
We trekked across the Woody Bridge to National Harbor to check out the latest Tom’s Watch Bar location that opened on March 23rd. The “All Sports, all the Time!” concept was launched in 2014 in Los Angeles by a guy named Tom Ryan who now has 5 locations across the nation including DC’s Chinatown and now the Harbor. For those of you familiar with the Harbor restaurants, Tom’s occupies the former Granite City Brewery space on the corner of American Way and Fleet Street. True to their hype, this place defines the ultimate sports watching entertainment experience. We didn’t count all of the TV’s in all sizes that are dispersed around the massive place but believe me, there are several. Promising “All the Sports, all the Time”, Tom’s Watch Bar’s programming covers all sports from collegiate to professional to international, big events and prize fights, even emerging obscure and outrageous sports. They also have two virtual golf stations with clubs available to hone your swing.
The menu looks mighty tasty and covers every sports fans tailgating favorites with some amazing entrée’s for the serious diner as well.
My drink of choice – Tom’s Bloody Mary – they use ZingZang so it was good!
While we encourage you all to patronize these new places, please keep in mind that they are all in the “working out the kinks” stage over the next few weeks and a little extra patience and understanding is in order. We are looking forward to making our reservations at Fogo and Elaine’s and hitting up Tom’s for a full experience after the “new” wears off.