By the time you read this post, Roti Mediterranean Grill will be open for breakfast.  If  you hurry, you might still beat the rush to be one of the first to try a sandwich wrapped in laffa or tucked into a house-baked pita pocket.  Even if you’re not enough of an early bird to check out their breakfast offerings, you may want to check out Roti in NoMa sooner rather than later.

Why?  Roti is offering up spit-roasted meats and freshly made toppings that will make up for all those mediocre gyros and kebabs you’ve settled for in the past.  They’re even baking their own pita bread on site.  And they’re delivering all these big sit-down style flavors at carryout prices.

There was a time when the area north of Union Station on First Street, NE, was an expanse of vacant lots and dilapidated buildings.  These days, with multiple federal offices and other large employers moving into the area, there are new dining options opening every week.  Even so, Roti Mediterranean Grill is poised to stand out among its neighbors.

So what’s Roti all about?  Imagine Chipotle with the flavors of the eastern Mediterranean.  Got it?  Now check out that picture to the right.  Pretty close, right?  On the surface, Roti’s quick-service, choose-your-own-adventure style is similar to that of the ubiquitous burrito place.  But their flavors are miles apart.

Check out some of what Roti will be offering when they open today after the jump. (more…)

If you’ve ever wondered why you couldn’t get a decent corned beef on rye in the same place you got your Old Overholt Rye, your decidedly secular prayers have been answered.  On Friday and Saturday night last weekend, word got out that another long-awaited H Street establishment would be doing a soft opening for Facebook fans and local friends alike.  Just a few doors down from Dangerously Delicious Pies, Star and Shamrock has arrived.

Part Irish bar and part Jewish delicatessen, Star and Shamrock Tavern & Deli is a food and beverage mash-up that fits perfectly into the Atlas District’s increasingly eclectic nightlife and dining scene.  We poked our heads in on Monday afternoon for a quick look around and a chat with the guys behind the pastrami-and-a-pint concept.

A look at what’s in store – from the deli counter as well as the bar – after the jump. (more…)

<<EDIT 5/22/09 @ 9:45 AM:  A couple of changes since we posted this.  Blue Ridge has pushed back its opening to the very end of the month, instead of next week as originally stated.  Additionally, Brightest Young Things and others have indicated that Justin Guthrie will no longer be tending bar, having taken a position as the beverage director for the new W Hotel.  Silver lining: table-service punch bowls are still expected to be on the menu at Blue Ridge.>>

BlueRidge 015We’re in the middle of another heat wave when it comes to restaurant openings here in Washington, and there are few hotter prospects than Eli Hengst’s Blue Ridge.  When it opens just after Memorial Day, DC diners will not only be treated to a RAMMY-winning Rising Culinary Star in the kitchen, they’ll also be able to enjoy cocktails mixed up by one of the all-stars behind the sorely missed Hummingbird to Mars.

We had an opportunity to take a look around the space – formerly occupied by Thai restaurant Busara – over the weekend, and it’s clear that they’re putting the finishing touches on what will be an impressive blending of modern and classic elements in a space that is roughly 100 years old.

BlueRidge 007Yesterday’s Washington Post offered some insight into Chef Barton Seaver’s commitment to sustainability, and it sounds like he’s going to have a chance to bring it to full fruition in the new Glover Park locale.  With a farm-to-table ethos that’s going to emphasize “whole animal” cooking, Blue Ridge is poised to bring a new level of sophistication to this stretch of Wisconsin Avenue without breaking the bank.

More photos, philosophies and details on what to expect behind the bar after the jump. (more…)