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Rasika Restaurateur Ashok Bajaj Is Opening a Modern Mediterranean Spot in Penn Quarter - Source Washingtonian

Posted on Dec 12,2018
Filed Under Restaurants , Local Tastes,

Source Washingtonian


WASHINGTON, DC. - The new year will mean a new Penn Quarter restaurant for Ashok Bajaj’s empire. Nopa, his five year-old American brasserie, will shutter on January 1 for a full concept and design revamp. The space will reopen on January 10 as Olivia, a lush modern Mediterranean spot helmed by longtime Nopa head chef Matt Kuhn.

“I wanted more of an identity to the restaurant,” says Bajaj, who’s been planning the new theme for over a year.

The transformation is tangential to Bajaj’s recent reconfiguration of Ardeo+Bardeo into the Israeli-themed Sababa in Cleveland Park. At Olivia, the kitchen will turn toward the western Mediterranean for inspiration, drawing from Portugal, Spain, Morocco, Greece, and Tunisia. Dishes are designed to be shared—from smaller portions of dips with homemade breads to platter-size whole roasted branzino. That said, the split-adverse could commandeer one of the many meat, fish, or vegetable plates as an entree (think a lamb burger with manchego and zhug, or Portuguese-style seafood stew).

Kuhn, an alum of Fig in Charleston, adds his own modern touch throughout, whether it’s dill-cucumber tzatziki topped with briny pops of trout roe; warm burrata smothered in zhug and crispy crumbs; or or chickpea tagliatelle with mushroom “bolognese.” (Bajaj eats largely vegetarian, so like at his other restaurants, meatless options are plentiful.) Prices start at $5 for snacks and generally run up to $28 for platters.

Source Washingtonian

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