Ask Chef Dick Jones what makes him proud about his new Glover Park restaurant, Arcuri, and he'll tell you it's the dough.
Jones put together a three day process that starts with an Italian-style pre-fermentation, known as "poolish," followed by a 12-15 hour fermentation period. Then, the dough sits overnight, before its kneaded, prepared and cooked alongside woodfire coals. The resulting pizza is thin and crispy with an airy crust.
When Arcuri opens on Wednesday for its initial soft opening, the restaurant plans to offer about a dozen wood-fired pizzas with toppings that are slightly different than your typical pizzeria. Guanciale, an Italian pork cheek, is served with chili oil and tomato, mixing spicy and succulent. A Gorgonzola cheese pizza is topped with speck, green apple and balsamic dressing. There's also traditional Italian pastas, like risotto and pappardelle, plus a few Italian twists on seafood standards, like raw oysters with a side of limoncello granita or soft-shell crabs served with pasta and beans.
Most of Jones cooking techniques are coming from his last gig in New York. He spent about a year and a half inside Chef Andrew Carmellini's kitchen at Locanda Verde. "As a cook, that's why you go to New York," Jones said. "You need to learn from the best."
The 20-seat bar spans one side of the restaurant and focuses on Italian drinks and cocktails. There's prosecco on tap, along with separate tap lines for rotating red and white wines. And there's a D.C. take on a negroni, served with Green Hat gin, Aperol and sweet vermouth. In nicer weather, its easy to imagine sitting in one of the 16 seats patio seats out front while ordering a frozen Limoncello slushy.
The owners say if all goes accordingly, Arcuri's soft opening will last for about a week and a half, then the restaurant and its full menu will start June 22nd.
There's also plans for happy hour and late night menus. Happy hour will run from 3-7 p.m. weekdays with $2 off draft beers. The bar is considering other weekly specials, like a half-off wine bottle night. And, the kitchen plans to offer a late night menu with items like pork rinds and sliders — a likely appeal to the neighborhood's after hours crowd. Status: Soft opening tomorrow. 2400 Wisconsin Ave. NW ; website.
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