5 Must-Try Dishes at Honeysuckle

Those who mourn the closing of the longtime and much-loved Vidalia can take comfort in knowing that the space has been taken over by chef Hamilton Johnson, who worked at Vidalia under chef-owner Jeffrey Buben for seven years. You could loosely classify his food at Honeysuckle as a modern take on Southern cuisine, as filtered through his South Carolina upbringing, but the chef says, “I wouldn’t say it’s Nordic. I wouldn’t say it’s Southern. It’s just me — it’s what I want to eat.” He also hopes it makes you feel good. Here are five dishes that made us feel pretty darn good during a recent meal there: Lamb tartare For this dish, Johnson blends chopped Shenandoah lamb loin with smoked mayo, pickled porcini mushrooms and vadouvan, a French version of curry spices. The kitchen infuses the mayonnaise with applewood smoke and uses a house pickling liquid on the mushrooms.…

New HoneySuckle Restaurant Brings Nordic Flair to Southern Food

Chef Hamilton Johnson of HoneySuckle makes his version of oyster stew. Joined by Sous Chef Megan Henley, Hamilton talks about his Southern upbringing and how he blends Southern food with Nordic cuisine.   http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/New-HoneySuckle-Restaurant-Brings-Nordic-Flair-to-Southern-Food_Washington-DC-414507953.html

First Look and Taste Test: Honeysuckle

Photos By Nicholas Karlin, Words By Brandon Wetherbee Best for: special occasions, couples that enjoy sweetbreads and each other Chef Hamilton Johnson is ready for HoneySuckle. The concept of the new restaurant in the old Vidalia space is simple: low country ingredients and highbrow techniques. His first menu is delivering just that. Chef Johnson’s dishes are ideal for sharing. He’s liberal with indulgence. The food and setting makes HoneySuckle a date night destination. The large space has a few separate rooms. The red Bowie room and golden Davis rooms feel like warmer space for couples. The bigger space with bananas on Freddie Mercury’s head is made for groups. An elevated chef’s table in the middle of the space puts diners on display. The large bar would be great for happy hour. Too bad there’s not a happy hour. We keep saying Chef Johnson’s menu and restaurant is good for dates.…

15 Exciting New Restaurants to Try This Week

Looking for an awesome restaurant recommendation? No matter the occasion, price point or neighborhood, the DINE app has you covered. You can download it here. New York Otway Samantha Safer and Claire Welle, two-thirds of industry favorite Tilda All Day's founding team, are back in the saddle with Otway. Though the space still looks like Tilda, the restaurant's focus has shifted from all day to dinner, featuring a menu of larger plates like squab with mincemeat and perch in beurre blanc. The team hasn't entirely forsaken snacks, of course—there's crispy fried tripe and thick, house-made crackers to munch on. Frankies Brooklyn's beloved casual Italian spot's newest location is now up and running in an unlikely place, a sprawling Whole Foods across from Bryant Park. While there are about a dozen seats at the bar, those eating in the market's general seating area can also order from Frankies. It's not quite…

Honeysuckle Opens Downtown With Icelandic Flare To Its Southern Menu

Honeysuckle takes over the former Vidalia space with a finer-dining modern menu and a rock edge. Photography by Evy Mages Many signs point to Honeysuckle as a Southern restaurant. Chef/owner Hamilton Johnson launched his career in Charleston, South Carolina at Maverick Southern Kitchens before heading to DC. He cooked at Vidalia for seven years, becoming chef de cuisine under Jeff Buben. When the stalwart Southern eatery closed late last year after nearly 25 years, Johnson took over the Dupont Circle space, and put another sweet-sounding name above the door. It opens for dinner Tuesday night. So what is rúgbrauð (a.k.a. Icelandic “thunder bread”) doing on the menu? “I’m all about surprising textures and flavors,” says Johnson. It turns out Honeysuckle is a lot less conventional—and Southern—than the name suggests. Its edge becomes apparent as you walk into the subterranean dining room, hung with portraits of music legends (David Bowie, Lou…

Inside Honeysuckle, Downtown’s Southern-Inspired Spot With Sex Appeal

With David Bowie and Freddie Mercury looking on, a psychedelic ceiling, and oriental carpets, Honeysuckle is a refreshing addition to D.C.’s central business district. The new Southern-style restaurant debuts in the recently-shuttered Vidalia space today at 1990 M St. NW. Chef Hamilton Johnson, a South Carolina native and former chef de cuisine at Vidalia, now runs the show and plans to pair Charleston-inspired fare with Nordic cooking techniques. As far as the vibe, designer Ron Saleh drew inspiration from Johnson’s tattoos and music tastes to orchestrate the redesign. Upon entering, guests are greeted by a gold framed portrait of Johnson holding a pig. Reclaimed wood from one of South Carolina’s oldest community farms was used to create a communal table, hovering over an antique rug from a Belgian castle. Another exotic accent: pendant lights constructed out of repurposed fishing baskets from Thailand. Each nook tells a story, like a red…

This new restaurant is serving up an unlikely combination: Nordic and Southern cuisine

To most people, Southern and Nordic food may not seem like the most obvious bedfellows. At least in that respect, Hamilton Johnson is not most people. On Tuesday, Johnson will debut this unconventional combination of cuisines at Honeysuckle, his first solo restaurant and a concept he tested as a pop-up at Prequel in Penn Quarter. Honeysuckle takes over the subterranean space near Dupont Circle that was occupied for more than 20 years by Jeff Buben's Vidalia, where Johnson spent eight years as chef de cuisine. [After more than two decades in Washington, Vidalia is closing] Johnson grew up in South Carolina and spent years cooking Southern food professionally at Vidalia and elsewhere. The Nordic part? That's inspired by his visits to Finland and Iceland, as a participant in cooking competitions. Some ingredients hail from the region. Pork tenderloin, for example, is coated in Icelandic seaweed that Johnson toasts and grinds to a…

First Look: Honeysuckle Opens Downtown

The gist: Those who mourn the recent closing of the long-beloved Vidalia can take comfort in knowing that the space has been taken over by chef Hamilton Johnson, who worked at Vidalia under chef-owner Jeffrey Buben for seven years. Honeysuckle opens tonight, offering Johnson’s modern take on Southern cuisine, as filtered through his South Carolina upbringing. Aside from working with Buben, Johnson earned his chops working at Maverick Southern Kitchens in Charleston and by running a pop-up of Honeysuckle at the Prequel restaurant incubator. The food: Diners should expect a marriage of Lowcountry cuisine with European touches — but with the modern sensibilities of a young chef pushing the boundaries. For instance, there’s a hamachi appetizer with sea buckthorn, an ingredient popularized by New Nordic cuisine that’s not typical in these parts. You’ll also find elk cheeks with white chocolate–parsnip fondue. Dishes also play with pairing luxe ingredients with lowbrow…

Honeysuckle’s Sweet on Regional Cuisine, Funky Spirits

Chef Hamilton Johnson is ready to rock With just days to go before guests are invited to feast their eyes on his first solo restaurant, Honeysuckle, chef/owner Hamilton Johnson is offering up a taste of what’s in store. Although his work address hasn’t changed — Honeysuckle, the second-most anticipated restaurant opening in our December poll, is replacing Vidalia, which closed last month after a 20-plus year run — the nascent restaurateur is excited about putting his stamp on the place. “Kind of a rock and roll, fine-dining edge,” is how Johnson, a Vidalia alum, characterized his vision for the wholesale renovation. For instance, there’s the ceiling-spanning collage composed of tattoos inked into Hamilton’s flesh.   Karma will find a way. Ceiling install is beyond belief. A photo posted by Megan Henley (@megabot) on Jan 18, 2017 at 12:42pm PST (Sous chef Megan Henley, formerly of Blue Duck Tavern, has been…

17+ D.C. Bars & Restaurants To Look Forward to Opening in 2017

Let’s face it: if there is one thing D.C. loves, it is a new restaurant or bar opening. At the end of last year we asked some of our our favorite D.C. food writers to tell us which they really liked, liked a little less, hated etc. While we were at it we ALSO asked them which restaurant openings they were SUPER excited about in 2017. We took those answers, combined them with some of our personal, internal excitement and here it is: a great list of 2017 BAR + RESTAURANT openings to be jazzed for the next twelve months. In anticipated order of opening: Winter 2017: Hill Prince (1337 H Street NE) – Nick and David Wiseman already brought us some neighborhood favorites in NW (DGS Delicatessen and Little Sesame) and SW (Whaley’s) and are making a move into the NE quadrant with Hill Prince, which will open in…