On a block of 8th Street NW that's occupied on Wednesdays in the warmer months by the Penn Quarter farmers' market, Frederik De Pue — whose similarly minimally named Table was a breakout dining-scene hit in 2013 —has opened the multi-faceted Menu MBK. That's equal parts market, bistrobar, and kitchen to us.
MBK taps into the rising demand for locally sourced, high-end, farm-to-table(or perhaps farm-to-rough-hewn-wood-shelf-to-our-kitchen-counter) products. Like Mount Pleasant's Each Peach and Chevy Chase's Little Red Fox, the market bit of MBK purveys goods that are, yes, curated from vendors like Pennsylvania's Bounty Hill Farms and D.C.'s only juice producer, Gouter.
But Menu MBK isn't simply a myriad stocking of tasty pickles, macarons, and juices made with spirulina. From 5 p.m. to close, full restaurant service, along with an extensive draft list of Belgian beers, is available in the "bistrobar," which features dishes such as grilled quail, crispy sunchokes and Belgian waffles for dessert. (During the day, avail yourself of the space—and its free wifi—by eating a lunch of MBK's prepared foods there.)
The six-seat chef's table takes reservations for two seatings— 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.—Tuesday through Saturday (call 202-347-7491). The intimate, exclusive setting takes atmospheric cues from MBK's neighbor, José Andrés' nearly unattainable Minibar, without the pricey sting: A five-course tasting menu runs a quite reasonable $65 per person for dishes like skate wing and lambic beef. Now that's something we hope to sink our teeth into.