Pinea: Charred Octopus

Octopus

Chef Barry Koslow has had some time to settle into his latest culinary foray, Pinea, inside the W Hotel DC. You know him from his Jewish deli days at DGS Delicatessen. His Mediterranean concept replaces J & G Steakhouse, which was ripe for retirement. If you’re a hotel restaurant naysayer, suck it up and pay Pinea a visit because you could easily find it on a cool street in Europe.

The Best Thing on the Menu channels Urusla (but there are no unfortunate souls): Charred Octopus with Saffron Potatoes, Green Olives, Chorizo and Sherry Dressing. The flavors are explosive and slightly reminiscent of paella (at least the kind of paella someone on the Paleo diet would eat because there is no rice). The chorizo adds smoky heat, the dressing is tart, and the octopus is charred to perfection. That last part might be “too soon” for fellow DC chef, George Pagonis, who departed this season of Top Chef because of the way he cooked the pesky eight-legger.

Pinea Lamb Burger

Also outstanding is Chef Koslow’s Lamb Merguez Burger, which can be found on the lunch, dinner and brunch menu. It’s fiery with harissa, but fortunately cucumber yogurt cools your mouth. A $19 burger you say!?!? It is The W after all. The price tag is worth it for the polenta fries alone.

After you’ve demolished the Best Thing on the Menu and the lamb burger, settle up and head down to The Root Cellar. The pint-sized bar serves up some tasty barrel-aged cocktails and a whole lot of whiskey.

Pinea is located at 515 15th Street NW.

Charred Octopus not your BTM? Share your favorites in the comments section.

Bourbon Steak Lounge: Pulled Pork Pop-Tarts

Pop-tarts

Sure, Bourbon Steak Lounge is synonymous with face-melting, make-you-scream-for-your-momma-they’re-so-good burgers. Put it this way, we’d rather have a Bourbon Steak Lounge burger than stock in Shake Shack. But there’s something even better (and brand new) lurking on the lounge menu – The Best Thing on the Menu: Pulled Pork Pop-Tarts served with Carolina BBQ sauce and gherkins. 

Bourbon Steak Chef Joe Palma takes 20% of the fun out of it by explaining that pop-tarts are really just flat empanadas. He ruined our fantasy that these would would one day be available to purchase from Kellogg’s for daily, in-home consumption. Alas, to Bourbon Steak Lounge we’ll head for round after round of these warm, flaky wonders filled with bright yellow meatsies thanks to the mustard component of the sauce. Order them alongside an expertly crafted cocktail from bar genius Duane Sylvestre.

Burgers

Fortunately (like Kellogg’s) an order of pop-tarts only comes with two pastries, leaving you belly room to tackle one of those epic burgers we mentioned. Feel free to explore all of the options, but don’t overlook the original oak-fired prime steak burger with house pickles, cabot clothbound cheddar and secret sauce. The Korean barbeque burger packs a punch thanks to heat from kimchi and gochujang sauce. Just don’t expect a patty made from minced salmon. You get a whole salmon filet instead, eschewing dryness and creating an adorable juxtaposition of a rectangle tucked between two round buns.

Obviously, you’re also getting the duck fat fries with a trio of dipping sauces.

Bourbon Steak Lounge is located inside the Four Seasons Hotel Washington at 2800 Pennsylvania Avenue NW. 

Pulled Pork Pop-Tarts not your BTM? Share your favorites in the comments section.