Azur Closing in Penn Quarter – Chef Frederik De Pue to Open new Restaurant and Market called Menu in January

405 8th Street, NW

From a press release:

“Frederik De Pue, Chef/Owner of Table and 42° Catering, announces Menu, a combined market, restaurant and bar. Menu will be located in the space currently occupied by Azur, his modern seafood restaurant in the Penn Quarter neighborhood of Washington, D.C. Azur will close Friday, September 27 and the space will undergo a brief revamp before reopening as Menu in January, 2014. De Pue’s new concept will draw on the warmth, accessibility and intimate scale that have made Table, his 45-seat neighborhood charmer in Shaw, such a success.

“The decision to revamp the format is part business and part personal,” says Chef/Owner Frederik De Pue, “I love the Azur concept, but it wasn’t a perfect fit for a space that size, and as both the owner and the chef, I am in a position where I can make necessary changes quickly. I want to build something that this neighborhood is lacking, and that is also more warm and welcoming – something that reflects my passion for clean, uncomplicated comfort food. The Penn Quarter area doesn’t have an active market where customers can gather to shop, meet and eat, and that’s exactly what I am trying to create with Menu.”

Menu’s first floor will contain a local market selling boutique grocery items alongside fresh farm produce from area growers and artisanal items from local producers. The market will also offer sauces, gelato, charcuterie, cured and smoked fish, a fresh herb rotisserie, sandwiches and pre-made meals from Menu’s kitchen. A barista will oversee an extensive coffee service featuring beans from local roasters.

Upstairs, a lounge area will fill the center floor, offering a space to enjoy your coffee or a quick meal from the market during the day. In the evening, the space will become a wine bar with a small menu of bar snacks. The top floor will be a 42-seat restaurant serving lunch and dinner seven days a week. The menu will resemble Table’s comforting European country cooking and clean and simple takes on American classics. The market will sell 30 to 40 bottles of wine, many of them available by the glass at the third floor bar, along with an extensive selection of bottled beer.

The space will be warmed up with recycled wood elements and exposed brick accent walls. Hanging plants will dress up the dramatic glass chandelier that hangs three stories down the central staircase. The two double doors at the building’s center will become the new main entrance and be flanked by patio seating and the market’s fruit stands.”

7 Comment

  • Hey Frederik – instead of opening a second Table – why don’t you focus on your first. After a promising start, meal quality and size is going down, while your prices stay high. Thally’s is quickly becoming the superior neighborhood option.

    • You make a good point. I ate at Table a few weeks ago, and I have to admit I was disappointed by both the food and the service. That being said, I really like the ideas he has for Menu. Especially the produce market on the ground floor. I think it’s awesome to be able to have access to the same produce he uses in his restaurants.

      • Then go to the same market – e.g., step outside and visit the Penn Quarter farmers market. That wasn’t hard now was it?

        • If only it were so simple.

          In my experience, the farmer’s markets only sell the standard produce I can get just about anywhere (carrots, onions, tomatoes, etc.). That’s understandable because it’s more profitable for them to operate that way. Chef’s usually forge the kinds of relatioships with farmers that can sometimes grant them access to more unusual ingredients that are not commonly found at the farmer’s market. I’m hoping that some of those ingredients will be available at Menu.

  • Was Azur any good? I had it on my restaurant list, but clearly, I’m not going to make it before it goes away.

  • justinbc

    “Menu’s first floor will contain a local market selling boutique grocery items alongside fresh farm produce from area growers and artisanal items from local producers.”
    Hopefully it’s not as much of an obvious money grab as Azur was. Let’s not replace $20 cocktails with $20 jars of honey, please.

  • I had this on my list too, but don’t think I’ll be trying it since I’m busy this week. Oh well. Separately but related, does anybody know the history of this building? Was it an old firehouse? The exterior is great, but the interior seems not to allow enough table density for a profitable restaurant, unless said restaurant charges an arm and a leg.

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