Husband Peter and I recently enjoyed a great lunch at CR NoMa, 140 M St. NE. The two-and-a- half-year-old restaurant is a spinoff of its Mount Vernon Triangle parent, The Carving Room. The meaty moniker might sound like a steakhouse name, but CR is much more than that. Chef/co-owner Oded Weizmann grew up in a Moroccan-Israeli household (his partner is Rachel Steiman). Such a culinary background explains CR’s vibrant, “inspired” Mediterranean/Middle Eastern menu, with Sephardic Jewish flourishes.
Although CR’s stylish interior looked inviting, we opted for a small outdoor table. Our personable server, Ty, took my order for a lip-tingling Bloody Mary, which he presented in a spice-encrusted glass and garnished with an olive and lime wedge.
For starters, we shared an appetizer of roasted beet dip ‒ a colorful mosaic which tasted as good as it looked ‒ concentric circles of pureed beets, yogurt and feta and goat cheese, all accompanied by delicious garlicky pita and healthy cucumber and carrot spears.
Covering two international culinary bases, customers may choose the pastrami Cuban sandwich of “griddled” marble rye piled with house-cured pastrami, grilled onions, Swiss cheese and mayo. An alternative is the traditional pastrami Reuben, where pickles sub for the usual sauerkraut, Russian dressing for mayo.
Among other seasonal temptations are tummy-warming matzo ball soup, “classic” cigars (fried spring rolls filled with Moroccan-spiced ground brisket); hearty meatball subs; lamb rib flatbread with mint and yogurt; beer, wine and cocktails. For exact hours and more information, visit www.carvingroom.com.
Jane Jane, a cozy cocktail bar, has arrived at 1705 14th St. NW, in Logan Circle. You’ll find the 850-square-foot newbie in the mixed-use Liz development. Co-owners are Ralph Brabham and Jean Paul Sabatier. Sabatier is a culinary school grad who has managed Rappahannock Oyster Bar, Maydan and Compass Rose. He’s in charge of food and drinks. Sabatier, who goes by “JP,” is co-owner alongside Brabham and Drew Porterfield, a married couple who own Shaw’s Beau Thai and the nearby, noodle-centric BKK Cookshop.
The bar’s short menu of finger foods includes mixed nuts spiced with rosemary and cayenne; caramelized onion dip and Jane’s caviar, the latter a mixture of trout roe and creme fraiche, to be scooped up with potato chips. Gouda and sharp cheddar pimento cheese offer a nod to Brabham and Porterfield’s North Carolina roots. The owners plan to add a weekend brunch that will bring pastries and quiches from Shaw’s Buttercream Bakeshop.
Jane Jane’s homey decor captures the feeling of Mom’s living room. In fact, Jane Jane is a reference to Brabham’s mother’s nickname. “She is just a super outgoing, friendly, life-of-the-party type of lady,” he said. “She loves to have people over at her house and can entertain at the drop of a dime.”
Jane Jane organizes its cocktail menu by types of spirits, listing classics like gin-based Negronis and martinis along with lesser-known drinks like an Air Mail, built with aged rum, honey syrup, lemon juice, Angostura bitters and cava. A rotating selection of seasonal cocktails includes a Pink Corvair, made with vodka, Curacao, homemade grenadine and lemon juice. Also flowing are craft beers and wines from Europe, South Africa and Oregon. For hours and more information, visit www.janejanedc.com.
Nearby, restaurateur Med Lahlou has unveiled Lupo Pizzeria at 1908 14th St. NW, practically next door to sibling osteria Lupo Verde. The interior is a feast for the eyes, a vision of colorful hand-painted tiles, ceramic plates, Italian flags, blue-cushioned chairs and a handsome marble-topped bar. There’s also outdoor seating.
Emerging from the open kitchen: carbonara pizza topped with pecorino cream, guanciale (cured pork cheeks), black pepper and eggs. We ordered this deconstructed version of spaghetti carbonara. While the overall creation was flavorful, we found the eggs a little too runny, and we would have liked more pork, which tasted more like regular bacon. Another pizza choice is Lupo Marino, a melange of prawns, mussels, and dashi tomato passata (thick tomato paste), all heaped atop house-made, squid-ink-infused dough. Diners may also build-their own pies.
Other options encompass “classic Lupo”: fried artichokes and arancini (fried squid-ink risotto balls stuffed with calamari ragu). The trio of coal black globes was tasty but a bit dry. Panuozzo are hefty sandwiches with various fillings snuggled in bread made from pizza dough. Burrata is plunked next to melon chunks topped with a ribbon of aged prosciutto. A deliciously refreshing salad is a montage of watermelon chunks, cucumbers and sliced black olives, perfumed with mint and sprinkled with taralli ‒ crunchy Italian cracker crumbs.
Tiramisu soars to new heights here. Served in a small flowerpot, the classic, coffee-flavored dessert is made with spongy cake and mascarpone, crowned with grated chocolate and strawberry slices.
Lupo Pizzeria is open daily. For more information, visit www.lupopizzeriadc.com.
Congrats to Andy’s Pizza, a regional chain that took top honors in the Traditional division of the 2021 International Pizza Expo & Conference. Held in Las Vegas, the bakeoff had three divisions: Traditional, Non-Traditional and Pan. Each competitor had to create a signature pie on the spot for a panel of accredited chefs. Andy’s concocted its “classic” cheese pizza.
“I believe we won because we care about every ingredient in our pizza,” said proprietor Andy Brown. “It didn’t feel right to compete with something we don’t sell or pride ourselves on. We won with the exact same cheese pizza that’s available by the slice at all of our pizzerias.”
Andy’s Pizza is a New York-style shop with outlets in McLean (Tysons Galleria), Shaw (2014 Ninth St. NW), Navy Yard (1201 Half St. SE), NoMa (51 M St. NE), Atlas Brew Works’ Half Street Brewery & Tap Room, adjacent to Nationals Park, and Streets Market in Northwest. To place an order or make reservations, visit www.eatandyspizza.com.