A New Spot to Sip Brew and Chew

Posted January 24, 2007 at 6:36pm

The sign heralding the arrival of the Old Dominion Brewhouse hung in an empty window of the Convention Center for so long, it seemed like the space had been forgotten. But lo and behold, the restaurant and bar finally opened a few weekends ago at 1219 Ninth St. NW. [IMGCAP(1)]

The main attractions are the beer and the abundant televisions. Around 20 flat screens ensure that practically every seat in the house has a good view. And though the bar is not owned by Old Dominion Brewing Co., it is licensed to serve the brewery’s popular beers, including Dominion Lager, Tuppers’ Hop Pocket Pils and Victory Amber.

The happy hour deal is a steal with draft beers priced at $2.99 from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Appetizers are half off.

The menu offers a variety of bar fare such as mozzarella sticks, brown ale fried calamari, buffalo wings and burgers. A selection of wraps includes a sirloin steak wrap and a wasabi turkey BLT. Fish and chips, crab cakes, steaks and stuffed shrimp round out the entree menu.

Landmark Restaurant Celebrates 100 Years. It’s an impressive feat for a restaurant to stay open for even 10 years, so reaching the century mark is almost unheard of. This month, the Occidental launched a yearlong celebration of its 100th birthday.

The landmark restaurant reopened in early January after a major kitchen overhaul. Chef Rodney Scruggs has introduced a new menu, including roasted duck breast with braised radicchio, smoked black pepper spaetzle and blood orange reduction, and roasted venison loin with chestnut flan and wild Maine blueberry grappa sauce.

The Occidental opened in 1906 at 1411 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, just 100 yards from its current location at 1475 Pennsylvania Ave., under the management of the Willard family. The restaurant was sold to German immigrant Gus Bucholz in 1912. In 1925, the Washington Senators baseball team celebrated its American League title at the restaurant, and in 1962, ABC News correspondent John Scali famously lunched with Alexander Fomin, counselor to the Soviet embassy, where Fomin produced papers indicating that the Soviet Union was willing to make a deal on the Cuban missile crisis. The meeting and papers led to removal of the missile sites in Cuba and the end of the crisis.

The Occidental fell into disrepair and closed in 1972. The original location was then torn down, and in 1986, the restaurant reopened at its current location, the same year the neighboring Willard hotel was refurbished and reopened.

Today, the signed photos of VIPs that Bucholz first began collecting still cover the dining room walls. In April, the restaurant plans to unveil a series of “fresh faces” to add to the walls.

A Surf and Turf Deal. Through March 31, all six area locations of Morton’s The Steakhouse are offering a special price on the classic surf and turf pairing. The $69 offer includes a single-cut filet mignon with béarnaise sauce and steamed asparagus, a choice of an Australian lobster tail or two Alaskan king crab legs, and a choice of Morton’s signature salad with blue cheese dressing, chopped egg and anchovies or a Caesar salad.

Morton’s is located downtown at 1050 Connecticut Ave. NW, with additional locations in the District area including Georgetown, in Virginia at Tysons Corner, Reston and Arlington, and Bethesda, Md.

Valentine’s Day Arrives Early. No need to join the masses of canoodling couples who will be dining out on Valentine’s Day. Oceanaire will celebrate the lovers’ holiday the entire month of February with two menus centered around American caviar.

“We’ve noticed many of our patrons are choosing to celebrate Valentine’s Day on other days of the month, so we decided that we’d offer our special caviar menu throughout February,” said Executive Chef Rob Klink.

A three-course menu for $65 offers Island Creek oysters with mango-infused caviar to start, a choice of three entrees, including miso-glazed Carolina swordfish with wasabi caviar, and truffles, strawberries and sorbet to finish. The four-course menu, priced at $75, expands the options with three choices for starters, three choices for a salad and soup course, seven entrees and a dessert plate. Entrees include pan-seared Japanese sea scallops with crème fraîche and sturgeon caviar, veal osso bucco with garlic mashed potatoes, and filet mignon with wild mushrooms and veal demi glace.

Oceanaire is located at 1201 F St. NW.