Wooden tables are crafted from old bleachers from Illinois; Abi Weizmann and Gabe Morales ate a lot of canned foods to make tin-can candle holders to light the dining room. Photograph by Andrew Propp.
We’re calling it: 2013 is the year of the sandwich. Just when we finished regaling you with all the latest between-bread happenings in the past few months in our preview of Bub and Pop’s, Oded Weizmann’s the Carving Room opens its doors at 300 Massachusetts Avenue, Northwest, with a whole roster of house-made meats and sides.
Like many good Jewish delis before it, the 55-seat space is a family operation—but unlike at the delis of yore, you’ll find a bar. Place your food order at the front of the eatery, and then belly up to the booze counter or one of the many tables fashioned from old bleacher seats. The brews are all American, from good ol’ Miller Lite to craft finds like Bear Republic Hop Rod Rye, with drafts available by the group-friendly growler (about six beers). A concise wine list reaches further, including Argentinian Malbec and Spanish Albariño. Cocktails include a mix of savory drinks—think house-made pickle backs and Bloody Marys garnished with crispy corned beef—and more fruity libations like vodka with lemon sour and strawberries and a mule with ginger purée. A boon for drinkers: Happy hour runs from 4 to 7 every day of the week.
Getting to the meat of the matter (literally), you’ll find plenty of stomach-padding Jewish and Moroccan delicacies. The Israeli-born Weizmann incorporates familial recipes into the menu, including cold vegetable “dipping salads” such as cumin-scented carrots and roasted eggplant meant for scooping with slices of warm baguette, or rolled pastry cigars stuffed with spiced beef. For heartier helpings of protein, just turn to the sandwiches. House-made corned beef and pastrami star in the “old school” section, with the latter getting a 21-day wet cure in house-made pickling spice before a three-hour braise and steam-to-order delivery. That’ll be available again in March; the kitchen is currently out due to the lengthy process and high demand. In the meantime, nine-day-cured pastrami rubbed with black pepper and coriander can do the trick. Less traditional sandwiches include freshly roasted lamb with pickled cucumbers and lemony yogurt, roast beef on wheat with horseradish sauce, and a three-cheese melt of fontina, cheddar, and Gruyère for the veggie crowd—though you can always add any of the house meats back on. All arrive with sides like egg salad, red vinegar slaw, or “Momma Zohra’s” potato salad studded with pickled veggies, Weizmann’s ode to Mom. Can’t decide? Pick any of the three meats for a carving board, accompanied by warm Lyon bakery rye and condiments such as bacon-onion compote.
Once the restaurant is up and running, look for new elements such as all the meats, sides, and loaves of Lyon Bakery bread to go. Warmer weather will bring a 40-seat outdoor patio, which may coincide with the start of brunch. On the horizon: more Bloodys, plus egg sandwiches.
Carving Room Kitchen & Bar. 300 Massachusetts Ave., NW; 202-525-2116. Open daily 11 AM to midnight.