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Posted at 12:01 a.m. on May 8, 2012
Two of the most powerful women in the D.C. hospitality-verse have made it their mission to generously feed and artfully intoxicate Capitol Hill. And that’s exactly what will happen when Hank’s Oyster Bar takes up residence at 633 Pennsylvania Ave. SE later this summer.
Award-winning chef/restaurateur Jamie Leeds and renowned “mixtress” Gina Chersevani (last seen appeasing barflies at PS 7’s) will be tag-teaming Leeds’ latest seafood spot. Hank’s on the Hill will continue many traditions established at its earlier iterations — Leeds’ flagship restaurant is in Dupont Circle, and she’s crossed the river into Old Town Alexandria — while also breaking new ground.
While we won’t get to savor the gourmet snacks exclusive to Dupont’s recently renovated lounge (amazing charcuterie, mouthwatering smoked trout), Leeds pledged to beef up her “Meat and Two options” — current offerings include: braised short ribs, grilled pork chops and Southern fried chicken — just for us.
But the biggest departure will be the Eddy Bar, a cocktail haven Leeds and Chersevani hatched together.
“We have been wanting to do a project together for a while. She brought this opportunity to me, and we moved quickly on it,” Leeds said of the project. She envisions “ice bar” features, including raw oysters, shrimp, ceviche, seafood tartares and crudo.
Chersevani has an academic background in chemistry. She began a recent mixology workshop by presenting each student with a periodic table of elements, then barreled into discussions about hydrogen content and binding qualities. She draws on that knowledge to craft balanced creations neither too acidic nor too sweet. Unexpected combinations include a rum cocktail with coconut milk, sugarcane syrup and coconut beer, as well as a mezcal cooler forged from red beet syrup, pineapple-cardamom soda, citric acid and cream.
One signature beverage likely to attract brunch-obsessed D.C. customers, and possibly even displace the mimosa, is the Sunny-Side Up, an eye-opener pairing white whiskey with fresh citrus, and a fruit-laced vinegar concoction known as shrub. The curious mixer, which has roots as a field drink dating back to the 17th century but is enjoying a renaissance among trendy bars today, is bound to get tongues wagging.
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