The Darcy Hotel is introducing a globe-trotting new restaurant today, nearly a a year after Michelin-starred Siren left the space in Scott Circle.
Gerrard Street Kitchen opens with a menu that puts chicken tajine next to Beef Wellington and features tacos made with Indian flatbread. Executive chef Jaime Velasquez, a longtime presence in D.C. and an alum of Michel Richard’s famed Citronelle, is steering the hotel restaurant.
The name comes from a street in London’s West End neighborhood, where diners can find restaurants representing cuisine from all over world. That spirit influenced dishes that highlight British and Indian favorites while simultaneously pulling from Japan, Morocco, and South Asia.
Breakfast includes savory dishes like masala scrambled egg whites with baby spinach and puri or sweeter options like creamy açaí bowls. Bar bites includes paratha tacos stuffed with Indian-spiced beef short ribs and topped with pickled onions and tzatziki.
Diners can snack on double-cooked Korean crispy chicken wings, calamari, and baked oysters dressed up with Japanese mayo, panko, and bonito flakes. That trio comes in custom-made tiffin boxes, a container often used as a lunchbox in India.
“The bonito flakes will give that smokiness that you will not expect in an oyster,” Velasquez says.
Another dish with an eye-catching presentation is the robota lamb mishkaki, an East African dish of lamb and beef skewers that Gerrard Street Kitchen grills over Japanese coal and serves with naan and raita.
Mains include everything from ramen to bibimbap hamachi to Maryland-style crab cakes.
“There’s a lot of diversity here,” Velasquez says of the menu. “I think we are fortunate that we have a great staff in the kitchen, and we have trained and trained and trained until we feel that we are doing a good homage to all these different types of cuisine. It’s not easy but I think we are ready.
Pastry chef Marionela Tirsin is picking up on those European and international flavors with sweets like a tart with yuzu mousse and blueberry cream, an apple tarte tatin with brown butter ice cream, and a duo creme brûlée with vanilla and chocolate (a tribute to a beloved dessert at Citronelle).
Siren, Robert Wiedmaier’s Michelin-starred seafood restaurant Siren, moved out last January in search of a location that’s not in a hotel. Lil’B, the Southern cafe from chef David Guas, also left the property. Australian coffee chain Bluestone Lane replaced it.
Atlanta’s BLUR Workshop gave the 2,700-square foot space a light and bright makeover that takes design cues from early 20th century London. Traces of Siren remaining in the new restaurant’s imposing raw bar and seafood towers.
Velasquez has worked in D.C. for more than 35 years. His background is rooted in French cooking, starting with his work as an apprentice at Alain Ducasse’s restaurant in Paris and continuing at Citronelle in Georgetown.
An attention to detail is what Velasquez took away from three years of working with Richard.
“For him it was crispiness, freshness, quality product,” Velasquez says, “and that’s the sort of stuff I take it to heart.”
Dinner will be served at Gerrard Street Kitchen from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., with lunch served from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., and breakfast served from 6:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Monday through Friday. On the weekends, brunch served from 7 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. The restaurant’s lounge is open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on the weekends, and until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.
The Mandarin Oriental in Southwest also recently went the global bistro route to fill in for a successful predecessor. Amity & Commerce opened in the former CityZen earlier this month.