The creative spark in the New American Asian cuisine at Ippin Mono Kitchen is down to one man: Chef Sylva Senat. Trained at New York City restaurants like Aquavit and Buddakan, the French-speaking Haitian native brings an upscale, international sensibility to the restaurant's menu of sushi, noodles, and fusion dishes. Citrus panko adds extra bite to a shared plate of beef short ribs, while fresh oysters from the raw bar pair with the delicate flavors of champagne-yuzu mignonette sauce.
BGR The Burger Joint?s burgers start with high-quality ingredients?most importantly, all-natural beef from grain-fed cattle, free to run in the fields and given zero hormones, fillers, or antibiotics. The prime beef is dry-aged, blended, and ground fresh to form patties that are grilled over an open flame, and then placed atop buttery, locally made brioche buns delivered fresh each day. The menu focuses on the Triple D burger topped with an over easy egg, apple wood smoked bacon, grilled jalapeno and cheddar cheese. For nonbeef eaters, the menu's selection of burgers also includes turkey and veggie varieties, as well as The Greek, a seasoned lamb patty topped with tzatziki and feta. Burgers are also available in a lettuce wrap or on a salad in a healthy salad bowl.
Diners can request all of BGR The Burger Joint's freshly made fries?from thick-cut yukon gold potatoes to asparagus fries?be topped with parmesan, rosemary, roasted garlic, or a tiny tiara. The staff hand-spins shakes with Gifford's or Breyers ice cream to create extra-thick treats for finishing off meals, and some shops curate their own selection of bottled vintage sodas and offer beer and wine.
A lengthy lineup of traditional game-day fare and a sports atmosphere captivate fans at Fox and Hound - Bailey's, where the kitchen remains open as late as its neighboring fully stocked bar. Chefs cook until the wee hours of the morning and always until the bar closes, baking Bavarian pretzel starters, crafting towers of onion rings, and preparing hand-battered chicken tenders that are cooked until they are golden brown. They blend their own seasonings to sprinkle over grilled-to-order burgers, and draw from a diverse roster of cheeses and toppings to crown their wood-oven-inspired flatbreads.
While manning the bars, bartenders tap into a stash of libations, such as UV Whipped vodka and Patron Silver tequila, to mix their specialty cocktails. To further foster a sporting ambiance, high-definition TVs glow with sports games and custom music-video playlists, and guests partake in pastimes of ump bashing, billiards, or competitive people watching.
There's not a single individually portioned entr?e on the menu at La Tasca. Rather, diners are meant to split small plates or large pots of paella in a convivial environment that melds food and the joys of company. The extensive tapas menu features about a dozen vegetarian options, such as baked baby eggplant with vegetable stuffing, and also roams toward seafood and meat choices, like slow-roasted duck. The shareable-eats motif extends to the Spanish charcuterie menu as well, with imported favorites such as Ib?rico ham and spicy salchich?n.
La Tasca keeps conversations flowing away from the dinner plate too. The Arlington location features twice-monthly painting workshops, in which guests sip house sangria as an instructor guides them on how to paint a masterpiece without first losing an ear. At the D.C. location, a block from Verizon Center, hockey fans can prep for the game with a special Caps tapas-and-sangria package.
The Melting Pot transforms date nights and friendly outings into rich, sensory experiences by gathering diners around communal pots of fondue and adorning their tables with sumptuous four-course feasts of cheese, salad, chocolate, and steakhouse fare. Bubbling pots of emmentaler, lager-laced cheddar, and creamy fontina quell urges to engage in skewer swordfights as guests eagerly dip and slather slices of crisp granny-smith apples or crusts of artisanal bread. Creamy peppercorn ranch and decadent burgundy-shallot vinaigrette drape plates of crispy salad greens and roma tomatoes before servers parade out the pièce de résistance—fresh shrimp, sesame-crusted ahi, and succulent slices of filet mignon that bathe in roiling pools of coq au vin and bourguignonne. As a tasty digestif, dessert-savvy diners coat brownies, marshmallows, and unlucky car keys in cauldrons of milk, dark, and white chocolate.
Named one of the 5 Best Places to Study Wine in the country by Food & Wine magazine, Washington Wine Academy has something for novices and experts alike. The school’s offerings include professional-certification classes, tours of local wineries, singles mixers, and wine-and-a-movie nights, all overseen by top wine writers and sommeliers. This blend of education and entertainment has proven successful: on average, the Academy educates more than 1,000 enthusiasts per month and hosts more than 300 wine and beer events each year.
Students and visitors gather in the academy’s brick and mortar wine school–the first of its kind in the DC area. A large hall provides the perfect setting for presentations or Model UN practice, and the nearby Crystal City Wine Shop stocks an extensive collection of beer and wines from around the world.