Food & Drink

A Roaming Food Cart Paradise to Open in D.C.

Chef Kevin Tien opens his new, long-anticipated small-plate spot, Emilie’s, on Thursday

Photo: Anne Kim

The chef's counter at Emilie's.

Since opening his first restaurant, Himitsu, in D.C.’s Petworth neighborhood, Kevin Tien has checked every box an up-and-coming chef could ask for and then some, winning plaudits from the James Beard Foundation (Rising Chef of the Year finalist in 2018), Food & Wine (Best New Chef ), Questlove’s Instagram feed, and even People magazine (finalist for, yes, Sexiest Chef Alive). Lines formed out the door of the twenty-four-seat dining room, with diners willing to wait their turn for such boundary-blurring dishes as red drum in green curry, and charred octopus with black-bean mole. 

Photo: Courtesy of Emilie's

Kevin Tien (third from left) and his team.

For his next act, the thirty-two-year-old, whose parents emigrated from Vietnam in 1967 and who counts José Andrés as a mentor, is opening Emilie’s, in a much larger space in Capitol Hill along Pennsylvania Avenue on Thursday, October 10. The offerings will include carts of small plates roving around the dining room with breads, dips, seafood, pickles, oysters, and more, “to keep you entertained,” Tien says, “until the big plates arrive.” 

Photo: Anne Kim

Guest seating at Emilie’s.

Expect a casual setting with windows all around, lots of wood, and plenty of plants. “In essence,” Tien adds, “we want to be a true family-style, plate-sharing restaurant.”

Photo: Anne Kim

The main dining room.