WASHINGTON -- Does "Top Chef" star Mike Isabella ever slow down? Tuesday morning, the former Zaytinya toque announced in a release plans to open two Mediterranean-oriented restaurants, Kapnos and G, in early 2013. Both will occupy a 7,000 square-foot space at 1326 W St. NW.
Kapnos will accomodate 150 diners and feature Greek dishes like appetizer spreads, breads, phyllo pies, vegetables and other small plates, including wood-grilled octopus. Dinner will include carvings from spit-roasted whole animal like lamb, goat, duck, chicken and suckling pig.
G will be a sibling restaurant to Graffiato, which the chef opened in Chinatown in June 2011. On the lunchtime menu: traditional Italian sandwiches like chicken Parmesan, veal cutlet, sausage with peppers, and meatballs. There'll also be soups and salads. At night, G will offer a $40 four-course tasting menu of antipasti, pasta, choice of meat or fish and dessert.
Patch has a great interview with the chef, who dishes on the similarities between Bandolero and Graffiato, the cemetery-inspired decor and the hours: "It’ll never shut down. You can get tacos, margaritas all day long."
What's next for Isabella? Another slew of eateries? Not so, he told The Washington Post's Tom Sietsema."After this," he said, "I'm taking a break.”
We'll see if that's true -- Isabella has a colorful history with food journalists. Last year, the chef caught flack for denying reports he was involved with the project eventually revealed to be Bandolero.
Contacted by [food blog Endless Simmer], Isabella denied the rumor. Sort of: "No, no, that was misinterpreted. I don’t have anything signed. It was a miscommunication.” He more firmly rejected the rumored kind of restaurant: “I wouldn’t do a Spanish/Mexican concept."
Granted, it turned out Isabella was saving the Bandolero story for the Post, which Sietsema later broke. Maybe Isabella is telling the truth about taking a breather, after all.