To taste Portia Brown and Wayne Brooks' epicurean creations, you first need to know the secret location. They don't call one kitchen home, but host pop-up dinners throughout the DMV area. Each event is at a new location—including private homes and clubs—which is only revealed close to its date and to those who have reserved a space. The details of the menu are always a surprise, too, but the expert chefs specialize in modern takes on classic French dishes. A typical atypical meal delights guests with four- to seven-course meals paired with wine and inventive cocktails. They keep their events small to connect with their diners on a personal level and engage them in the food, while also fostering bonds among guests without playing ice-breaking games of Musical Chairs.
Portia and Wayne's elite training backs up their efforts in exclusivity: they have both mastered their crafts at Michelin-star restaurants in New York, and Portia graduated as valedictorian of The Art Institute of Washington and Wayne hails from Johnson & Wales. They developed Project Studio Supper Club to "redefine the creation of edible art." A quick glance at their masterpieces shows that the duo has achieved that goal. Their plates are painted in bright yellow sauces, lacy foams, spindly nests of sprouts, and steak centers so rare they glow a deep crimson.
With a vibrant décor featuring more colors than a Lisa Frank Trapper Keeper, Zoe's is an energetic and flavorful stop for good-for-you grub. An original recipe breathes new life into the Zoe's Original chicken-salad sandwich with white chicken on seven-grain bread. Feast on the Mediterranean tuna pita, stuffed generously with albacore, capers, red onions, olives, lettuce, and tomato. All sandwiches are $7.35 and include a freshly made side. Toastier tastes include roll-ups (spinach, steak, chicken) and kabobs (shrimp, chicken, salmon). Zoe's also offers pita pizzas, such as the veggie pita pizza ($7.95), side dishes, and a small selection of sweet treats. If you're hurrying home from a high-flying job combing the earth for naturally bejeweled eggs and simply don't have time to make dinner, check out Zoe's dinners for four, such as the Greek chicken marinara dinner ($24.95), featuring four charboiled chicken breasts, orzo pasta, Greek salad, and pita bread.
Traditional Indian spices flavor the tandoori, curry, and rice dishes served at Masala Magic. In the kitchen, chefs marinate boneless chicken in yogurt before sliding the dish into a clay oven, simmer pieces of lamb in a creamy spice-infused sauce, and dunk homemade cheese cubes into buttery makhani sauce. During the lunchtime buffet, patrons can gather curries, veggies, and mounds of rice to pile onto their plates or pour into the motorcycle helmet they prefer to eat out of.
At the Osprey’s Landing at Belmont Bay, massive arching windows bathe the dining room’s polished wood in natural light, a visual complement to the elegant, locally inspired cuisine that leaves the kitchen. Chefs transform ingredients from the nearby bay into crab cakes and seafood risotto. For dessert, peach melba is crafted from fruit from the nearby Charred Farm and crème fraîche ice cream.
On the golf course outside, groomed fairways intertwine with the natural obstacles presented by the Occoquan River and its surrounding National Wildlife Refuge. The Audubon-certified, par 70 course slopes and rolls through the ample greenery that surrounds it, punctuated by sand traps. One hole finishes beneath an old-fashioned, steel-and-stone railroad bridge over which the occasional locomotive still rumbles, providing a cover for sudden urges to shout the name of childhood sleighs.
At both Buffalo Philly's locations, wing-eating patrons can choose to toss succulent wings in their choice of sauces. At the Daniel Stuart Square location 9 sauces line up for duty, and at Smoketown Road up to 12 available sauces stand at the ready—including barbecue, teriyaki, Cajun, and lemon pepper. No matter what sauce is chosen, wings come with a dip-ready side of ranch or blue cheese. As the eatery's name suggests, patrons also frequently stop by for photos with the resident talking buffalo named Phil, or order up one of the chicken or beef Philly cheesesteaks.