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DC restaurant scene reinvented: Spectacular small plates on 14th street

Published: 07/11/2013 - Filed under: Home »

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The 14th Street corridor is reinventing itself right now with new restaurants, bars, and businesses opening up from Rhode Island to Z street. Foodie Nora Cloherty was blown away by a few new locations that included Doi Moi, Kapnos and ZenTan. These three all offer a unique take on Thai, Japanese and Greek food in a mezze or a small plate style menu. Creating conversation at your ‘shared table’ that allows a group to experience even more appetizers entrees and desserts together. Who doesn’t like that idea?


Starting around Garden Circle, the Donovan House has revitalized its Japanese selections at ZenTan to highlight the smoky flavors of Chef Jen Nyugen’s traditional Japanese robata grill.


This smoky Japanese grill is the only grill of its kind in the District. Chef Nyugen simply dresses halibut, kobe beef, shrimp and tender fillet on skewers to let the aromatic flavor of compounded oak coals shine. Although the grill keeps it simple, complex flavor combinations are made in ZenTan’s sashimi, unagi rosotto and ramen. A variety of flavors in Zentan’s sashimi gave each piece of naguri it’s own identity. My favorite bites were citrus-y yellowtail and what is foie?

Make your night more memorable with fun finger food like braised beef bao buns and sear-at-the-table miazaki beef. With this diverse selection you are sure to broaden your idea of Japanese food.

Visting during happy hour? Try DNV rooftop bar’s Tealights drink menu. Offering Zentan’s appetizer menu and a view of NW DC, DNV is perfect for a drink after work.

1155 14th Street NW Washington DC
(202) 379-4366

Doi Moi

On 14th and S, the white interior and colorful plates of Doi Moi might intrigue you to book a reservation. This gleaming location will open a window into authentic DC life, as it attracts an open-minded and influential clientele of the District’s Gen Yers. At Doi Moi you can bite into authentically Thai cuisine; from the ground chilly flavors of their wild halibut jungle curry (pla pad cha) and ground duck and duck liver salad (laab ped) to the refreshing and crisp taste of their morning glory salad. Double check if your order is phet- “spicy” or phet mak- “really spicy” as some of these dishes can leave you with more than just a slow burn; even in their vegan, vegetarian and gluten free menus. The Sommelier suggested we pair our meal with a fruity Riesling, champagne or, if you’re in the mood for a new experience, Mead. Of their selections the Rheingau grown Baron Zu Knyphausen’s heavy viscosity with notes of mango and pineapple contradicted the kick of Chef Karoum’s curries. And for their shear comfort; the Lemongrass and Spice Roasted Half Chicken (Ga Roti) and rich soft serve ice cream are not to be missed!

Tuck in after your meal downstairs at 2 Birds 1 Stone. A quiet but personable bar, mixologists create new specialty drinks each week to keep you on our toes!

1800 14th Street NW Washington DC
(202) 773- 5131


Masters of the spit at Kapnos are turning over some Greek traditions with bold tartars and charred dishes while possibly improving the traditional spit style cuisine. Starting off the evening with signature flatbread, soft and warm out of the oven is a must. Dipped in melitzanosalata, an eggplant dip with roasted red peppers and feta or raw lamb tartar with tahini and mint will halt conversation at the table. The mezze menu at Kapnos is perfect for a pair to discover the many sections; from raw, cold, garden, ocean and spit roasted.

One bite into the marinade spring lamb told me that any choice off the spit mezze was a good one, especially paired with the rich flavor of the Jean Paul Tevente Morgan gamay, which created possibly the best pairing I have had all year. The turkish fabio is another great choice on the drink menu with cooling honeydew and vevet falernum.

2201 14th Street NW Washington DC

By Nora Cloherty

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