It evokes Bond’s superior officer. It’s what you dial if you’d like a murder. And it’s a great way to start “Night Shyamalan.”
It also stands for this place: M Cafe Bar, a breezy new mostly open-air Italian spot that feels like it could be in South Beach, now open.
This place originally set up camp in Friendship Heights a few years ago. Then, in a reverse George Jefferson maneuver, they decamped for downtown, to 14th Street. And they brought a bit of a Miami vibe—doors and windows flung open everywhere, backlit onyx behind the bar, and murals of Sophia Loren, Marcello Mastroianni and... Marilyn Monroe, beckoning you to the red stools below her.
They’re as good a spot as any to tuck into a cocktail like the Tira (orange-blossom-infused vodka, Lillet Blanc, passion fruit), pastas like Mint Tagliatelle with Lamb Neck Ragu and one of 25 grappas for dessert.
Another good place: the romantic, candlelit room up the stairs in back, where you can order up carafes of barolo and delve into the more creative parts of the menu, like anchovy fritters and Basil-Fed Snails over polenta.
Beats oregano-fed snails by a mile.