Award-winning chef and sommelier Danny Lledó permanently shutters Slate Wine Bar this week to double down on sophisticated Spanish and Mediterranean cuisine in Glover Park.
His nearly decade-old neighborhood institution pours its last glass of wine on Thursday, September 22, to make way for an extension of Xiquet DL, his high-end Valencian showpiece situated upstairs. At just six tables, Michelin-rated Xiquet was outgrowing the demand for its prix-fixe, paella-fueled dinners. The to-be-named, reimagined replacement to Slate is set to open this winter. Menu details and hours will be revealed closer to go time (2404 Wisconsin Avenue NW).
“With D.C. more excited than ever to get out and return to fine dining, and given that Xiquet DL is full with a waiting list for a table almost every night, we just felt that now is the right time for expansion,” says Lledó.
Since 2020, Xiquet and its Slate Wine Bar sibling have operated in tandem in a three-story building along upper Wisconsin Avenue NW, with the casual, intimate wine bar on the ground floor and Xiquet DL comprised of an airy dining room and mezzanine lounge up top. Xiquet received its first Michelin star in April 2021, just a year after debuting during the darkest days of the pandemic.
While Lledó says he’s sad to see Slate go, he’s looking forward to building upon Xiquet’s success with an additional multi-course restaurant. Look for some of the same innovative preparations of high-end ingredients sourced from coastal Spain, “plus some twists and surprises that will make it altogether unique,” he says.
Slate Wine Bar was known for its 200-plus bottle list with flights in categories like “sparkling” and “interesting” reds, plus charcuterie and small plates like Iberian pork shoulder and grilled octopus. The approachable alternative to Xiquet also offered $70 prix-fixe menus with $40 pairings.
Xiquet, which started off a la carte, graduated from seven to now 22 courses. Each extravagant, $220-per-person tasting menu (with a $200 optional wine pairing) highlights the lush landscape and underwater delicacies of Lledó’s native Valencia.
Diners begin with light bites on the middle level of the building and move to the top level to round out the rest of the courses. The dinner ends on the mezzanine level with pastries. Paella de la Duquessa de Denia, or “Duchess of Denia” (the town where Lledó grew up), comes with lobster, prawns, and cuttlefish.
Instead of opening an entirely separate venture in the old Slate space, the new project gives Lledó wiggle room to explore his Spanish roots. Many dishes will draw inspiration from the upstairs menu, but the separate first-floor dining area will have its own branding, atmosphere, and distinct courses with fresh flavors. Plates and ingredients will rotate seasonally.
The changes at Slate mirror other D.C. owners’ recent restaurant transformations, like the openings of Japanese restaurant Nama Ko (formerly Tico) on 14th Street NW and Ghostburger (formerly Espita) in Shaw. Lledó spread his wings out West this summer with a short Las Vegas residency at Le Cirque at Bellagio.
Lledó says Xiquet strives to be “the best, most fun dinner party ever. With the new expansion, we can do even more of what we love.”
—Tierney Plumb contributed to this report