Thursday, June 27, 2013


There was a Preview Party on Wednesday, June 26 from 7-9 pm at a new lounge in Washington DC called KABIN at 1337 Connecticut Ave NW just south of Dupont Circle. NLA Group owners Kunal Shah, Vinoda Basnayake, Dustin Huynh and Rajeev Subramanian are former owners of Eden nightclub and current partners of Karma by Erwin Gomez.

In the midst of the concrete jungle of DC, KABIN can be described as a "discotheque meets après-ski chalet" where people can step out of the everyday and into alpine culture. It certainly is different. It's like an Aspen ski lodge with charcoal-finished ceilings and walls, tanned leather banquette seats, polished brass and bronze accents, herringbone styled wood floors, and an infinity fire box for that fireplace feel. There is a mirrored prism ceiling which refracts light, so as to give an abstract high view of what's below. Additionally, a separate "speakeasy" from the same owners called The Sheppard is opening up in an adjoining property sometime in June or July. The Sheppard is named after the 1917 Sheppard Act which introduced Prohibition to DC.

The temperature inside was warm and the crowds of people were chilling with drinks from the open bar and some took up the offer of a shot of three pins, a classic aprés-ski drink. With the rotating lights above flashing around, some guests danced even with the warm room temperature. Guests had plenty of photo opportunities and the people in some photos may have a glowing and tanned look on them from the lights, which seemed a bit bright at times. This is only the beginning and we'll see how things develop. In coming to this venue and hanging out, you might get a KABIN fervor effect. The lounge opens to the public on Saturday, June 29.

Photos by Vithaya with a Canon G10 compact camera.


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Teddy & The Bully Bar Goes Public

There was heightened anticipation leading up the official opening of Teddy & The Bully Bar to the public on Monday June 24, 2013. Knowing of the uniqueness and success of the sister restaurant LINCOLN, I could only expect Teddy & The Bully Bar to make a distinct impression in the district and beyond.

Teddy & The Bully Bar is a salute and tribute to Theodore "T.R." Roosevelt, Jr., the 26th President of the United States. "Teddy" is noted for his exuberant personality, wide range of interests as well as his "cowboy" persona and masculine strength. It wasn't only the office held as a politician that attributed to his fame, but also his achievements as a naturalist, explorer, hunter, author, and soldier. Located in the heart of Northwest Washington DC, just south of Dupont Circle and off 19th and M Street, Teddy & The Bully Bar is not only in a prime location, but with all that's invested into it and it's mark in the restaurant industry and scene, I believe it is poised for success. I got word that Teddy & The Bully Bar was to open at 3pm and being a patron of proprietor Alan Popovsky's other restaurants, I wanted to dine at the restaurant on it's opening day and arrived as happy hour was coming to a close and dinner service was beginning. I was only going to be able to stay for a short time and brought my compact camera to help capture my experience. Showing and telling about any place doesn't compare to being there yourself, but I hope to give you a preview of what's in store at Teddy & The Bully Bar. There's much more that I saw there, and you'll have to see all of it for yourself.


Walking into Teddy & The Bully Bar, I was marveled by the spectacle of the lightness and openness of the interior design and it was balanced by the character of the decor and furnishings. Hometown artist and interior designer Maggie O’Neill of O’Neill Studios and her team once again created an amazing and fitting atmosphere and environment for Teddy & The Bully Bar, as they had done with LINCOLN restaurant. The space is both classic and contemporary giving the restaurant a timeless appeal, yet suitable to artistic and modern tastes. I was greeted warmly and was seated at a table across from the Bully Bar, and I welcomed and appreciated the quality of the table and seat I had for my dinner, as it was both sturdy and comfortable. Being able to put my feet on the step of the chair was relaxing as I surveyed the menu with excitement.

The menu at Teddy & The Bully Bar has a variety of items categorized by it's type of food and drink. The Cocktails are in two lists: Day Barrel Aged Old Fashioned's and Modern Golden Era Cocktails. There are also Wines by the Glass, Bubbles and Beer. With a nod to past and present Presidents, I had the Rio Roosevelt and Obama's Honey Cider from the Modern Golden Era Cocktails list. I didn't doubt that the drinks would be good coming from the Bully Bar. I see that accomplished bar consultant and Mixologist John Hogan (who created sister restaurant LINCOLN’s impressive bar program), has again created a distinctive and fresh beverage program. It's quite impressive to see that Master Somellier Kathy Morgan has developed a distinctive wine list for Teddy and the Bully Bar featuring regionally appointed wines. Morgan is the 105th Master Sommelier in North America and the 19th woman in the world to earn this title.


There is a wide array of foods for the palette based on the following categories: Bakery, Delicatessen, Tavern, Docks, Kettle, Hearth, Garden, Coast, Heartland, Plains. From the Coast category, I ordered the Steamed Atlantic Flounder with Beets, Carrots and Citrus. I don't often see Flounder on a menu and I was reminded of fishing experiences with my father where we would catch and then later on cook and eat flounder. I found the flounder to be delightful and tasteful along with the perfect complements of the beets, carrots and citrus. I came hungry and wanted something hearty, so I ordered Macaroni & Artisanal Cheeses from the Heartland category and found it to have a light and smooth taste. To match the Macaroni & Artisanal Cheeses, I ordered Cornbread with Bacon from the Bakery category. The waitress was knowledgeable about the menu and answered all my menu questions without hesitation.


Executive Chef Michael Hartzer has a strong foundation in the classic techniques of European cuisine and with his love of spices and hearty game, it was a good match in establishing the menu at Teddy & the Bully Bar. The small-plates menu at Teddy and the Bully Bar reflects Theodore Roosevelt’s love for simple food. Their seasonal menus feature quality, locality and simplicity by paying attention to local producers, thereby bringing the freshest fare available. This menu represents President Roosevelt’s belief to “do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” In that spirit, may you visit Teddy & The Bully Bar and enjoy the menu and this unique dining experience. Although there was a lot of chatter in the bar area, it's good to see that there are two other rooms for a quieter and more intimate dining environment.


As a fitting way to close this review of Teddy & The Bully Bar, I look to a quote from the center of the food menu that states: "Never throughout history had a man who lived a life of ease left a name worth remembering." That quote by Teddy Roosevelt is appropriate and I deem it worthy in saying that Teddy & The Bully Bar will be remembered, and will become of great renown in our nation's capital and worldwide.