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The dish: Recent restaurant openings

Thursday - 4/18/2013, 9:30am  ET

GBD offers classic doughnuts and doughnuts with modern twists. (WTOP/Rachel Nania)

Nycci Nellis, special to

WASHINGTON - Hungry for something new? Nycci Nellis dishes on a handful of restaurants that just opened their doors in the D.C. area.

The Red Hen, 1822 1st St. NW

Michael Friedman, Mike O' Malley and Sebastian Zutant opened The Red Hen, an Italian-American restaurant in the Bloomingdale area of D.C.

Freidman, former Chef de Cuisine at Proof, serves as Executive Chef and delights guests with a menu of locally-sourced ingredients, including Virginia clams and Chesapeake oysters.

The beverage program is headed by Zutant, former wine director at Proof. Zutant offers a wallet-friendly cocktail list with most drinks priced under $10 and the 100-bottle wine list features a broad selection of Italian wines.

The 60-seat restaurant features an open-floor design with rustic features, ample natural lighting, a bar area and an open kitchen. The Red Hen brings an approachable, yet sophisticated, Italian dining experience to the Bloomingdale area.

Azur, 405 8th St. NW

Chef Frederik de Pue opened his second "dream" restaurant project in the former Café Atlantico building. De Pue's Azur serves as a means to showcase the skills he's gathered from working in top seafood kitchens throughout Europe, and highlights mainstream fish and shellfish varieties as well as harder to find, more inventive seafood dishes.

The bar program at Azur is headed by top D.C. mixologist Jon Arroyo, and focuses on wine and craft beer selected to deliciously compliment the seafood-centric menu. Alongside the ocean-inspired menu, diners can also enjoy an ocean-inspired dining space accented with ocean hues, handmade furniture and a gorgeous, custom- made chandelier that mimics underwater bubbles.

Complete with a raw bar, the 135-seat restaurant now serves dinner. Brunch and lunch service will be added in the future.

Le Diplomate, 14th and Q Street NW

Famed Philadelphia restaurateur Stephen Starr opened his first D.C. restaurant, Le Diplomate.

Le Diplomate is a French-inspired bistro with seating for 260. Celebrated Executive Chef Adam Schop will helm the kitchen and draw from his forays into French cuisine from time working at renowned Zinc Bistro in Scottsdale and exploring Parisian streets. The menu boasts of classic French cuisine alongside French fare with modern twists, including an extensive bread program and an expert coffee program from La Colombe Artisanal Roasters.

The space will include a 200-seat main dining area, along with a 60-seat, umbrella- covered sidewalk terrace area overlooking Q Street. Travel to a delicious corner of Paris by way of Logan Circle when you indulge in Le Diplomate's fabulous brunch and dinner service.

Astro Doughnuts and Fried Chicken Shop, 1308 G St. NW

Astro Doughnuts and Fried Chicken Shop is now a one-stop shop for two very different, but very delicious, all-American classics: doughnuts and fried chicken.

Jason Gehrig is serving up old-fashioned doughnuts with modern and whimsical twists. For those who find themselves torn between the sweet and savory, Astro offers spicy and seasonal variations of fried chicken.

After several months of catering and pop-up sales, pastry Chef Jason Gehring -- formerly of Fiola, The Charleston and Cinghiale in Baltimore and Poste Moderne Brasserie -- had the opportunity to test a variety of flavors and is now excited to serve his evolving array of haute doughnuts, fried chicken, side dishes and specialty sandwiches.

Astro will exclusively serve artisan drip coffee from Brooklyn Roasting Company, as well as sparkling and flavored waters. Sourcing some of the finest ingredients available -- including Benton's Bacon, locally raised, free-range chicken, Valrhona chocolate, King Arthur flour and Plugrá butter -- Chef Gehring will vary seasonal doughnut flavors based on fruit and produce availability from local farmers.

GBD (Golden, Brown, Delicious), 1323 Connecticut Ave. NW

Chef Kyle Bailey and wife/pastry chef Tiffany MacIsaac have joined forces to open D.C.'s first gourmet doughnut shop that also serves Kyle's fried chicken specialty.

This shop satisfies the sweet and savory and offers Washingtonians an exciting dining experience. Customers can expect classic doughnut offerings, doughnuts with modern twists, a doughnut sandwich with fried chicken and bacon and delicious sides, such as potato salad and chicken bao bun sandwiches, among other delicious bites.

Fat Shorty's, 3035 Clarendon Blvd., Arlington, Va.

Aaron Gordon has transformed his Clarendon eatery, Rabbit, into a sausage haven: Fat Shorty's.

Rock Harper oversees the kitchen and offers 16 different, internationally-inspired sausage-centric dishes, as well as other lunch plates. The space continues serving-up meals in the 80-seat restaurant via counter-ordering. However, guests are also able to dine at the restaurant's beer hall table or at its 20-seat outdoor patio. Expect the new restaurant to partner with D.C. Central Kitchen to integrate the program's alum into the workforce.

The Grill Room and Rye Bar, The Capella Hotel, 1050 31st St. NW

The new Capella Hotel in Georgetown opened two new restaurant concepts: The Grill Room and The Rye Bar. The venture satisfies both hungry and thirsty palates.

Under the direction of Chef Jakob Esko, both spaces feature canal-front patios, innovative menus and beautifully decorated interiors. The 70-seat grill room offers a daily menu, based on seasonal ingredients and hand-cut, bone-in meats and fresh seafood. Additionally, the 26-seat rye room features rare rye whiskeys, creative cocktails and tasty bar fare that perfectly compliments the unique cocktail program.

Nycci Nellis is the founder of and host of WTOP's Foodie and the Beast on Sunday mornings. Follow @NycciNellis and @WTOPLiving on Twitter.

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