DC Dining Guide: March Essentials

My favorite beer garden/barbecue joint Standard reopened March 1 with lines down the block. Can I get an amen? Bring on the barbecue, burgers and big ol' beers. A feast, pictured at left.

 Also reopening for food service in the next week or so, another Metrocurean favorite, Bar Pilar. The 14th Street spot has been partially closed for construction to add a second floor. I've missed Justin Bittner's cooking... 

 José Andrés' new food truck Pepe launched today, dishing out Spanish-style sandwiches. Check out the menu on Eater, and follow Pepe @pepefoodtruck.

 Been to check out Adams Morgans' new Mintwood Place yet? I love the vibe and I'm developing an addiction to the fat, crunchy maple pork rinds.

• 2941's new casual menu and relaxed vibe means dishes like the "Daffy" burger, a juicy duck patty topped with a super thin sliver of foie gras and onion agrodolce. How have I never had a duck burger before? Delicious.

 I'm psyched to judge this year's Artini, an annual cocktail competition created by the Corcoran Gallery of Art and College of Art + Design. During the month of March, 12 of the city’s top mixologists compete to make the most artistic martini inspired by a work in the Corcoran collection.  You get to sip their creations during "Feature Nights," starting tonight, March 6, at Oyamel. Vote for your favorite on Washingtonian, then, hit up the big party March 31. Details here.

 Maybe the Irish have this month's drinking holiday cornered, but being the Scotch/Irish mutt that I am, it makes sense to seek out Port City Brewing Co.'s limited release Tartan Ale (at left) for spring sipping. Get the Scottish ale at Port City's tasting room and select stores and bars.

Chef Mike Isabella has announced he's opening two restaurants in a 7,000-square-foot space at 14th and W. Kapnos will serve Greek fare with whole spit-roasted animals, while G will be what Isabella is calling a little sister to his first restaurant Graffiato with more traditional Italian fare and sandwiches during the day. The ETA is early 2013.

 Another Top Chef'er expanding his restaurant portfolio, Bryan Voltaggio swings back toward the District with Range, slated to open in the Chevy Chase Pavilion this fall. The 275-seat restaurant will focus on meat, highlighting lesser-used cuts, and will also offer a bakery and retail.
 When the historic Howard Theatre (at right) reopens in April, celeb NYC chef Marcus Samuelsson will be consulting on the brunch and dinner menus and appointing the head chef. The space will function like a supper club, and for standing-room-only shows, a streamlined menu will be offered. Sunday gospel brunches will start in mid-April.

 Alternative dining options continue to pop up (um, pun intended) around town. A year ago, Metrocurean looked into supper clubs, secret and not. New to the scene are Feastly