Until fairly recently, 1847 Columbia Road NW was home to Napoleon Bistro, an excellent continental cuisine spot. Then one day, the doors closed and practically overnight, the place was reinvented as Lapis, specializing in Afghani food. Turnover in the restaurant business is expected but this conversion was unusual for the fact that ownership remained the same. The family, which fled Afghanistan after the Soviets invaded, operates several European style restaurants in the city. Lapis is their first venture featuring their own native cuisine.
Korean food has long been a favorite of mine. There was a great place in my neighborhood in Yokohama back in the '90s. Not only was the meal itself wonderful but the barbecue and garlic smell would get in your clothing and be with you for the rest of the evening. Heaven! Despite the overall popularity of Asian food in the States, Korean places are rare. Even Korean-owned establishments tend to stick to the safer ground of Japanese or Chinese offerings.
Both restaurants were crowded, even early in the evening, a good sign for long-term success.