|Photo: Bob Kinkead|
The Space: Bob Kinkead moved into the Rivers at the Watergate’s former space. He plans to operate as a kind-of “pop up” until the summer when it will close for a complete redo. There’s a long bar as you enter with high tops next to the wall of wrap around windows overlooking the Kennedy Center and river views. More tall windows in its dining room afford sunset vistas. There are crisp white tablecloths, and muted decor that put the focus on the food. Kinkead says there will be dramatic decor changes, post renovation.
The Food: The menu is full of temptations. Antipasti include stuffed, roasted sardines, fried rice balls, salumi and crudo. There are authentic pastas including bucatini with clams and a regional variation of spaghetti carbonara with sausage as well as pancetta. Seafood entrees include a whole roasted snapper, a Ligurian seafood stew and an interesting combination of scallops, roasted cauliflower with pine nuts and raisins and a tomato-accented chickpea ragout. Among the meat entrees, the whole braised veal shin is already becoming a cult favorite. We saw it on several tables. There are also chicken, rabbit, pork and short ribs in regional preparations. Desserts are especially interesting, with decadent versions of tiramisu, affogato, molten chocolate cake and bambolini (fried donuts) with mascarpone mousse.
The Drinks: In addition to some interesting Italian wines, there are classic cocktails made with Italian bitters. The bar has its own light menu, although the full menu can be enjoyed at its high tops.
The Crowd: Kinkead’s well-heeled admirers have been filling the tables,along with Watergate residents and the professionals, who work in the office buildings upstairs. Kennedy Center is directly across the street, so look for ticket holders to be stopping by before and after the show.
Details: 600 New Hampshire Ave. NW; 202-333-1600.