Coming to K Street

Posted June 13, 2007 at 5:36pm

The year-old Jimmy’s on K Street closed recently, leaving a vacant spot on the K Street landscape. But it won’t languish for too long.

Taking over the space at 1700 K St. NW this fall will be Restaurant K by Alison Swope. The opening will mark the return of Swope, who was previously the chef at the now-shuttered Andale in Penn Quarter. [IMGCAP(1)]

Swope will open the restaurant in partnership with McCormick & Schmick’s, which also was involved with Jimmy’s. The chef is planning a menu that presents modern twists on traditional comfort foods. Look for dishes such as pork osso buco, oven-roasted rockfish with yellow grits, and lamb sausage on plantain “tostones.”

Swope has been a fixture on the D.C. dining scene for years, which should give a strong local connection to the chain-sponsored venture. She was the executive chef at New Heights in Woodley Park, opened Santa Fe East in Alexandria, then moved to The Mark in Penn Quarter. She later transformed that restaurant into Andale, which closed last summer.

Picnic in the Park. Guests attending Jazz in the Garden, held Fridays in the National Gallery of Art’s Sculpture Garden, have a new dining option this year. Gourmet picnic baskets for two can be preordered by the previous Wednesday at jazzinthegarden.com. The baskets, which cost $30, contain hard meats such as salami, cheeses, bread, fruit, pate and more — and you get to keep the basket.

And what pairs better with a gourmet picnic than a little vino? Pavilion Café also is offering several wines by the bottle, priced from $25 to $35.

Concerts start each Friday at 5 p.m. through Aug. 31.

Mark Your Calendar. Brainfood, a local nonprofit organization that teaches life skills to high school students through cooking, will host a fundraiser at the Hotel Monaco (700 F St. NW) on June 28 from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. The Brainfood Grill-Off will pit teams of community members against one another in an hour-long cooking competition. Each team will include a graduate of Brainfood’s program and a professional chef and will be given surprise ingredients.

A panel of local chefs, food writers, Brainfood students and restaurant owners will judge the dishes.

Tickets to the event are $75 and include dinner, an open bar and entertainment. You can also get involved by recruiting your own cooking team.

Marc Silverstein, host of Food Network’s “The Best Of,” will serve as master of ceremonies. Participating restaurants include Butterfield 9, Café Atlantico, Clyde’s, Equinox, Jaleo, Matchbox, Zaytinya and Zola.

Visit brain-food.org to buy tickets or register your team.

The Gift of Salsa. The new Taqueria Nacionale, located just behind Johnny’s Half Shell at 400 North Capitol St., recently began selling its housemade salsas in jars at the counter. Chef Ann Cashion is canning the salsas every few days. Three varieties — green, red chile and fresh salsa — are available in three sizes, priced at $2.75, $5 and $6. The salsas would make a great Father’s Day gift.

Patio Prime Time. Summer officially starts next week and several area restaurants have opened new patio space for al fresco dining. BLT Steak (1625 I St. NW) recently opened a 24-seat patio, and executive chef and partner Laurent Tourondel has introduced a summer sandwich and salad menu to go along with it.

The restaurant is offering sandwiches such as a spicy soft-shell crab “BLT” and prime steak and fontina cheese with royal trumpet duxelle mushrooms, watercress and pickled ramps. Salad choices include poached lobster salad with avocado and a curry-ginger mayonnaise, and beef filet carpaccio salad with truffle vinaigrette, shaved asparagus, arugula, pecorino Toscana and raw artichoke hearts.

PS 7’s (777 I St. NW) also opened its new patio recently. Meanwhile, Il Mulino New York (1110 Vermont Ave. NW) hopes to have outdoor dining available by July.