October 28, 2010 | by William George
The foodie frontier

There are several new openings and specials on the local dining scene.

Casa Nonna, the new sister concept of BLT Steak in downtown Washington has opened just south of Dupont Circle. The restaurant features terra-cotta floors and deep wood interiors. Under chef Roberto Donna at his Italian restaurant, Galileo, Brandwein served as executive chef and oversaw the launch of Osteria del Galileo, the Galileo “Grill,” Laboratorio del Galileo and then went on to open Bebo Trattoria in Arlington, Va., in 2006. She then helmed the kitchen at Fyve Restaurant Lounge in the Ritz-Carlton in Arlington.

In the middle of the more serious Georgetown restaurant scene, Muncheez Mania (1071 Wisconsin Ave), opening in late October, looks to inject a sense of whimsy. It will serve a menu of unusual “muncheez” sandwiches, healthy wraps, salads and crêpes. Its homemade saj bread, baked fresh daily and used for the sandwiches, is thinner than pita but thicker than a crêpe. Sweet and savory crêpes include the ham, cheese and mushroom or the PBJ. They can be ordered from a curbside crêpe window open until 10 p.m. or inside the restaurant.

Located in Hotel Madera (1310 New Hampshire Ave. N.W.), Firefly’s new “Beat the Clock” happy hour features progressively timed and priced drink specials. The happy hour is available every Monday through Friday, starting at 3 p.m., when select drinks are $1; the pricing increases in increments of $1 every hour, maxing out at $4 by 7 p.m., and on Monday nights the pricing will stay at $4 until last call. Chef Danny Bortnick will also offer a selection of “Seven Salty Snacks,” all available for $5 throughout the 3 to 7 p.m. happy hour. Sixty-four-ounce growlers of Batch 19, a special brew made from a pre-prohibition era recipe, will be available for $15 during happy hour and $20 after.

In honor the upcoming football season. RIS chef-owner Ris Lacoste, a food and football fan, has unveiled his new concept menu “Hang Time,” which will be available at the bar and in the café seating areas every Sunday from noon to close throughout the NFL season. The game time specials extend behind the bar as well. All day each Sunday guests can choose from Abita Light or a Bloody Mary for only $4. Reservations in the dining room are always recommended but they are not required to take advantage of the Hang Time menu. (2275 L St. N.W., 202-730-2500)

For those with a more artistic frame of mind, Lacoste has also developed a pre- and post-theater menu called the “Marquee.” Catering to those diners patronizing the nearby National Theater, Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and the not-yet-opened West End Theater, the Marquee offers a three-course dinner for $35 per person. The Marquee is available daily before 6:30 p.m. and after 10.

The Source by Wolfgang Puck, located in the Newseum, is now offering its brunch and Bloody Mary menus on Saturday. The brunch is offered from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and includes a combination of traditional brunch items as well as Asian-inspired dishes. The menu features a dim sum platter that includes an assortment of house-made selections: spicy “Thai Style” chicken salad with mustard dressing and candied cashews; market-fresh berry french toast served with country-style pork sausage; and burgers and sandwiches including the “American Style” Kobe burger with onion marmalade and herb aïoli and Maine lobster club with bacon vinaigrette. (575 Pennsylvania Ave, N.W.)

David Guas, the former Passion Food pastry chef and author of ”DamGoodSweet: Desserts to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth, New Orleans Style,” will open his new place Bayou Bakery, Coffee Bar & Eatery (1515 N. Courthouse Rd.), in Arlington’s Courthouse neighborhood. Guas’ menu will feature such goodies as breakfast sandwiches with biscuits and other dishes representative of his former New Orleans life. Look for the bakery in early November.

Bharet Malhotra and Nisha Sidhu of Co Co. Sala have opened the Co Co. Chocolate Boutique, showcasing artisanal, handcrafted retail chocolates and offering the ideal locale to pick up signature chocolates for take-away purchase. The new retail boutique also offers chocolate bars and hand-sculpted chocolate and sugar showpieces. (929 F St. N.W.)

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