Photo by Rey Lopez
Check out the new menu here: Sotto Dinner Menu (PDF)
From a press release:
“Sotto (1610 14th St NW, Washington DC, DC 20009; www.sottodc.com; (202) 545-3459; @SottoDC) Mindful Restaurant Group’s soulful subterranean restaurant and live music venue situated on Washington DC’s bustling 14th Street is thrilled to announce the debut of its new menus and revamped dining room connecting music with creative cuisine.
Photo by Rey Lopez
Discreetly tucked under Mindful Restaurant Group’s sister restaurant Ghibellina, hidden gem Sotto originally opened in March 2015, and over the last 2 years has become a popular stop on the busy 14th street strip thanks to its sleek and stylish setting, creative cocktail program, and diverse line-up of local musicians. With the launch of the new menu and dining room refresh, Sotto looks forward becoming one of the most sought after spaces to enjoy a vibrant dining experience while listening to live music.
The new menu design was led by Mindful Restaurant Group Chefs Matt Heimbauer and Daniel Hlusak and is broken down into three major categories: Vegetables, Meat, and Seafood. Keeping in tune with the jazz connection, the menu is considered eclectic American in spirit. However, there are major nods to global influences readily apparent in such dishes as Charred Spring Onions with romesco and ximenez vinegar, or Grilled Head-on Prawns with harissa and lemon. The direction for the new menu places a heavy emphasis on smaller creative dishes packed with big flavors. Guests are encouraged to create their own dining experience for the table by mixing and matching menu items from any of the featured categories. Seeking to mirror the harmony and sometimes dissonance of a jazz composition, dishes can complement and ‘chase’ one another following a consistent melody, while at the same time leaving plenty of space for diners to improvise and go off in any number of directions.
“We wanted the food to match the atmosphere,” said Chef Daniel Hlusak of Mindful Restaurant Group. “We wanted it to be a jubilant clamor of plates on the table, and to really elevate the food so that it matches the music and design.”
On the ‘Vegetables’ portion of the menu, dish highlights include the Asparagus and Ricotta Beignets that receive a dusting of pecorino and are placed atop a thin bed of lemon aioli before serving and the Mustard Glazed Cauliflower with dill and creme fraiche. Under the ‘Seafood’ section of the menu guests will find selections such as Grilled Baby Octopus with squid ink adobo and a creamy saffron sauce and Wood Oven Cockles with a smoked potato puree and persillade butter. Ribs are elevated to new heights in the ‘Meats’ section on the menu. The St. Louis Style Pork Ribs are brushed with molasses hot sauce then finished in the pizza oven, creating ribs that are perfectly caramelized, tender, and delicious. Another signature from the ‘Meat’ dishes includes the Lamb Tartare with minted cipollini and chili labneh. Old Sotto favorites such as Beef Brisket, smoked in house, and their Sausage Sampler featuring local favorite Logan’s Sausage, remain on the menu as do a selection of cured meat and cheese boards.
Sotto is also proud to place a focus on local farmers and products on the menu highlighting their relationships with local purveyors such as Earth n’ Eats (PA), Northern Neck Farms (VA), and Three Part Harmony Farm (DC).
Behind the bar, the carefully curated cocktail list continues to shift with the seasons. A new selection of barrel-aged cocktails is also available such as the classic Vieux Carre whose rye, brandy, and Benedictine combine in small barrels to soften the edges, and add new layers of flavor to the cocktail. For guests looking for a truly unique experience, the V.E.P Chartreuse cocktails are one of a kind. V.E.P. (Vieillissement Exceptionnellement Prolongé) Green Chartreuse is a limited release Chartreuse that is aged in oak casks. Enjoy the spirit in the ‘Jewel,’ where the VEP plays off of Hendricks gin, Carpano Antica, and orange bitters.
Along with revamping the menu, Sotto has also given its dining room a slight redesign. The original long communal tables have been replaced with smaller round tables evoking a more classic and intimate jazz club feel. All tables provide a great view of the stage for groups of between 2-4 guests, and the original large cushioned corner booths remain, offering both a great view and comfortable seating for larger groups.
While excited to continue to evolve its food and beverage programs, music remains the heart of Sotto. In fact jazz is in the building’s DNA. The Sotto/Ghibellina address of 1610 14th street was formerly a popular DC jazz club HR-57. With the recent closing of several music venues around the U Street Corridor, Mindful Restaurant Group Founder Ari Gejdenson strongly believes providing an inviting and accessible venue to showcase local musicians is more important now than ever.
“This neighborhood has always had such a strong musical and artistic presence”, said Ari Gejdenson, DC native, and founder of Mindful Restaurant Group. “The rich musical history of 14th street absolutely needs to be preserved. There’s gotta be music here – there just has to be.”
Sotto’s musical lineup ranges in style focusing mainly on jazz, blues, and funk. Guests can experience newcomers at Tuesday’s open-mic night or follow some of Sotto’s regularly scheduled acts, like bassist and singer Nicole Saphos, or DC local afro-blues band The Beat Fairy. Shows typically start at 7:30pm during the week with two performances on Saturday, an early 6:30pm show and a later 10pm show. Monthly lineup calendars can be found online at www.sottodc.com. Performers interested in playing at Sotto are encouraged to contact the venue at [email protected] Sotto is also a proud participant in the upcoming DC Jazz Fest 2017 Jazz in the Hoods presented by Events DC and details on the event can be found online at http://www.dcjazzfest.org/jazz-in-the-hoods.
Sotto accepts reservations which can be made directly from the website www.sottodc.com, or by calling the restaurant. Sotto serves dinner Tuesday- Thursday from 5pm-10:30pm and Friday and Saturday 5pm-11:30pm. Happy Hour is in the bar daily Tuesday-Saturday 5pm-7pm.”