Remember Tasting Room? King Street’s brick-framed standby that originally opened in 2009 under restaurateur Robert Wiedmaier’s watch hasn’t seated any guests since the pandemic started.
On Tuesday, October 4, the 2,500-square-foot space finally resurfaces at the foot of the 107-room Lorien Hotel & Spa (1602 King Street, Alexandria, Virginia) with a new clean-cut look and menu full of decadent toasts, flatbreads, and skillet dishes.
Tasting Room reopens with small plates like hearth-baked goat cheese with spicy tomato pesto alongside a warm baguette and skillet cornbread dressed with jalapeno honey butter. Mains include Moroccan flatbread flanked with merguez sausage, olives, and cheese and wood-oven salmon with green beans in an amaretto-almond vinaigrette.
Newly named executive chef Fredy Garciaguirre also runs the kitchen at next-door Brabo Restaurant, a European-styled brasserie that never took a pandemic hiatus like Tasting Room did. (Wiedmaier hasn’t been affiliated with either for years.)
Garciaguirre, a local Washingtonian with strong Salvadoran roots, ditched a degree in medical coding to pursue his childhood passion for cooking in his 20s. He’s worked under D.C. chefs like Ed Lee at Succotash and chef Ethan Mckee at Urbana in the Palomar Hotel.
A refreshed bar framed in slick white subway tiles sends out cocktails like a Sweet Old Town (rum, pineapple juice, vanilla syrup and lime juice) and the Line of the Rose (Four Roses bourbon, earl grey simple syrup, Pimms No. 1, lemon juice, and angostura bitters).
Tasting Room will continue to maintain its neighborhood identity as a casual, come-as-you-are counterpart to Brabo.
“A place where you can wear your Friday finest or kick back in blue jeans and high-tops,” says the hotel’s general manager Phillip Blane.
Hours are Sunday to Thursday, 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.; and Friday and Saturday from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.