With the opening of the The Conrad Washington, D.C., comes the latest restaurant from chefs Bryan and Michael Voltaggio, who take luxury to a whole new limit at Estuary.
There have been plenty of celebrity chefs who've made the move to D.C., including David Chang, but what motivated you to come to the city? BRYAN VOLTAGGIO: I’ve personally been in this region since 2003 when Charlie Palmer opened Charlie Palmer Steak, and I’ve always felt like I had a direct connection to this part of the city. This project has been something Michael and I have been involved in for a number of years now in CityCenterDC and now The Conrad is the last piece of this entirely new neighborhood. To be a part of a modern luxury hotel brand is really synonymous with the style and level of food and hospitality that Michael and I have made a career of.
But D.C. has evolved quite some bit over the past decade, no? How have you seen the food scene evolve? BV: I remember when we were opening the steakhouse in 2003 and everybody was saying here comes another steakhouse. D.C. was so known for that. But the new D.C. has completely changed, especially in the last 10 years and we’re starting to refer to neighborhoods that we never thought we’d be talking about. There are pockets of really great talented chefs that are part of the fabric of the city now.
MICHAEL VOLTAGGIO: I grew up cooking with Jose Andres, he's actually the reason I moved out to L.A. So for me, I feel very close to the food scene in D.C. because Jose is almost like a godfather of food in the area. The scene has always there, but it's thriving now more than ever. We're coming to D.C. in the most exciting time. It reminds me of what L.A. was like 10 years ago.
The Maryland crab roll has become a menu item favorite at Estuary in The Conrad.
As co-owners but also as brothers, what has it been like collaborating together on this restaurant? BV: We are siblings first, but we tend to get things done quicker because we understand each other’s style. The more and more we collaborate, the more we bring the differences in our experiences together.
Should we expect some of the signature New American cooking we've come to know you for at Estuary? BV: There's an abundance of ingredients we can pull from to celebrate this mid-Atlantic cuisine. Dishes that inspired us throughout our upbringing will certainly influence this menu.
Is there a dish you're most excited for people to try out? MV: There will crab sprinkled throughout the menu. For me, a lot of this is about the homecoming. There's a crab rangoon we've developed, filled with Maryland crab filling. It's a nice little bite and bar snack. Bryan and I are also doing the food for the Estuary bar. So no matter where you sit, you're still a part of the food and beverage experience.