Palette 22, a new restaurant in Shirlington that fuses street cuisine with street art, is slated to open next Monday — appropriately, on 2/22.
The restaurant, in the former Extra Virgin space at 4053 Campbell Avenue, has been in the planning stages for some 18 months. Four months of construction are wrapping up this week and the restaurant was a hive of activity today with construction crews drilling and hammering, prospective employees interviewing for positions and artists working on murals and paintings.
Of the entire Extra Virgin restaurant, only a single sink remains. We’re told that the rest of the former Italian eatery, even the concrete floor, was in a poor enough condition to warrant replacement.
Palette 22 combines food, art and fun, focusing on modern street food small plate dishes with an international flavor. Local art and artists are integrated into the whole dining experience, with painters, mosaicists, photographers and others, working during operating hours in dedicated artist workstations. The restaurant features a seasonally driven menu of more than thirty small plate offerings inspired by street food, culinary traditions, key ingredients, and cultural international small plates.
Expect to see at least one of Palette 22’s “artists in residence” working while you dine. A number of artists from different backgrounds are chosen every three months to work at least two shifts a week, creating art amid diners and answering questions from guests. A committee and the restaurant’s full-time art director select the artists.
When dining at Palette 22, expect to order several small plates to share with friends, and to spend about $25 per person for dinner or $12 for lunch. Individual plates range from $5-11.
The dinner menu includes a number of international street food flavors, like Singapore chili-crab potstickers, Vietnamese sugar cane shrimp, Spanish grilled octopus, Argentine empanadas, Korean bulgogi beef and Chinese Peking duck. The menu also includes flatbreads, mussels and spareribs cooked in a locally-made brick oven, that features prominently in the floor plan.
The cocktail menu continues the theme of creativity, with $10-12 cocktails featuring custom-made syrups, creative garnishes, interesting spices and fresh fruit. There are two house-made sangrias on draft — yes, on draft — along with 12 draft beers, mostly local. Ten wines are offered by the glass, and plenty of other beer and wine is available by the bottle (or can).
Palette 22 is open from for lunch on weekdays, dinner all week and will remain open until 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday. A weekend brunch service will debut next Saturday, Feb. 27. Happy hour runs from 4-7 p.m. on weekdays.