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Driftwood Kitchen opening soon on H Street – PoPville Preview

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4th and H Street, NE

Remember TruOrleans? Well forget about it. The space has been completely transformed and will become Driftwood Kitchen very soon. And the transformation is more than cosmetic. First of all the new general manager, Eric Tollar, understands the history of the space and intends to be a true neighbor rather than just a restaurant. The owners are the same folks behind Darna in Arlington. Tollar explains that Darna means “our home” in Arabic and that is exactly the feeling he intends Driftwood to have. Tollar and lots of folks working at the restaurant live right in the neighborhood too. But enough about the past.

The future – Driftwood is a modern American restaurant with Middle Eastern profiles. And those profiles are shaped by spices (over one hundred). Get ready for zatar bacon. I’m happy to say I took a taste of some of the offerings – and it was the real deal. Everyone knows I’m not a food blogger so I’ll let the experts go into more details – but the duck breast I tried was just ridiculously good (they will be offering 6 entries of that caliber that will change seasonally). Speaking of ridiculously good – everything here is made fresh (not frozen – they’ll be using much of the freezer space for flavored ice cubes but more on that in a bit.) But speaking of frozen, and this is made fresh daily too, the ice cream. Oh the ice cream. Delicious. (photos after the jump.)

While brunch will come eventually, plans are to open soon for dinner service that will be served everyday from 4pm-11pm. But there will also be late night bar snacks (caramel cayene popcorn – made fresh daily of course) and possibly a late menu as well. And that leads us to the second component. The bar. There are two actually – one upstairs and one downstairs (though dinner is served in both spots). The one upstairs will focus on beer and a barrel aged whiskey cocktail program. But you can get a can beer too. There will be a daily happy hour from 4-7pm. The downstairs bar will focus on cocktails that feature hand made sodas – mint hibiscus, ginger beer, root beer and lots more. This is a serious passion of Tollar’s. Oh yeah, those fresh made ice creams – expect some floats too.

But the more important feeling I was left with was not only how passionately Tollar and the others talked about the space – but their flexibility. The space will accommodate what the neighborhood wants. Like I said, forget about TruOrleans – get ready for something totally different. Standby for an opening date.

And say good bye to the ironwork, it’s being removed and replaced with steel:

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Upstairs seating:

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My favorite detail:

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Lots more photos after the jump.

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upstairs seating

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lots of spices

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pork tenderloin

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duck breast – ed. note: ridiculously freaking delicous

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homemade ice creams – Pumpkin spice, praline and lemon fennel – ed. note: praline – especially ridiculously freaking delicious

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Chef James Duke

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Duke left and GM/Beverage Manager/Bartender Eric Tollar right

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