Sunday, January 29, 2017

PREVIEW: Mindful Restaurant Group expands to Ivy City

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Mindful Restaurant Group has expanded to the Hecht Building in Ivy City with three new spots: Ari's Diner, La Puerta Verde, and Dock FC.  We had a recent taste and tour --- see my photo highlights below!  Closest Metro is New York Avenue.


Ari Gejdenson opened the first Ari's Diner in 2003 in Florence, Italy, while he was there playing soccer. He was living in a culinary destination, but found that there were no places to grab a late-night snack, American-style. Sharing a bit of that same homesick feeling so many students and expats experience, the idea of the diner was born. Ari's Diner is the perfect place for the neighbors to catch up over a coffee and farm-fresh eggs on their way to work. Of course, breakfast is served all day!


Besides breakfast, my favorite were the "adult shakes": Vanilla Bourbon made with bourbon topped with whipped cream and chocolate syrup and the Mexican Chocolate Malt with Patron XO cafe and Ancho Ryes topped with whipped cream and chocolate syrup.


La Puerta Verde translates as “The Green Door”, and is their homage to the Mexican culture and influences found throughout the city. In Mexico the color green represents hope. Ari was inspired to create La Puerta Verde after working alongside so many passionate and talented people in the restaurant industry that left Mexico and now call DC their home. Over the years people have shared pieces of their Mexican culture and cuisine with him which he fell in love with.


The decor is fresh with traditional talavera tiles, vibrant colorful murals by local artist Miss Chelove, and repurposed cargo containers that bring smart rustic charm that contrast with the large original warehouse columns.


We loved the Elote Loco - corn on the cob with spicy citrus mayo, chili, and cojita cheese; Esquites con Camarones - sauteed pink shrimp over grilled bread covered with a smoked corn, tequila, and epazote sauce; Vegetarian Blacks BeansCarne Arrachera - grilled beef skirt steak, chorizo, cactus paddle, tomatillo, spring onion, queso fresco and jalapeño; and Pescado Quemado - grilled marinated whole fish over citrus marinated cabbage with diablo mayo.


And of course, I washed it all down with the LPV Margarita made with smoky Mezcal, fresh lime juice and cilantro.  These were so tasty and dangerously sneaky!


For a more casual vibe, check out next door's Dock FC - a soccer-centric sports bar that borrows its name from the great powerhouses in international soccer. Large projection TVs on each wall provide unlimited viewing of the current international games (American football, included).


Try the Cholula Chicken Wings and chips with salsa or grilled guacamole. From the adjoining kitchen of La Puerta Verde comes more than your traditional bar food: Tacos!  House-made corn tortillas all topped with cilantro and onion served with chile de arbol salsa and avocado tomatillo salsa.  Choose from Carne Asada - grilled mojo marinated beef skirt steak; Al Pastor - grilled anchiote chili marinated pork with pineapple; Tinga - tomato and chipotle braised chicken; Lengua - tender braised beef tongue; Hongos - roasted mushrooms with Oaxaca cheese; Chorizo - spicy pork sausage; or Pescado - cumin crusted fried cod with mango slaw.

The Mindful Restaurant Group's new trifecta is worth the visit to the Hecht Building in the newly booming warehouse district of Ivy City.

1 comment:

  1. Gorgeous place, I just went here with someone. The place itself was beautiful and spacious, the seats were comfortable and wide. From where I was sitting at least, the views were great. I think the music at LA venue really did a great job of filling up the space.

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