June 13, 2013 | by Jonathan Howard
A bite by the pool
Vida Fitness, Gay News, Washington Blade

Photo courtesy Vida Fitness.

As always the restaurant scene in Washington is bustling with events, new restaurants and new chefs galore. Here’s just a small taste of what’s hot this summer.

This summer the Vida Penthouse Pool Club on the roof of Vida Fitness  (1612 U Street NW) has a new menu created by “Top Chef” season one alum, Michael Schlow, who owns restaurants in Massachusetts and Connecticut, including Radius, Via Matta and Alta Strada. This award-winning chef  has been retained by Urban Adventure Companies (the parent company of Vida Fitness and The Penthouse Pool Club) to create the new concept for the Pool menu.

Vida used to get food from sister establishments Capital City Brewing Company and 901 Restaurant, but 901 has now closed and Vida is taking a more upscale approach to the food that is being served at the pool. There is now an onsite kitchen and Schlow has created a menu full of light upscale fare such as appetizers, salads, wraps and sandwiches. Items like the Spicy Cucumber Salad, the California Turkey Club Wrap and the Serrano Ham Sandwich with manchego cheese and guava jam all sound like great items to eat while lounging.

Schlow will also contribute to the Fuel Bar offerings, creating some shakes and juices that will be available to patrons. So, if you have a membership and are going to be at the pool this summer, I recommend trying a bite from the new redesigned offerings.

Besides the changes at the Vida Penthouse Pool Club other exciting summer options include the following:

Starting on Monday and continuing for two weeks Oyamel Cocina Mexicana (401 7th Street NW) will celebrate its sixth annual Tequila & Mezcal Festival. Guests will be able to enjoy Oyamel’s newly expanded bar and dishes by newly appointed head chef, Colin King. Look for a review of the new space and chef in an upcoming column.

Throughout the month, Dolcezza Artisanal Gelato (1560 Wisconsin Ave NW) will be offering a special deal coinciding with National Ice Cream Month. Every Monday and Tuesday customers who purchase a regular small gelato for the suggested retail price will receive a second for half price. I didn’t know there was a National Ice Cream Month but I think it gives us all an excuse to indulge every day and this offer helps us all keep the cost down.

Ardeo + Bardeo (3311 Connecticut Ave NW) is offering a pie and wine promotion this summer that showcases house-made pizzas paired with a glass of wine or draft beer for $15. This promotion is available exclusively at the bar or community table on Sundays from 5-10 p.m. and Mondays from 5-10:30 p.m.

If you’re looking for a nice spot to enjoy happy hour this summer, try out the Rooftop Happy Hour at El Centro D.F. (1819 14th Street NW). This happy hour includes $4 libations such as Corona, Dos XX Lager, Tecate, house red and white wine as well as select cocktails. Also available during the Rooftop Happy Hour is a selection of $6 specialty dishes like shrimp ceviche, pork carnitas and a selection of tacos.

1789 Restaurant (1226 36th Street NW) is celebrating the summer with a specially priced four-course tasting menu. Executive Chef Anthony Lombardo has created a menu available for $50 where guests can select two appetizers, one entree and one dessert. A $20 wine pairing is also available.

One of the most anticipated openings of the summer is Doi Moi, a new Vietnamese and Thai street-food restaurant that will be the anchor of the District Condominiums on 14th and S. Chef Haidar Karoum and restaurateur Mark Kuller, the team behind Proof and Estadio, as well as Adam Bernbach, the bar manager for both of those restaurants, are all involved in this project. The lower level will also have a bar called 2 Birds 1 Stone and it will feature curated cocktails and a scaled down menu. The most outlandish detail of this project that I have come across is that the space will feature a custom made Jade cooking suite. If it’s true, it will be a sight to see.

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