Loving thy neighbor is sometimes easier said than done. (To wit: the nudists in 4B.)
But when the new tenant is Next Door, an extension of a half-century-old local institution, there’s a lot to like.
The just-opened resto is a swankier, Southern-inspired sibling to ultracasual Ben’s Chili Bowl. In comparison to its big brother’s divey vibe, the new space has a 53-foot bar, local microbrews, and cocktails like Cadillac ’ritas and berry caprioskas.
In the back of the house, you’ll find Rahman “Rock” Harper (winner of Hell’s Kitchen) creating upscale comfort food like shrimp and grits in tasso ham gravy and ravioli stuffed with mascarpone, turkey, and sweet potato.
He’s also plating half-smokes and introducing hand-cut chili cheese fries, a long-awaited merger of two of Ben’s classics.
Inspiring a case of naked admiration.
Next Door, 1211 U Street NW, between 12th and 13th Streets (202-667-8880).