|Matchbox in Merrifield VA - Barrel Room|
Azur: Chef-owner Frederick de Pue, whose European-influenced Table in Shaw has been hopping since it debuted earlier this year, may be opening a contemporary seafood restaurant and oyster bar in the former Penn Quarter Café Atlantico space this month. Expect Belgian influences and handmade furniture (405 Eighth St. NW).
B TOO: Chef-owner Bart Vandaele’s Logan Circle venue will be more than a reprise of his popular Belga Café. The bi-level eatery, done up with salvaged wood and whimsical art and artifacts, will showcase new multicultural influences that have been influencing Belgian cuisine. There will be plenty of beer poured at its two bars, and there will be mussels - also a waffle and frites counter and a state-of-the-art charcoal grill (1324 14 St. NW; 202-627-2800).
Del Campo: Chef-owner Victor Albisu (ex BLT Steak) will honor his South American heritage in the Penn Quarter with a meat-driven, wine-focused menu featuring grills, crudos and ceviches, as well as specialty breads in the former PS 7's space (777 I St. NW).
Le Diplomate: The long-awaited French bistro on a 14 St. NW corner from Philadelphia restaurateur Stephan Starr, now softly open, looks like it was airlifted from a Parisian movie set. Its large landscaped terrace offers great views of the passing scene, while the brasserie menu covers the classics. There's also a raw bar, plus an in-house bakery to provide the baguettes (1601 14th St. NW).
Matchbox Merrifield: This popular American bistro will bring its chipper outlook, popular pizza and sliders, and handsome decor (expect lots of aged barn wood) to the burgeoning Mosiac District in Fairfax. An impressive Barrel Room, which can be reserved for private events, boasts a handcrafted arched ceiling and a fireplace. Opening April 12 (2911 District Ave., Merrifield, VA; 571-395-4869).
NoPa Kitchen and Bar: Prolific restaurateur Ashok Bajaj will open a French influenced, Contemporary American just above Pennsylvania Avenue NW in the former Zola Penn Quarter space.Whitewashed exposed brick, rough wood paneling and tables, leather armchairs and plush banquettes will define its comfortable, rustic-industrial look. Expect the likes of upgraded steak frites, grilled fish and roast chicken (with foie gras) on the menu, plus the requisite cocktails, wine and beer, when it opens April 29 (800 F St. NW).