Trick or Treating with the Neighbors: The Neighborhood Restaurant Group

Written by Anita
October 15, 2009

Photos courtesy of Pfau Communications

Some restaurants are like good neighbors—reliable, friendly, and fun. The restaurants and purveyors of the Neighborhood Restaurant Group (Tallula, EatBar, Vermilion, Rustico, Buzz Bakery, Evening Star Café, Columbia Firehouse, Planet Wine, and Red Apron Butchery) serve the metro area with locations in Arlington, Alexandria, and (soon) DC. Last weekend, we checked out the Group’s “Oktobeerfest” block party (co-hosted with DC Central Kitchen and featured on GregsListDC.). The gathering featured German-themed food from several of the Group’s restaurants, over 26 seasonal beers, live music, kids’ activities, and raffles. Sure, we enjoyed the brats and beer, but we especially loved Buzz Bakery’s moist pumpkin cupcakes with crunchy candied pepitas and creamy frosting (available through October, along with other seasonal flavors like caramel apple and Guinness.) We also recently sampled some of executive chef Barry Koslow’s new fall menu items. Since taking over the helm at Tallula and its next-door gastropub, EatBar, chef Koslow has created several tasty dishes that have us wanting to drop by this neighborhood more often! Our favorite at Tallula was the pacific halibut—a buttery, moist (almost creamy) fish, crusted with a dense layer of lentils and applewood smoked bacon, and dressed in a mildly spicy but flavorful curry cider reduction. To complement the new menu, Tallula will be offering six specially designed monthly wine flights (three wines each). At EatBar, you won’t want to miss chef Koslow’s smoky, tender charred Spanish octopus with chickpeas, sundried tomatoes, purple pearl onions, and sherry vinaigrette. This dish will have even cephalopod-skeptics begging for more! Want to get into the Halloween spirit? Tallula is dishing up special holiday plates of calf brains meuniere and pumpkin soup with toasted pumpkin seeds, curry oil, and crème fraiche this month, and EatBar is hosting a special screening of the Rocky Horror Picture Show with a Halloween costume contest on the 31st (this is in addition to their weekly Sunday night movie events featured on GregsListDC). Other places to celebrate Halloween in the “Neighborhood” include Rustico’s OctoberSlam (come dressed as your favorite wrestler!) and Vermilion’s Alice in Wonderland-themed Halloween party. And starting today, Buzz Bakery will be offering an array of Halloween-themed treats sure to liven up any party, including designer ghoul and goblin cupcakes, housemade Marshmallow ghosts, and DIY Halloween cookie kits (complete with cookies, frosting, and sprinkles). Want more? Then watch this space for information on the newest kids on the block—Birch & Barley and Churchkey. We’ll be welcoming them to the Neighborhood Restaurant Group later this month.
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