Small Plates: H Street Wine Bar Adds Cocktails

Posted June 3, 2009 at 3:15pm

SOVA (1359 H St. NE) recently added a cocktail menu and small plates to the ever-expanding list of menu items. The H Street hot spot began as a coffee shop before adding wine to the menu in April 2008 and will now offer a cocktail list created with the help of master mixologist Derek Brown.

Owner Frank Hankins said he never planned to add cocktails to the menu, but on meeting Brown one night at the Gibson, he had a change of heart.

“Derek invited me and a friend to the Gibson’s first Saturday night in business, and I left saying, I have got to find out a way to work with this guy,’— Hankins said.

Brown, who teaches about wine and spirits at CulinAerie and L’Academie de Cuisine, began working with Hankins on the menu earlier this year. Not only did he have a hand in creating the cocktail list, but he also helped select wines.

“We chose wines we like to drink, first and foremost, and hand-crafted cocktails that highlight grape-based spirits,— Brown said of the new list. “That was our only thematic criteria.—

The result is a wine-by-the-glass list that features offerings from Austria, Argentina and Lebanon, among other places. In keeping with this theme, the cocktail list includes such creations as the Formosa, which is made from Ramos Pinto White Port, Hou Hou Shu sparkling sake and an orange peel. In addition to the cocktails, SOVA will be offering punch all summer long. The recipe will rotate each weekend, and the drink is served from a crystal punch bowl into crystal glasses.

SOVA will also be offering a small-plates menu in the coming weeks that will feature foods from some familiar D.C. establishments.

“We’ve already established a wholesale relationship with Cowgirl Creamery, so be prepared for great cheese plates, Italian cured meats, a mixture of dips and spreads and a number of other seasonally fresh creations,— Hankins said.

Hankins and Brown want people to enjoy the bar and the menu without feeling too much pressure to be on the up and up when it comes to drinking.

“It’s the kind of place you feel comfortable bringing a snob but uncomfortable being a snob,— Brown said.

Is Granville’s Chef Heading to Stardom?

D.C.’s own Teddy Folkman will be making his debut on “The Next Food Network Star— at 9 p.m. Sunday. This will be the Granville Moore’s executive chef’s second appearance on the Food Network.

Folkman debuted last year when chef Bobby Flay challenged him to a moules frites cook-off as a part of his show, “Throwdown with Bobby Flay.— Folkman said “Throwdown— was so much fun that it inspired him to try out for “The Next Food Network Star.—

“It was so much fun, like it was the most fun that I had had in such a long time,— Folkman said. “I’m entertaining, I’m teaching people how to cook, I’m cooking. Those are like the three things that I love most to do in this world. This is awesome!—

On the show, which taped earlier this year, Folkman and nine others will compete for the opportunity to win a six-episode pilot season of his own cooking show. Folkman won’t disclose whether he won the competition, but one thing is for sure — he’s not leaving his H Street restaurant any time soon.

“Granville’s is a part of me for the rest of my life,— he said. “I would definitely maintain my executive chef status here and do the menu and work here as much as humanly possible.—

Several area bars, including Capitol Lounge, Enology and the Argonaut, are getting in on the action and will be hosting watch parties Sunday.