A new restaurant specializing in Spanish paella cooked over an open fire will open on the top floor of Slate Wine Bar + Bistro later this year. The hub for oenophiles in Glover Park will close for renovations in July and is expected to re-open in August with a second venue, dubbed Xiquet, on the second story.
Slate chef-partner Danny Lledó, a native of the Spanish port city of Dénia, is driving the transition, which will also include an updated menu of small plates for the wine bar and the addition of a space for cocktails and fortified wines fit for sipping before and after long meals.
A representative for Slate Wine Bar + Bistro confirmed the news, which Washington City Paper reported yesterday.
Besides having paella-making in his blood — Dénia is just south of Valencia, the dish’s birthplace — Lledó has proven his expertise at several competitions. He’s taken first place at six paella festivals, including one in D.C. this May and five others around California in the past three years. Lledó will compete at an international paella festival in the coastal city of Gandia, Spain, in June.
At Xiquet (chee-KETT), Lledó will make four to six types of the difficult-to-perfect rice dish, which is typically tinged with saffron and various options for meat and seafood. According to WCP, the chef is installing a wood-fired paella pit and two smokers. Xiquet will also serve suckling pig, steaks, and seafood.
From June 12 to July 3, Lledó is running the following paellas as specials on Wednesdays at Slate:
- Garden paella: asparagus, cauliflower, runner and lima beans, senia rice ($22);
- Valencian paella: chicken, rabbit, runner and lima beans, bomba rice ($25);
- Alicante seafood paella: red prawn, shrimp, cuttlefish and littleneck clams, senia rice ($32)
- Fideua de Gandia paella: red prawn, crawfish, monkfish, & cuttlefish, fideo (noodles) ($32)
- Hunter’s paella: duck, foie gras, wild mushrooms, cauliflower and asparagus ($32)
Paella orders have to be made with reservations because portions are limited and the painstaking pan of rice takes 25-30 minutes to cook. Certain bottles of wine will be half-priced on those nights.
In addition to the renovations, Lledó has recruited some new talent to help raise the bar after the makeover. Didier Fertilati, who has worked as maître d’ and manger at two European restaurants that currently hold three stars in the Michelin guide, will be Lledó’s head consultant at Slate and Xiquet. Ferilati spent 12 years at Quique Dacosta in Dénia and five at The Fat Duck in Berkshire, England. Sommelier Rachael Buehrer started as general manager in April.
D.C.’s Spanish food scene is already rich, which is reflected on Lledó’s resume. He’s worked for José Andrés’s ThinkFoodGroup and Taberna del Alabarder.