Chefs J.J. Basil and Chris Wolff are still searching for a location for their restaurant, Zero Degrees Zero Minutes, but in the meantime, they’re gearing up for a new round of weekly pop-up dinners. After a brief hiatus due to an air-conditioning malfunction, the duo will continue to cook multi-course meals for up to 12 diners at Darnell’s Bar off of U Street NW. The pop-ups will continue every Sunday, beginning this week, throughout the summer.
In case their names aren’t familiar, Basil and Wolff are alums of New York modernist restaurant wd~50. Basil, a D.C.-area native, has also worked at McCrady’s in South Carola, while Wolff was a sous chef at Viajante in London before moving to the District. As for the kind of food they’re cooking now? Basil describes: “Visually, it’s very simplistic, but there’s a ton of work that goes into each dish.” A hanger steak, for example, takes a day and a half to prepare; it’s cooked in aged bone marrow over natural coals. “It just builds this really intensely beef flavor that you’re not going to find in many places,” he says.
The dinners at Darnell’s will include amuse-bouches, homemade bread and butter, six courses, petit fours, coffee, and wine pairings for $125. (The price includes tax and tip.) Among the summer dish descriptions: "razor clam, turnip, celery, pomegranate" and "black tea ice cream, potato yogurt, flax seed." Basil says they have a completely new menu from the one they served at pop-ups earlier this year. Tickets can be purchased here.
As for the restaurant, Basil says he’s looked at spaces in LeDroit Park, Brookland, Capitol Hill, and Ivy City, but they’re not set on any specific neighborhood. “We want the exact opposite of most people,” he says. “We want a really small space that’s out of the way…If you’re putting out good product, people will come to it.”
Photo courtesy Zero Degrees Zero Minutes