Fish Taco headed for Cabin John

A new concept from Bethesda's Food, Wine & Co.

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Cabin John has snagged Fish Taco, a casual seafood eatery from the owners of Bethesda’s Food, Wine & Co.

As was first reported in the Washington Post’s Going Out Guide blog, the restaurant will feature burritos, salads and rice bowls in addition to its namesake fish tacos—served with an intriguing roster of homemade sauces (i.e. habanero-mango with hoisin).

Food, Wine & Co. chef Michael Harr will be a partner in the project, along with the restaurant’s co-owners Francis Namin and Carlos Ramirez. The three are shooting for a July opening.

“It won’t be your typical taco joint,” Namin told Table Talk, adding that the combinations will be preselected, not like Chipotle and other fast casual places, where diners compose their own dishes from a selection of ingredients. Namin said there will be a couple kinds of fish, scallops and shrimp, served grilled, seared or breaded. The rice bowls will be offered with other proteins as well, such as chicken and steak.

Chef Harr, who is designing the Fish Taco menu, will continue to work at Food, Wine & Co., but will oversee a new chef (as yet to be hired) at the new restaurant.  

There will be a walk-up counter, but “you will be eating on china,” Namin said. “We’re not doing paper plates.” Beer will be served on draft and by the bottle, and a signature margarita is in the works. The place will seat only a little more than 30 diners, so a brisk carryout business is part of the plan, Namin added.

The three partners had had been angling for the space on Wisconsin Avenue housed by the former Mongolian Grill, but Namin said that the owners of that office building wanted an operation that serves breakfast. Instead, the trio acquired the former Lucky Garden Chinese restaurant space in Cabin John.

For a few years now, Namin had wanted to open a burger and hot dog restaurant, but he said that concept doesn’t mesh with the Cabin John crowd.

“Everybody who lives around there is very health conscious,” he said. “We wanted to offer something that goes with the neighborhood.”  

Namin said he is designing Fish Taco, which will sport reclaimed wood paneling, concrete floors, steel work and an unfinished ceiling. “Right now,” he said, “I’m staining wood in my garage.”

Fish Taco, 7945 MacArthur Blvd. Cabin John

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