H Street restaurant’s kitchen to be headed by chef Ben Browning
Former attorneys Mika and Ian Carlin will open Irregardless, a new wine bistro, in the late summer. The two-story building in the H Street Corridor spans 1,600 square feet and will be headed by chef Ben Browning. Expect to see a six-course seasonal tasting menu when the restaurant opens. Browning will put the spotlight on MidAtlantic produce and producers, announced the owners.
Tasting menus will indeed abound at the 502 H Street Northeast location. So, too, will a modern American tasting menu, using local and sustainable ingredients. Browning’s career includes work at Daikyaya, Maydan, Obelisk, Reveler’s Hour, and Mintwood Place, the chef’s most recent stomping ground.
Approaching the cuisine with a “cook simple” mantra, he will present omnivore and vegetarian tasting menu options in thoughtfully-composed dishes, said the owners in an announcement. Having spent a few years as a child in Paris, Browning has a penchant for French and Japanese cooking techniques.
At Irregardless, guests will have a choice of “house-made pastas, well-made breads and simple yet exciting dishes with multiple layers that respect quality ingredients.” Furthermore, customers at the bar will enjoy a concise a-la-carte at the 12-seat bar.
Mika and Ian met while attending University of Virginia’s law school. They left the legal world, embracing full-time careers in hospitality. As longtime wine lovers who grew to appreciate Virginia wine as law students, the Carlins will serve as resident sommeliers and co-managers at Irregardless.
They will oversee operations and beverage programs. Mika, previously a front-of-house manager at Fancy Radish, also served as beverage director at Sonny’s Pizza and No Kisses, the restaurant’s popular sister bar. Meanwhile, Ian spent time as a sommelier and server, respectively, at Masseria and Oyster Oyster, both Michelin-starred restaurants.
For the Carlins, opening Irregardless was fueled by a desire to create a wine bistro that celebrates the talent behind excellent wineries and local producers with elevated, yet engaging, service. They intend to offer a well-curated list of accessible, excellent wines that are a great value made by young and independent producers. These selections will highlight local and regional wineries, along with some imported, global standouts.
Their friends at Treehouse Brewing, an independently owned Massachusetts brewery, in addition to other independent, local breweries and distilleries will complete Irregardless’ beverage program.
“As residents of the H Street neighborhood, we’re proud and excited to open our first restaurant in a community we have grown to love,” said Mike. “With Irregardless, we want to build a comfortable and welcoming space for all to enjoy great food and drink, with excellent service and hospitality.”
HapstakDemetriou+ will transform the former rowhouse into an open mid-century modern space via a reimagined dining room. A vintage Coca-Cola mural and exposed brick walls, left over from the previous tenant, will be incorporated into the new design. Also, “modern updates and touches will be added with new pendant lighting, greenery, and furniture, juxtaposed against refinished, built-in banquettes,” noted the owners. Plus, outdoor seating will comprise a few bistro tables on an upper-level terrace, while a ground-floor garden will host rotating pop-ups during the warm season.
Ian added, “Our industry has been hit hard over the past two and a half years, but we remain committed to and inspired by our colleagues in the independent restaurant community. We look forward to opening Irregardless and contributing to the dynamic dining scene here in DC.”
Irregardless, 502 H Street Northeast, Washington, DC 20002
About the publisher.