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Inside Irregardless, an Ambitious American Tasting Room for H Street NE

Mintwood Place alum Ben Browning pairs six-course menus with Virginia wines starting Tuesday, September 13

Irregardless brings seasonal vegetables and local spirits to H Street NE.
Jen Chase/Jennifer Chase Photography
Tierney Plumb is the editor of Eater DC, covering all things food and drink around the nation's capital.

The old home of French-themed Le Grenier gets a new life this week as Irregardless, a modern American bistro with a devotion to peak Mid-Atlantic produce, homemade pastas, and Virginia wines.

The two-story project (502 H Street NE), opening for dinner service on Tuesday, September 13, centers around six-course tasting menus from executive chef Ben Browning ($85 per person). An a la carte menu is also available at the 12-seat bar. Browning was most recently at the helm of Mintwood Place, the acclaimed Adams Morgan brasserie that closed last month after a 10-year run, and at Maydan and Reveler’s Hour before that.

First-time restaurant owners and couple Mika and Ian Carlin live in the Northeast neighborhood and double as resident sommeliers at Irregardless. The wine list showcases the same revered vineyards they grew to love while attending law school at the University of Virginia. Two optional pairings, one of which exclusively focuses on Virginia wine and spirits, runs $60 per person.

Irregardless’s opening team includes bar manager Christine Cabutuan; co-managers Ian and Mika Carlin; and executive chef Ben Browning.
Jen Chase/Jennifer Chase Photography

Seasonal prix-fixe menus, with a choice of three desserts, kick off with courses that capture the tail end of tomato season (think: gnocchi panzanella with cucumber, tomato, and basil and heirloom tomato galette with ricotta). Browning’s pasta-making skills shine in a vegetarian interpretation of the Roman classic cacio e peas (homemade pappardelle, pecorino, and snap peas). Ricotta-filled raviolo topped with foie butter and chives nods to the chef’s Parisian upbringing.

The 51-seat newcomer fills a vino void on the strip when go-to natural wine bar Dio closed in 2020. Nearby favorite Pursuit Wine Bar & Kitchen offers date-night and noodle competition.

“Our industry has been hit hard over the past two and a half years, but we remain committed to and inspired by our colleagues in the independent restaurant community,” says Ian Carlin.

Heartier courses include shrimp and grits swimming in piperade (Basque stew) and kabocha squash with couscous and date syrup.
Jen Chase/Jennifer Chase Photography

Irregardless opens as more D.C. restaurants like Michele’s, Duck and the Peach, and Seven Reasons tack on their own tasting menus as of late. The $85-per-person price tag is on par with other options around town.

A bright bowl of crudo at Irregardless.
Jen Chase/Jennifer Chase Photography
Gazpacho, served as an amuse bouche, celebrates peak tomato time in September.
Jen Chase/Jennifer Chase Photography
The two-story rowhouse got a midcentury modern redesign from HapstakDemetriou+ with pendant lighting, dangling greenery, and red banquettes.
Jen Chase/Jennifer Chase Photography
Select dishes from the tasting menu are available a la carte at the 12-seat bar, with plans to debut nightly specials and an expanded menu in the coming weeks.
Jen Chase/Jennifer Chase Photography

Opening cocktails from bar manager Christine Cabatuan include “Matcha Do About Nothing” — an alternative to an espresso martini with vodka, elderflower, and matcha jolt. “Once Upon a Time in Hawaii” riffs on a Negroni with pineapple-infused mezcal. Other drinks for fall include a “Capri Fitz” (tomato gin, basil, cream, salt, and egg white) and apple-and-cinnamon “The Local” spiked with Ivy City’s Catoctin Creek gin and Don Ciccio & Figli Cinque Aperitivo.

Le Grenier’s vintage Coca-Cola mural lives on at Irregardless.
Jen Chase/Jennifer Chase Photography
A by-the-glass and bottle list includes lots of independent and sustainable producers.
Jen Chase/Jennifer Chase Photography

The rehabbed space features a pair of seasonal patios: one on the upper terrace and another on the ground floor reserved for pop-up dinners. Irregardless is open for dinner service Tuesday through Saturday from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Reservations are available via Tock and a limited number of tables are available for walk-ins.

The opening cocktail list at Irregardless includes riffs on classics and a matcha-fueled alternative to an espresso martini (right).
Jen Chase/Jennifer Chase Photography