Mio Opens

Posted May 2, 2007 at 5:59pm

The latest addition to the city’s dining scene, Mio, opened Wednesday at 1110 Vermont Ave. NW. Chef JohnPaul Damato, former executive chef of the three Jaleo locations, brings a mix of global influences to his new menu at Mio. [IMGCAP(1)]

Diners will find dishes such as grilled split lobster with steak potato and Old Bay butter sauce, seared Alaskan Coho salmon with broccoli and pimenton butter, and semi-boneless quails stuffed with chard, pine nuts and feta cheese and served with grape sauce.

Appetizers include herb-crusted sea scallops with a lemon butter sauce and Peekytoe crab on puff. If you like to create a meal out of multiple small dishes, the menu also offers a large selection of sides, such as fried polenta sticks with chard tomato sauce, giant Greek white bean stew, and sautéed escarole with poached garlic and sausage.

The restaurant, a partnership among Damato, Manuel Iguina and Domingo Rodriguez, is awash in cool blue tones offset by dark wood. A white painted brick wall frames off the front bar area, where a rotating roster of pianists will provide musical entertainment.

And while open kitchens are a nearly requisite design feature in new restaurants, Mio’s adds a new concept to the mix with the “kitchen bar.” Guests waiting for a table can walk up to the small kitchen bar at the back of the restaurant, where the chef is offering small bites, like a spot prawn with mango puree.

The space also offers a semi-private mezzanine level, which is available for functions and parties.

The restaurant soon will start serving lunch, featuring an eclectic menu of salads (such as baby spinach and cress with pork belly confit, blue cheese, apples, pine nuts), sandwiches, oven-roasted

meats and seafood. Lunch will run Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 pm.

Mudbugs Hit Downtown. Acadiana already has imported many of the beloved flavors of Louisiana, including Zapp’s potato chips, Leidenheimer’s French bread for po’boys and classic turtle soup. Now the restaurant is bringing a traditional Louisiana custom, the crawfish boil, to downtown Washington, D.C.

Each Friday through June 20, guests on Acadiana’s spacious patio will be treated to boiled crawfish, potatoes and corn on the cob, spiced with Zatarain’s seasoning. The crawfish is priced at $13 a pound. For a customary accompaniment, order a bucket of four Abita beers on ice for $12. If you’re not a fan of mudbugs, as the shellfish are known down South, substitute shrimp for $17 a pound.

The party runs from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. Acadiana is located at 901 New York Ave. NW.

Sittin’ on the Dock. Speaking of buckets and reasons to blow off work early, Indigo Landing recently added buckets of seafood to its Lowcountry-inspired menu. Grab a seat at the outdoor bar overlooking the neighboring marina, and order a bucket filled with fried oysters, fried clams, hushpuppies, French fries, grilled mussels and shrimp corn dogs. The buckets are priced from $6 to $18.

Wash your meal back with one of the bar’s new cocktails, named for South Carolina spots, such as the Kiawah, which mixes banana, mango and dark rums with pineapple and fresh lime juice.

Indigo Landing is located on Alexandria’s Daingerfield Island at 1 Marina Drive.

Wine and Cheese Crowd. Jaleo kicked off its Cheese and Wine Festival on Tuesday, and all three restaurants will highlight Spanish selections through May 14. Stop by for a cheese tasting Monday through Friday from 6 to 8 p.m.

Today at 5 p.m., staff from Jaleo and Cowgirl Creamery will be at the Penn Quarter FRESHFARM Market discussing different cheeses and doling out samples. The Penn Quarter market is held on Eighth Street Northwest between D and E streets.