Noah Zonca, the former star chef at The Kitchen, is speeding toward opening his new restaurant on L Street, The Dime, by the Fourth of July weekend. Today, he announced the key players of his kitchen crew.
The head chef will be Juan Vaca, a longtime sous chef at Esquire Grille who most recently cooked at Mulvaney's, just around the corner on 19th Street.
"He's someone I trust immensely. He worked with me at The Kitchen," Zonca said.
Chef de cuisine is Ruben Perez.
"He's got the things you can't teach. He's got the drive, the heart and the passion for the industry," Zonca told me by phone.
And the sous chef is Brian "Chachi" Maydahl, an experienced cook who has worked at Shady Lady and de Vere's, among other places.
Zonca said and the team have been cooking and testing recipes the past three weeks and that the main menu is now set, with many of the dishes coming in at $10 or less. Zonca also hinted that this is the first of several Dimes.
"I want to put a team together that can split off and do their own restaurants," he said. "This restaurant is about value. It's about food chefs eat."
Zonca is now working on a breakfast/brunch menu. He expects to be serving brunch on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, with Monday being an "industry" meal for people in the restaurant business.
There has been some confusion about the actual name of this restaurant in the 1800 block of L Street. Some reports have had it as Capital Dime, while others have called it The Dime. Which is it? When I asked Zonca, he replied, "That's a good question," before being heard asking someone in the distance at the restaurant.
OK, it will be called The Dime. It rolls off the tongue better than Capital Dime, which is the name of the LLC (limited liabilty company).
We'll keep you posted as The Dime gets closer to opening. The concept sounds like a winner -- farm to fork fare at bargain prices.
Blair Anthony Robertson is The Bee's restaurant critic. Follow him on Twitter, @blarob.