Pinstripes bringing bowling, bocce to Georgetown in early 2014
Good news, Georgetown: A restaurant boasting an upscale fourteen-lane bowling alley could open just off M Street NW as soon as early next year. Pinstripes, a largely Midwestern chain that pairs bowling, bocce and Italian fare, is slated to open in the Shops at Georgetown Park, taking up a whopping 32,000 square feet with a view overlooking the C&O Canal.
The lanes are huge news for a city that suffers from a dearth of bowling options outside of Chinatown's Lucky Strike (and, if you happen to know someone who knows someone, those lanes at the White House). But Pinstripes, opening at at 3222 M St. NW, will double as a restaurant, serving brick-oven pizzas and flatbreads, pasta and plenty of the American fare that's so ubiquitous in touristy Georgetown. (You won't have to eat at the restaurant to bowl or play bocce.)
The D.C. location will feature an outdoor patio, six bocce courts, the lanes and a restaurant, divided over two levels. The entertainment complex is attached to what was once a lifeless mall, which drew visitors mostly for its D.C. DMV outpost. But under new ownership, the Shops at Georgetown Park is aiming to attract big-ticket tenants.
So, the big question: How much could a Friday night bowl session set you back? Pricing for the other locations is $7 a game per person on Friday and Saturday nights after 5 p.m.; before 5, and Sunday through Thursday, it's $5. Bocce could set you back $10 on weekend evenings; and $5 at other times.
Mountains of meat at Silver Spring’s Urban Butcher
Vegetarians and vegans may want to hit the back button on their browser right now. This was the scene at a preview of Urban Butcher, the newest haunt for Silver Spring carnivores, opening Thursday, Dec. 12.
Urban Butcher is a Ron Swanson-esque celebration of meat, though Swanson would probably find the overstuffed chairs and the presence of arugula on the menu to be a bit too precious. One marvels at the sheer variety of animal products on chef Raynold Mendizabal's menu: Crispy pig tails! Lamb saddle! Steak tartare, ox brisket and Chinese barbecued pork ribs! Plus the smoked chicken, the ceviche, the ham croquettes and the duck confit. The list goes on. Everything is butchered in house and, in many cases, cured in the restaurant's aging room, in view of the bar. Some of the restaurant's more well-aged offerings, like a selection of hams, won't be ready until the summer. The restaurant is also a butcher shop, so any of the cuts of meat at the counter can be purchased by home cooks.
As you might infer, suckling pig is big at the snout-to-tail restaurant. In fact, the restaurant will serve suckling pig nightly at 8 p.m. Patrons can pass the time with a glass of wine at the industrial-chic restaurant's handsome bar, and dismiss the unsettling feeling that this pig's eye is following them around the room.
If you're the good-natured vegetarian friend who gets caught in a group making an expedition to the restaurant, your options include ratatouille, grilled Brussels sprouts, broccoli rabe, potatoes and creamy polenta (but not the baked beans -- they contain bacon). Godspeed.
Urban Butcher, 8226 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring. 301-585-5800.
Check out the menus below:
Borracho brings heavy tunes and smokin’ beer to the Pinch
Local stoner-metal band Borracho has two reasons to celebrate on Saturday. "Oculus," the group's second album of muscular, ultra-heavy guitar riffage and its first as a trio, has just been released on colored vinyl. And Port City Brewing Company has just finished a second limited-edition batch of Borracho Smokin' Brown Ale, a dark, hoppy brown ale made with smoked malts in a collaboration between the band and Port City brewer Will Cook, a noted metal fan.
That's why the fifth edition of the Port City-sponsored Heavy Metal Night at the Pinch should be a momentous occasion. "Oculus" is an album filled with hooks and tidal waves of guitar that harkens back to Soundgarden at its grungiest. The band will perform "an extra-long set" beginning at 9:30, with DCHeavyMetal.com founder Metal Chris spinning his favorite tracks of 2013 before and after the show. Port City beers, including the Smokin' Brown Ale, will be featured on the taps all night. And best of all, there's no cover charge. Doors open at 6 p.m. Get there early to get a taste of the beer.
The Ugly Mug wants to reward you for donating to Toys for Tots
You probably don't need a reminder that the holiday season is as much about giving as receiving. One of the best ways to bring joy to someone you don't know this holiday season is to donate to Toys for Tots, the Marines' annual toy drive. Here's a good place to start: The Ugly Mug, located on Eighth Street SE across the street from the Marine Barracks, is hosting a special Toys for Tots fundraising party Friday at 7 p.m.
Bring new, unwrapped toys and you can trade them for Samuel Adams beers, Angry Orchard cider or raffle tickets that could win Capitals tickets, gift certificates from local restaurants, corn hole sets and other prizes. A donation of two toys gets you a pint of your choice; four toys gets a pint and five raffle tickets; eight toys gets two pints and 10 raffle tickets, and so on.
Can't make it this Friday but still want to help? The Ugly Mug has a donation box where you can drop off unwrapped toys whenever the bar is open. Other bars currently hosting Toys for Tots collection boxes include District 2, District of Pi, the Front Page, Grillfish, Matchbox (Barracks Row), Nellie's, Number Nine and the Pig.
BlackSalt reels in a new executive chef
News keeps flowing from the restaurant realm of Jeff Black. Following word that his company was closing Addie’s in Rockville (in November) and opening Republic in Takoma Park (just this month) comes the announcement of a new executive chef at his popular BlackSalt in the Palisades.
Black calls Mike Huff “old school.” Only 35, Huff is a 2003 graduate of Johnson & Wales University who went on to cook in the Washington area at Bob Kinkead’s Colvin Run Tavern in Tysons Corner and the seafood-themed Kinkead’s restaurant in the District. "I love the fact he runs BlackSalt the way I used to run it," says Black. "He’s brought more maturity, more seasoning, if you will."
Huff replaces Thomas Leonard, who left two months ago for Chicago.
The new top toque intends to make more of his own pastas and has already added to the menu at BlackSalt scallops with a saute of shaved Brussels sprouts, maitake mushrooms and house-cured pancetta, plus parsnip puree and potato gnocchi. “No molecular gastronomy,” promises the classically French-trained Fairfax resident.
For inspiration, Huff shops daily at what he refers to as a "playground:" the iced fish display in the front of BlackSalt. "It’s a chef’s dream come true, honestly."
The trick to cooking fish? "Know your protein and how far you can take it," says Huff. No raw halibut or swordfish (because of parasites), he advises. But diners shouldn’t ask for their tuna to be cooked past medium-rare. "It dries out tuna. You might as well open a can of Chicken of the Sea."
Huff turns out to be one of two family members working for Black. His brother, James Huff, oversees the kitchen at Pearl Dive Oyster Palace in Logan Circle.