Starting March 25, Estuary, located at the contemporary Conrad Washington, DC in the heart of the nation’s capital, will unveil a new culinary team and refreshed approach to the signature restaurant’s menu serving up a unique perspective of the Chesapeake Bay’s regional cuisine. At the helm of the hotel’s food and beverage operations is Director of Food and Beverage Josh Murray, formerly the hotel’s executive chef. This spring, Estuary added Executive Chef James Kerwin, Chef de Cuisine Ria Montes, Senior Sous Chef Sean Tew, Estuary General Manager Domingo Lamrissi Garcia and Beverage Director Nial Harris-Garcia to its innovative food and beverage team.
Refreshed Dining Concept
Located in the heart of downtown DC, an evolving gastronomy destination, Conrad Washington, DC offers an inventive take on Mid-Atlantic cuisine with Estuary, the hotel’s signature restaurant named after the largest estuary in the world, the Chesapeake Bay. Expanding beyond the Bay, the refreshed concept brings guests on a tour of the entire Chesapeake Bay Watershed region, starting in the Tributaries where the estuary begins, and ending with a full view of the Watershed. The culinary team incorporates local ingredients from nearby farms, ranches and fisheries, which have been hand-selected as partners due to their incorporation of sustainable industry practices that focus on maintaining the environmental health of the watershed.
Offering a plethora of hyper-seasonal offerings, the most dynamic part of the menu will feature a full Composition of the watershed, and will be presented in three sections: Flora (plants and grains), Fauna (land animals), and Brackish (seafood). The Flora, Fauna and Brackish menu items will be ever-evolving and rotating to include various, seasonal ingredients.
Honoring Conrad Hotels & Resorts’ commitment to sparking connections among guests and within the local community, Estuary connects guests to the cuisine and culture of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed by presenting a unique, dynamic approach to the menu, featuring items that are in peak season and allowing the flavors of the region to take center stage through innovative, thoughtful cooking. Menu highlights, which will also be available via a dynamic Chef’s Table, include the Roasted Quail ($27), a ‘Fauna’ (land animals) dish that combines the savory roasted quail with foie dirty rice, Canelli bean, and natural Jus; Grilled Butternut Squash ($24); a Flora dish that pairs the butternut squash with farro salad, preserved lemon, salsa verde and hot honey; Rockfish ($35), a Brackish dish that has fresh middleneck clams, marinated roe, and baby root veg; and Whole Fried Fish (MP), a Watershed dish from the region that feeds into the Estuary that includes the market fried fish with watercress, pea tendrils, red onions, radish, and caper-garlic vinaigrette, sold at market price.
Additionally, the new wine and beverage programs will showcase the same respectful approach as the menu, focusing on infusing local product. Led by Beverage Director Nial Harris-Garcia, the team will incorporate local and regional wines into programming and build a cocktail list featuring spirits from local distillers and purveyors. Bitters, sodas, and mixers will be made in-house and will incorporate local, seasonal ingredients wherever possible.
“Estuary brings the flavors of our region together with the dynamic energy of DC creating a blend that entices the palate and touches the senses,” says Laura Schofield, general manager, Conrad Washington, DC. “We look forward to offering both our hotel guests and local community, an exciting and memorable DC dining experience.”
“Our goal is to create an opportunity for guests to effortlessly break bread with one another and with the community that creates the rich and diverse culture of the region,” says Josh Murray, director of food & beverage, Conrad Washington, DC. “We invite our guests to join us in celebrating the bounty of the Bay and its surrounding watershed.”
New Culinary Team
The innovative new food and beverage team at Estuary is helmed by Chef de Cuisine Ria Montes, an exceptional DC culinarian who honed her talent in leadership positions at of some of the city’s most exciting restaurants, including Michelin-winning Blue Duck Tavern, A Rake’s Progress, and most recently, No Goodbyes. Her vision for the new concept at Estuary brings together her Eclectic American style of cooking, which has no boundaries to flavor. Combining a multitude of cultural influences with hyper-local ingredients and her relationships with the farming, ranching and fishing vendors of the region, she delivers a unique and seasonally dynamic dining experience to guests.
“When I think about a dish, I think flavors,” says Chef Ria. “There are no barriers around what you can create, and working with exceptional ingredients allows you to showcase the melting pot of cultures that is the American palate in a way that elevates the actual ingredient to showcase its beauty. Estuary is the perfect space to highlight the best of our regional cuisine to international travelers and offer an exciting addition to the DC food scene. I’m very excited to be part of the new chapter for the restaurant.”
Additional members of the new culinary team include:
·Executive Chef James Kerwin also joins Estuary with more than a decade of experience throughout the country, including at Michelin-starred Bonsoiree in Chicago. Chef James will oversee all culinary operations for the hotel. In his new role, he aims to bring his philosophy of building relationships with local artisans and purveyors who strive to preserve the land while offering the freshest products available to the overarching culinary operations of the hotel.
·Joining Chef Ria is Senior Sous Chef Sean Tew, another DC chef who Chef worked alongside at No Goodbyes.
·Additionally, General Manager Domingo Lamrissi Garcia will bring to Estuary two decades of leadership at some of DC’s most notable restaurants, as well as his extensive international experience and food and wine knowledge as a Certified Sommelier. Domingo is looking forward to building a cohesive approach to the service and operations at Estuary, as well as incorporating his extensive knowledge of wine, food and service into training standards.
·The wine and beverage program will be led by Beverage Director Nial Harris-Garcia, a Certified Sommelier, who has developed beverage and wine programs in five hotels in two countries, including Blue Duck Tavern, as well as the re-launch of The Watergate Hotel where his wine program received the Wine Spectator Best of Award of Excellence.