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Bar Rouge Relaunches as a Neighborhood Wine Bar

by Prince Of Petworth June 21, 2011 at 12:30 pm 20 Comments


Photo courtesy of Bar Rouge

From a press release:

Nearly a decade after first opening its doors in the District, Kimpton’s Bar Rouge is proud to introduce a new menu and design. Located at 1315 16th Street, N.W. adjacent to Hotel Rouge, the longtime fixture on the hotel lounge scene will re-launch as a neighborhood wine bar offering a global wine list, seasonal American small plates, and handcrafted cocktails.

The wine menu features a tailored list of 50 wines from around the world, handpicked by Kimpton’s Master Sommelier Emily Wines and Bar Rouge’s Manager/Mixologist Rico Wisner, formerly of Poste Moderne Brasserie. These selections will be offered in three pour sizes, with all standard pours under $10. “Our goal is to offer wines that are hot yet approachable, and that over-deliver on value,” says Wisner. Examples include the Paco & Lola Albarino and the Mas Guiot Rosé, as well as a selection of Wisner’s favorite “local and funky” wines, such as the Keswick Verdejo from Charlottesville, VA and the Vint Hall Cabernet Franc from Northern Virginia. The bar will also offer a diverse menu of craft and local beers, such as Heavy Seas Dubbel Cannon IPA from Baltimore, and Port City Optima Wit from Alexandria, VA.

Wisner will augment the wine list with a new batch of the handcrafted libations that gained him a loyal following while bar supervisor at Poste. Most of the specialty cocktails will feature a wine base, and make use of fresh ingredients harvested from the organic rooftop herb garden Wisner maintains at the hotel. Signature cocktails include the Sakerinha, made with sake, sugar, pineapple and basil; the San Juan Sizzle, with Bacardi 8, Domaine de Canton, Cockburn Ruby Port and soda; and the Taurus 38 Special, made with Novo Fogo Silver organic Cachaca, lemon juice, Prosecco, and blueberry and sage syrup. Cocktails are priced from $7 to $11.

To develop the menu at Bar Rouge, Kimpton tapped Executive Chef Thomas Dunklin of the B&O American Brasserie in Baltimore – just named Maryland’s Best New Restaurant by the Restaurant Association of Maryland. Chef Dunklin’s bar menu features an expansive selection of shareable American small plates, ideal for pairing with a glass of wine or a cocktail. Guests can choose from a broad selection of fish, meat or vegetarian dishes in small or entrée portion sizes, or opt for plates of charcuterie, artisanal cheeses and sweets.

Small plates include Roasted Beet Carpaccio served with Goat Cheese, Pistachios and Creamy Mustard; Lamb Meatballs in a Roasted Red Pepper Puree with Sweet Peas and Feta; Hamachi Crudo with preserved lemon and green olives; and Bacon Wrapped Oysters with Sweet Pickle Aioli. Entrees include Slow Cooked Pork Ribs with a Pineapple Glaze and Spicy Cabbage Slaw; Seared Rockfish served over a Polenta Cake with Chard and Citrus Butter; and a classic Bistro Steak with Garlic Smashed Potatoes, Asparagus and Olive Butter. Small plates and snacks range from $4 to $12, and entrée size portions range from $12 to $20.

Bar Rouge is located at 1315 16th Street, N.W. The lounge is open from 5:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. for dinner daily, and from 5:00 p.m. to close for drinks.

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