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“Mike Isabella announces Arroz, a Southern Spanish and Tangier-inspired restaurant to open in the Marriott Marquis”

by Prince Of Petworth July 11, 2016 at 10:20 am 6 Comments

10th and Massachusetts Ave, NW

Ed. Note: This was once the planned space for Mercadito.

From a press release:

“Washington, D.C. chef and restaurateur Mike Isabella announces Arroz, a Southern Spanish and Tangier-inspired restaurant to open in the Marriott Marquis Washington, D.C in the Mount Vernon Square neighborhood in early 2017. Located at 901 Massachusetts Ave NW, Arroz will be open for lunch and dinner seven days a week, as well as weekend brunch, and will focus on the cuisines of Valencia, Andalusia and Portugal, incorporating dishes from Tangier along with other North African influences. Arroz is also one of the 10-concepts planned for Isabella Eatery opening in Tysons Galleria later in 2017.

“My favorite thing about dining in Spain is the incredible variety of the cuisine,” Isabella said. “Spaniards have strong regional identity and it shows in their food culture. You can enjoy paella in Valencia, then drive down the coast a bit and experience completely different flavors and ingredients. Not many U.S. restaurateurs focus on Southern Spain, Northern Africa, and Portugal. Those regions of the world heavily influence each other’s art, architecture and food, and those unique flavors are exactly what we are aiming to capture at Arroz.”

On the Menu

Arroz is Spanish for rice, and as might be expected from the name, Valencian rice dishes like paella and soupy rice will have a prominent place on the menu alongside fideos and regional tapas. Also present throughout the Southern Spanish menu are elements and techniques often seen in the cuisines of Portugal and Morocco, most notably the northern city of Tangier, including bastilla, argan oil, and tempero cookery. Vegetable and seafood tagines and family-style dishes native to the Canary Islands show off Arroz’s diversity of influences.

Some of the more familiar Spanish tapas – pan con tomate, gambas al ajillo, patatas bravas – appear on the menu in a reimagined form, while selections of montaditos, bocadillos and croquetas bring a playful touch to the small-plate style of eating. Other sections dedicated to egg-based dishes and large-format items round out the dining experience.

In Your Glass

Naturally, the beverage menu will lean heavily Spanish and Portuguese with plenty of Iberian wine, including a number from the Toro, Rueda and Ribera del Duero regions, favorites of Mike Isabella Concepts beverage director Taha Ismail. Cocktails will include several varieties of sangria, as well as gin and exclusively Spanish-made tonics. Ismail, who was born in Casablanca, will ensure that the beverage list echoes the menu’s North African influences by drawing on the flavors of his childhood. A large sherry and port list will explore interesting Spanish and Portuguese vintages of both.

The Design

Natalie Park Design Studio is behind the look and feel of Arroz, which offers a contemporary interpretation of Moroccan and Spanish architecture, motifs and colors. The 246-seat space includes 124 seats in the dining room, a private dining area for 12, bar seating for 18 with additional high-top tables and a plush lounge that seats 30, as well as a 62-seat terrace. A mix of both lounge and dining seating, the terrace is outfitted with fire pits, lush greenery and an open trellis with Tivoli lighting.”

  • Philippe Lecheval

    This is great news. Southern Spanish cuisine is so good, much better than the more trendy and vastly overrated Basque region, in my opinion.

    • JohnH

      And I’m sure most DC residents and tourists/conventioneers staying at the Marquis are well aware! haha
      Maybe I’m in the minority, but the only time I’ve ate in hotel restaurants is when forced to or when I’m somewhere outside of my comfort zone (i.e. in China by myself for 1 night, exhausted). I know there are some acclaimed ones in DC, but I rarely go to a hotel to eat dinner in my own city. Too stiff/cold feeling.

      • Kingman Park

        Hotel spots are always overpriced too. Granted they are higher end, generally. But I can’t justify spending all that money just so I can poop it out the next day :P

      • Philippe Lecheval

        I agree. It’s been my experience that about 90% of hotel restaurants are both extremely overpriced and range from mediocre to really bad. Occasionally there are exceptions.

      • Kevin

        Dang, you don’t even like the Hamilton. I book at the Marquis sometimes just because (live in SE) and it’s always a great experience.

      • Cleveland Park runner

        Eh, there are some really good options in DC. Blue Duck Tavern at the Hyatt is beyond, and Art & Soul in the Liaison is quite good. I look forward to trying Isabella’s new venture (though given how widely his offerings diverge, I’ll lower my hopes somewhat).


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