After living on Barracks Row for 18 months, it is amazing to reflect on the changes in the neighborhood as I move a few blocks east. I wish there was some way to uncover recent photos of a less-developed neighborhood somewhere. Oh hey, Google maps hasn’t updated their street view for awhile…I promise, no rants here, just the facts on the restaurants which became my new neighbors. Read part two.
Before: I never lived in the hood long enough to try Locanda, a Mediterranean restaurant that Post critic Tom Sietsema dug, but did not stay open very long. This particular location was the least offensive empty storefront to be found in this part of Capitol Hill. Technically, this is not Barracks Row, but Penn. Ave SE, but it is very close. At one point, the vacant storefront had places set for what looked like a fancy, but dust-covered meal. Still, it was an island of inactivity on a bustling street.
Now: Ay Ba Bay, ay Bay Bay! No, not the old hot ish from Hurricane Chris, instead it’s a crazy new Vietnamese restaurant. I ate here once; it’s only been open for a few months. I got the Pho with tripe (only to later realize where this mystery meat actually came from), my girl got crab and pasta and we got a since forgotten small plate as well. It’s a tad pricey, and I tend to think the new storefront is uglier than the old one. But you can’t argue that an open restaurant is worse than a closed one. I shall return for the Banh Mi, a street food sandwich celebrated in my hometown of Portland, Maine. Note: It’s usually only served at lunch.