Buredo: The Sofie

The Sofie

If you want to see shock on the level of someone seeing one of the Saw movies for the first time, show a classroom of Japanese students an American sushi menu. Mango! Cream cheese! Asparagus! We’ve taken a cuisine that usually consists of one or two ingredients and exotified it, sometimes even deep-frying entire rolls. Now, consider introducing them to Buredo: downtown’s buzziest lunch pit stop that supersizes sushi rolls until they reach the size of small burritos. Perhaps there will be an eye roll or two, but after one bite, anyone is bound to be smitten.

The Best Thing on the Menu: The Sofie brings together shrimp tempura, avocado, pickled cabbage, carrot, toasted sesame seeds, red tobiko and sriracha mayo for a sweet and spicy mouthful. Is it a little predictable to pick the one roll on the menu that contains both something fried and a liberal helping of mayo? Sure, but the truth’s the truth.

The Hanzo

If you want to swing a little healthier, we also love the Hanzo (yes, the samurai who was a serious badass). This hoagie-sized roll introduces pickled fennel and arugula to the sushi world. They’re joined by yellowfin tuna sashimi, avocado, cucumber, tempura crunch and a lemon aioli.

Buredo is still tinkering with their offerings and hours given the fast casual restaurant is in its infancy stage (they opened July 2). But, the concept proved to be a winner (read: long lines) so they expanded their closing time from 4pm to 7pm. Maybe they realized they planted a restaurant in a city full of workaholics who leave the office at 6pm and are eager to grab a quick dinner before going home to work some more, this time on laptops.

The Sofie not your BTM? Share your favorites in the comments section.

Find Buredo at 825 14th Street NW.

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.