One of the biggest differences transitioning from Jewish deli food to Mediterranean? "I can cook with a lot of pork again," says chef Barry Koslow, "which is something I kind of missed." The former DGS Delicatessen chef is now overseeing the kitchen at Pinea, a "Southern European" restaurant that opens Oct. 1 in the W hotel.
But the move is about much more than a bounty of prosciutto and shellfish. "Mainly it was just a great opportunity to open another place and work in an awesome hotel that wanted to do something cool," he says. The new job also gets him closer to his fine dining roots, which means "a price point where I can really go out and bring in the best of everything." (Koslow previously worked at Citronelle, 2941 Restaurant, and Circle Bistro.)
The W decided to go with the Mediterranean theme at the suggestion of a consulting firm's market research and analysis, Koslow says. "It's a way to try to figure how not to do what everyone else is doing, but to do something that still will fit with what is happening in your neighborhood," he says. "A lot of hotels use that sort of formula to come up with concepts."
Koslow helped narrow the focus to French, Spanish, and Italian cuisines. He'll be making his own pastas and sausages as well as using plenty of citrus, fresh herbs, and specialty olive oils. Entrees ($19-$36) range from grilled swordfish with charred cauliflower, raisins, capers, pine nuts, and carrot romesco to a lamb merguez burger with feta, cucumber yogurt, and polenta fries. For something more casual, one section of the menu is dedicated to "merenda"—Italian sharing snacks like bruschetta, fritto misto, and crab and guanciale croquetas.
"The menu is exactly what I want to do. I wasn't given any restrictions," Koslow says. "Even to me, I've been pretty surprised at how much creative freedom I've been given."
Check out the full menus below.
Pinea, 515 15th St. NW; (202) 661-2440; pineadc.com
Photo of Barry Koslow courtesy Pinea