01/17/2012 04:17 pm ET

Former Equinox Sous Chef Phillip Blane To Open Unum In Georgetown

WASHINGTON -- Former Equinox sous chef Phillip Blane is striking out on his own, with his wife opening a new eatery Unum in Georgetown at 2917 M St. NW.

Blane and Laura Schiller plan to offer new American cuisine at the 50-seat eatery, which formerly housed the beleaguered Mendocino Grille. According to a release, dishes on the roster include grilled quail with sauteed greens, pistachios and date sauce; four-onion soup with slow-roasted Spanish onions, shallots, caramelized Cipollinis and fresh chives; smoked duck breast with rainbow Swiss chard and drizzled with pomegranate sauce; rosemary gnocchi with oyster mushrooms, butternut squash, cranberries and truffle butter; and Indian-spiced lamb shank with cauliflower, raisins, cashews and cilantro-mint chutney.

There'll also be a 12-person bar with a special menu featuring dishes like tater tots of cod and chorizo, truffle macaroni and cheese, a burger and a selection of cheese and charcuterie. A weekend brunch will offer items like Belgian waffles topped with fruit compote and frozen vanilla yogurt plus eggs Benedict atop potato-caper cakes and smoked salmon doused in salmon-roe hollandaise.

Appetizers will be in the $8 to $12 range and entrees between $14 and $24.

The Washington Post's Tom Siestema has the scoop on the restaurant's name, which is derived from the Latin phrase "E pluribus unum" (which means "Out of many, one") emblazoned on the Great Seal of the United States, coins and paper money.

Writes Siestema, "Blane, 42, says he liked the connotation as it applied to his cooking." The politically-oriented name might also have something to do with Schiller's day job as chief of staff to Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.).