Junction Bakery & Bistro will re-introduce dinner service this week under the direction of new savory chef James Duke, handing the former chef de cuisine at the Salt Line the keys to a sprawling kitchen in Del Ray that consistently draws notice for turning simple dishes into standouts with its baked goods and breads.
Duke’s dinner menu, which will be available starting Thursday, February 7, will stick to American comfort foods with a few detours through Asia. The chef is introducing a Thai street noodle soup that features his own red curry paste along with shredded chicken, coconut, Kaffir lime, and a host of garnishes.
A hot fried chicken sandwich on a cheddar chive biscuit comes with aged honey and a smoked gochujang Louisville fire sauce — similar to Nashville style but named for Duke’s family in Kentucky — along with Dill pickles brined in-house. A lobster roll on brioche will have a hint of lemongrass and garlic in its butter sauce. Some standbys remain, like former chef Nathan Hatfield’s General Tso’s cauliflower and turkey banh mi.
Here’s a look at the full dinner menu:
Junction Dinner Menu by on Scribd
Duke, who also cooked at 1789 in Georgetown and has worked for Neighborhood Restaurant Group and Great American Restaurants, says he was drawn to Junction because he saw “untapped potential” to expand the menu, and he loved the idea of working with an “outstanding” bread program. “It’s just a great tool to have it at my disposal,” he says.
To complement a $5 bread basket at dinner, Duke is churning his own butter and will infuse it with a rotating selection of flavors (garlic, vadouvan, miso, yellow curry). Junction has also started producing its own hot sauce and mumbo sauce to sell at the grab-and-go counter.
Duke is introducing two straight-forward options for family-style dishes that will be offered to-go or through Uber Eats. A whole roasted chicken with a salad, fingerling potatoes, and a selection of sauces costs $21. A boneless short rib pot roast, which Duke says is similar to a beef bourguignon, comes with a salad and feeds two to three people for $25. The idea is to take the large-format style that’s trendy in D.C. and present it to people who want to eat dinner in front of the TV.
“One of the things I really want to stress with this is really the importance of value,” Duke says.
Junction Bistro & Bakery opened in the summer of 2016, and Washingtonian named it one of the 10 best new restaurants of the year. The restaurant experimented with a full-service dinner at the beginning, but owner Noe Landini says that was a little too formal for guests. Dinner will now be served from a counter.
Landini will expand the business this fall with locations in Capitol Hill and Chevy Chase, Maryland, Eater has confirmed. Northern Virginia Magazine first reported about the expansions this week.
Dinner at Junction Bakery & Bistro (1508 Mount Vernon Avenue, Alexandria, Virginia) will be served every day from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.