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Friday, October 10, 2014

Driftwood Kitchen Opens Sunday

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 I was lucky enough to attend a friends and family soft opening event at Driftwood Kitchen (400 H Street) last night. The space is great, and I was able to sample some of the food and craft cocktails they'll have on the menu. I also was able to chat a bit with owner Eric Toller who explained his vision for the new restaurant.

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Driftwood Kitchen will offer New American cuisine with Mediterranean influences, prepared in the French style. They'll be using all fresh ingredients (the bartender even joked that the only thing in their freezers would be ice), that will be locally sourced whenever possible. Toller said he's been spending a lot of time examining produce at farmers markets.
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They'll be working a lot with housemade spice blends. They even plan to smoke their own paprika. Toller told me that he buys many of his spices from Blue Nile Botanicals (near Howard) because the selection is amazing and the spices are always fresh. Those spices are not just for the food. Try one of the barrel aged cocktails they plan to introduce, and you might detect something unexpected. I heard about intriguing plans for a barrel aged Mediterranean spiced rum.
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Driftwood Kitchen will also sell housemade seasonal craft sodas. Look for hibiscus mint, ginger, and root beer flavors soon. Enjoy these as plain sodas, or add a scoop of homemade ice cream for an extra special float. The bartender can even spike it for you if you so desire.DSC_0248

Feeling like something more conventional to drink? Order one of the 11 seasonal beers they'll have on tap, including local drafts from DC Brau, Atlas, and Heavy Seas (I'm told that one of the "beer" taps will actually be devoted to cider). Wine drinkers will find 14 bottles by the glass, including a prosecco on tap. They will also have a small selection of wines available only by the bottle.
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I highly recommend the Hawa (Gordons Gin, egg white, cucumber juice, elderflower, celery bitters) house cocktail.
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Seating is heavy on the two tops, but they have tables for larger groups. DSC_0128

They will not have a set kids menu, but will be able to accommodate younger diners. They do have highchairs.
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The upstairs space offers fantastic views of H Street and you can even spot the Capitol.
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There's a second bar upstairs. DSC_0316 DSC_0210

A custom made light fixture of pipes lights the staircase.
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There's a terrific outdoor patio on the side.
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When they open on Sunday it will only be for dinner, but they plan to serve brunch soon.

34 comments:

Anonymous said...

Just walked by there today. Hoping for the best, but as a neighbor I would be more supportive if they kept up their outdoor space better. There are 100s of cigarette butts all over the sidewalk around their patio.

Anonymous said...

Looks cool

Anonymous said...

Hey Anonymous 1, it's on a main street. Try the food first. Lighten up, Francis!

pat said...

This used to be Tru Orleans?

inked said...

Pat,
Yes, same place.

Anonymous said...

why is the D written like that?

Anonymous said...

No kid's menu?!? *violently overturns table*

Anonymous said...

Putting my cynical/skeptical marker down EARLY on this one. It seems like an attempt at a good restaurant. I know I'll be hounded as a nattering nabob of negativity but I get the sixth sense here that this will soon be a 2.5 star Yelp place and will close within 18 months. Let's see.

Anonymous said...

How I wish the term "craft" never entered the culinary realm...

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 3:01 why do you care about what Yelp says? Seriously Yelp reviews are full of people that are prone to bitch or have no idea WTF they are talking about. Seriously. Yelp sucks.

4th and G said...

Anonymous 9:05: I agree with your statement on Yelp. As an owner of a small business with a highly positive Yelp rating, I can tell you that the people who post on Yelp are not regular customers. In fact, they are infrequent at best and almost always just one-time customers. They are, as you indicated, just looking for a place to have their opinions heard.

Anonymous said...

anon 9:56, anon 7:50 has a point. I live around the corner too and I was running errands on Sunday and every time I walked by 4-6 of their staff dressed in white uniforms were smoking outside and throwing the butts on the floor. It is not even main street. This is on 4th street. I would hope they hear this and take this into consideration, given all the drum beat they have made before opening that they have heard the residents and are not going to aggravate residents.

Anonymous said...

Are they new owners/management, or the same as TruOrleans?

Anonymous said...

what pissed me off is that they were blocking the alley with their cars. this is not acceptable..

Anonymous said...

So glad I live on the east end of H Street. The haters on the west end are unbearable. My favorite is the guy who is predicting this place will fail based on "sixth sense". What a bunch of jerks.

inked said...

9:23,
They have no association with the TruOrleans folks.

Anonymous said...

anon 9:51:00 AM, nice generalization.

Anonymous said...

anon 9:53, the D like that is the letter D in Arabic too. The place is called ( I believe it means our home) Darena - Driftwood and with a bit of imagination the D in Arabic and English is overlapping, if you know both languages. It's actually pretty cool.
But again, I wouldn't throw cigarette butts in front of my home, so I hope it's not just a slogan.

Anonymous said...

anyone know what's up w/ Marvelous Pizza? Did they close?

Anonymous said...

I take Yelp with a big grain of salt because people only tend to write reviews when they're super happy or super unhappy with their experience. However, I feel that it is still a good overall picture and do find it useful when trying a new spot to scan through reviews just to make sure it's not a disaster.

Anonymous said...

Also business owners do read it so if several people have the same complaints it can be a good tool to know if something isn't working

Anonymous said...

That person never claimed to even live on the west end, so...

Anonymous said...

Wish I had read yelp reviews before trying Truorleans! Would have saved me time and money.

Anonymous said...

The best thing Yelp ever did was keep me far away from Tru Orleans.

Annoyingmous said...

Hahaha. The only bigger Yelp train wreck than TruOrleans was the legendary Amy's Baking Company.

Anonymous said...

Driftwood acquired the lease from TBM Holdings, LLC and is operating as a partnership. James Tru Redding, the owner of TruOrleans, is a silent partner of TBM Holdings, LLC. For all the naysayers, this information was provided by Eric Tollar during a public community meeting.

Derek said...

I am willing to bet that Driftwood would be better managed that Tru did. and that the food would/is far better. I will try them out when I can.
I know that Tru spent more than $2.5mill in re-doing the building and creating that corner space.

h st ll said...

So how is it? How's the food and drinks?

inked said...

h st ll,
The food I tasted was solid, and the drinks were really good. I would definitely recommend a visit.

Anonymous said...

I used to find the food from Tru Orleans vomited all over my doorstep. I hope Driftwood doesn't follow a similar business model of over serving booze to 20 something frat boys

Anonymous said...

Tru (from Truorleans) is still involved. The current owner says he is a "silent partner", but he seemed to be saying whatever he needed say to neighbors to show that the restaurant won't be like Truorleans, and will be respectful to the neighborhood, etc. In my opinion, Eric seemed to be full of BS and just saying the right words to appease us neighbors. At the end of the day, the same owners are involved, but they just aren't customer facing.

The other day they were doing some metal work and sparks were flying all over the sidewalk as people walked by and they should have gotten some type of permits to close the sidewalk or at least not had to make people walking by duck from the sparks. I'm not hopeful that this place will be much different than TruOrleans.

pat said...

"I know that Tru spent more than $2.5mill in re-doing the building and creating that corner space."

2.5 million to redo a few thousand square feet of mostly retro/commercial space? What did they do, polish the floors with raw Cocaine?

Has anyone from the Money-Laundering squad at FinCen looked at that?

Anonymous said...

"I know that Tru spent more than $2.5mill in re-doing the building and creating that corner space."

That was most definitely not a $2.5M+ build out...

Derek said...

Okay...it was hearsay so I did not look at the books. But from watching the construction, there underpinning, re-structuring to support the second floor, work needed to create a second floor (the original building was a 1-story building), and Tru being the strip club owner he is by having expensive furniture that belongs more in a VIP club room not a corner bar.