PHOTO: Warm Chocolate Chip Cookie and Dolcezza Gelato's Stracciatella Ice Cream (c) Sery Kim
One of the hardest aspects of moving into a new neighborhood, in my case the phenomenally bustling Navy Yard DC (see generally The Yards here: https://www.theyardsdc.com/), is exploring and finding a favorite restaurant to pass a random evening. After all, the qualities which make any restaurant great -- friendliness, service, awesome food and refreshing drinks plus ambience -- remains a perennial issue for me in any neighborhood let alone my new one. Thankfully, co-owner Mike Friedman and the team behind All Purpose Shaw and Red Hen in D.C.'s historic Bloomingdale neighborhood has created the ideal restaurant in Navy Yard, the recently opened All Purpose Capitol Riverfront.
PHOTO: My trio of cocktails at All Purpose Capitol Riverfront
Located behind Nationals Stadium, along the Potomac River by the Ballpark Boathouse, All Purpose Capitol Riverhouse's views evoke the quaint feel of a boutique European restaurant in Lisbon rather than Italy. Adjacent to an apartment complex, as well as another restaurant, there is a happy sensation in sitting either in the spacious outdoor patio downstairs or the more intimate rooftop just opened Friday, July 13th, for the kick-off to MLB's All-Star baseball weekend in D.C.
Definitely order one of the lovely, but sugary, Italian Water Ice Cocktails ($13). My preference of the two flavors offered is the MARIO rather than the Wario. Made with vodka-lemon ice, with a boozy, cherry float, rather than the tequila-grapefruit of the Wario, my preference just felt refresher and lighter. Unfortunately, the cocktail I tried, the Cut-Four ($10), was poorly made. Rather than the All-Purpose Vodka, Aperol, lemon, honey and summer garnish being refreshing and light, the bartender had squeezed the lemon juice to include the innards of the lemon. Sucking down a bunch of lemon pulp is not my idea of a good drink ... but, throughout the evening, this literally was my sole complaint from All-Purpose's spectacular food and the tremendous service of my waiter Matt.
PHOTO: The amazing Cannellini Bean 'Hummus" (c) Sery Kim
My mouth waters even thinking about the food at All Purpose Capitol Riverfront. I ate the most marvelous blends of flavors, textures and temperatures mixed with eye-popping visuals of colors. Take for the instance the Cannellini Bean 'Hummus' ($6). For six dollars, this dish could easily be considered my favorite appetizer in Washington, D.C. Made with tahini, giardiniera, mint and togarashi, Chef Mike Friedman blended colors and contrasting ingredients for a soaring sensation of happiness. I not only ate this for dinner Thursday night but I ate the leftovers for lunch on Friday and then went back Friday night for more.
PHOTO: Crispy Fried Mozz (c)
The same could be said for the Crispy Fried Mozz ($10). Ideally seasoned, fried and presented, this was also the best fried mozzarella I have had in Washington, D.C. and, again, I ate as much as I could Thursday night before I ate the leftovers for lunch Friday and returned Friday night for a fresh plate -- I am seriously contemplating going back today for more!!
PHOTO: Eggplant Parm 'Jersey-Style'
But of all the starters I ate, from the Spuntini and Antipasti, my favorite was the Eggplant Parm 'Jersey-Style.' The basil and tomato marinara sauce could not have been seasoned better and the temperature of the dish arrived in a heat-soaring haze of melted cheese, baked eggplant as smoothly satisfying as a dish made in Italy.
PHOTO: Garden State pizza and Buona pizza
Of course, one can not dine at a pizzeria and make the ultimate judgment on the worthiness of the food without a taste or two of the pizza. Here, even in this, All Purpose Capitol Riverfront excels in exceeding what the average dinner expects from their food. My personal preference was for the seasonal Garden State pizza rather the most popular flavor the Buono.
PHOTO: Garden State pizza (c) Sery Kim
The Garden State is made with parm fonduta, mozz, roasted corn, Italian sausage, cherry tomato, chives and basil ($19). The fresh roasted corn as well as the fresh cherry tomatos made the pizza feel both alive yet decadent, a rare dichotomy for a pizza. Also, just to be clear I have ZERO issues with the delightful Buona pizza (tomato, mozz, pepperoni, Calabrian chili honey, basil $18), which is essentially a take on the classic pepperoni pizza but with the truffle honey adding some sweetness. It's just, for the moment, of the two, the one with more classic summer vegetables spoke to me.
PHOTO: Buona pizza
Overall just an absolutely fantastic evening at All-Purpose Capitol Riverfront. I can't wait to turn it into my go-to neighborhood restaurant!