10.22.2009

Estadio: Spanish Food, Slushies Coming To 14th

The Spanish-flavored Estadio will open next year on 14th Street NW.

I may never leave my neighborhood again.

Next spring/summer, Proof owner Mark Kuller and his team plan to open Estadio, a Spanish restaurant, at 1520 14th St. NW, the space recently vacated by Garden District's indoor plant shop.

Estadio will join the newly opened Birch & Barley and Masa 14, as well as my current neighborhood favorites Bar Pilar, Cork and Posto. Add the planned Diamond District Seafood Co., Table 14, Cork Market and Cork and Fork, and I'm gonna go ahead and say 14th Street will be the hottest dining destination in town.

WaPo's Tom Sietsema broke the news about Estadio yesterday, and Metrocurean got Kuller on the phone today for a few more details.

First up, Proof bar man Adam Bernbach has a playful roster of libations planned. Slushies — yup, just like the ones at 7-Eleven — will be served. The frozen beverage is having its moment in some of New York's hot spots, including Momofuku.

More in keeping with the Spanish theme will be sangria, and knowing Bernbach, I'd expect some tasty new takes.

Sebastian Zutant, Proof's wine director, will compile the predominantly Spanish wine list, rounded out with a few Chilean and Argentinean selections and some US wines made with Spanish varietals.

Meanwhile, ambitious guests can order their wine in a porron (pictured at left), a traditional Spanish wine pitcher. Your mouth plays plant, it plays watering can, and the whole thing appears to require some skill. Though Kuller says: "I took to this thing immediately." Here's a demonstration, however unprofessional. Just don't wear white.

And then, of course, there's the menu of bite-size pintxos, tapas and larger raciones, overseen by Proof head chef Haidar Karoum. The small tastes, or pintxos, will run $1-$2, tapas $4-$9 and mains $10-$18. Bread will baked in house. "I think bread is such an important part of Spanish cuisine," says Kuller.

As for Estadio's vitals: The place will hold just more than 100 seats, 20 at the two-sided bar in the center and 85 in the dining room, including a counter in front of an open kitchen and three rustic communal tables. At the bar, "we're setting aside a corner that will be devoted to jamon, Spanish meats and cheeses, and cold small plates," Kuller says.

The restaurant will initially open for dinner, with plans for brunch and maybe even lunch to follow.

3 comments:

H Street Great Street said...

Very cool. Love those guys and what they do. You are lucky to have them in your neighborhood -- I wish they would come the Hill!

Anonymous said...

Quick review: Our wait time was nearly 3 hours and we left before getting seated. Drinks are expensive and very, very small (less than 4 ounces).

First, they do not take reservations for tables under six. When we called for a reservation with six, they would not take our reservation, anyway, as it was the day of. On the phone, the hostess assured us that there would be room for us - and our friend who is on crutches - in the large bar area. While the bar area is quite large, the seats are bolted to the floor, so the only re-arranging is asking people to slide down. And, there was certainly no room for our friend's cast when you cannot slide the stools back.

When we arrived, they said they were putting a tables together to make space for our party; a few minutes later, the hostess returned to tell us that we were going to have to wait 45 minutes. Two hours later, I went up the the hostess, who sent the owner over to give us meat, cheese, and four pieces of bread (for our six person party). He also told us he was buying us a round of drinks, which meant that he was bringing us a very inexpensive bottle (which can be purchased in Spain for 2.50 euro) of seltzer wine.

We waited another 45 minutes, then left. Our drink total: two drinks per person (no food charge): $108. Before tip.

Needless to say, I will NOT be going back. They definitely need to work out a few things before I can encourage anyone to go.

Mark Kuller said...

TO ANONYMOUS. My name is Mark Kuller. I am the principle owner of Estadio (and Proof). The gentleman who did his best to make things right is Justin Guthrie, our
General Manager. It is extremely rare that I respond to a blog post -people are entitled to air their opinions and I have accepted that my restaurants will not be for everyone. But I am compelled to respond in this case, where the facts are egregiously distorted to make the restaurant look bad, and the poster has gone to the effort of repeating the post on multiple sites (Yelp, Metrocurean and Urban Spoon thus far).

I want to start with two of poster's' claims.

"He also told us he was buying us a round of drinks, which meant that he was bringing us a very inexpensive bottle (which can be purchased in Spain for 2.50 euro) of seltzer wine."

The bottle of wine that poster received complimentary was a 2009 Aeztoi Txakoli
(http://www.demaisonselections.com/ameztoi.html). Txakoli is a slightly sparkling dry white wine from the Basque region of Spain
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Txakoli). This particular Txakoli is very highly regarded and one of my personal favorites. The average retail price
for this wine in the U.S. exceeds $20, and, though I fail to see the relevance of prices in Spain, in San Sebastian, the closest city to production, the wine retails between 10 and 12 Euros. It is one thing to
denigrate one of Spain's great white wines as "seltzer wine," it is another to fabricate a price to make the restaurant look cheap and uncaring.

"Drinks are expensive and very, very small (less than 4 ounces).... Our drink total: two drinks per person (no food charge): $108."

I have in fact reviewed your check and the six of you consumed 15 drinks (in addition o the bottle of Txakoli) for a total of $99 before tax/tip. That equals $6.60 a drink! There were no drinks less than 4 ounces. The majority of your order was bottled/can beer and mixed drinks, but you did order 3 glasses of wine - machine measured at exactly 4.5 ounces for $4 a glass. If you know of any DC bars that serve a glass of good wine for less than $1 an ounce please share.

Your recap of the conversations with our hostess on the phone ("assured there will be room for us" at the bar), and upon your arrival without a
reservation ("fixing your table now") is also at odds with my understanding of the facts, but regardless. OUR RESTAURANT SCREWED UP by quoting you 45 minutes. For that I am very sorry - we just opened and are still learning the dynamics of dealing with large walk in parties. Our hostess should not
have taken the reservation to begin with, or at the very least advised you that the wait for a walk in 6 top, prime time, Saturday night, was at least 2 hours. Justin did the best he could in a bad situation - bringing you a lovely bottle of wine and a platter of mixed meats and cheeses. And
though our attempt to make things better was sincere, I have no problem with you airing your grievance about our front door's mistake. But to
fabricate other details solely to make the restaurant look insincere and overpriced, and post this fabrication on multiple sites, makes me question
your motivation is simply to spread the word of our "walk in" ineptitude.