Chef Behind Unconventional Diner Will Open a Wood-Burning Mediterranean Place in 2020

10/11/19 – Unconventional spinoff: Fans of David Deshaies, the French chef who specializes in stepped-up American comfort food at Central and Unconventional Diner, will be happy to hear about his involvement in a new restaurant coming to the outer reaches of Mount Vernon Triangle late next year.

Washington Business Journal reports that Deshaies and Unconventional Diner partner Eric Eden have signed the first retail lease at Capitol Crossing, the two-building development going up on Massachusetts Avenue NW over I-395. The Ardent will take on a Mediterranean theme and take up 10,000 square feet in the building on 200 Massachusetts Avenue NW. According to Washington Post critic Tom Sietsema, who broke the news in his weekly chat, the restaurant will incorporate Italian, Spanish, and Southern French flavors with a wood-burning oven and grill churning out fish dishes and thin-crust sourdough pizzas.

Unconventional Diner won a local restaurant association RAMMY award this year for Upscale Brunch of the Year. Deshaies has drawn notice there for his double cheeseburger, his fried chicken, and more (sorry) unconventional dishes like Lebanese fried rice and eggs, confit lamb quesadillas, and a “French dip” pappardelle with wagyu beef, beech mushrooms, garlic chips, and horseradish cream.

Back in the spring, New York restaurateur and Shake Shack mogul Danny Meyer pulled out of a deal to put an offshoot of Union Square cafe in the Capitol Crossing development. Meyer will bring Italian seafood restaurant Maialino Mare to the Thompson Hotel in Navy Yard. [WBJ; WaPo]