I had dinner at Maketto on 7-27-2017. I wasn’t really sure what to expect since it’s a restaurant attached to a retail shop. And while it looked sort of hisptery there was nothing pretentious or scene-y about it. The vibe was really chill and the food was outstanding!
Atmosphere: 4 out of 5
Food & Drink: 4 out of 5
The restaurant and shop are actually quite large so I’ll walk you through the various parts. As described on the website, “Maketto is a 6,000 sqft communal marketplace… combining retail, restaurant, bar, and cafe experiences. The space features a modern/minimal attitude and includes a mix of 2 buildings, a courtyard, a roof deck, and a catwalk connecting the different spaces together.”
This is the view of the shop when you first walk in the door off of H Street. I’m kind of in love with that sneaker wall. That large archway at the far end is the entrance to the restaurant’s main level dining room.
And here’s the view of the main level dining room from that same archway. You can see through to a wall of windows at the far end overlooking a great courtyard.
And here’s that courtyard from that wall of windows. At the far end of the courtyard on the ground level is the kitchen while upstairs is a covered seating area which I think is the roof deck.
Fun patio artwork.
And if we go back to that original building right above the main level dining room is a cafe.
And while I was snapping pics who should I run into but Chef/Owner Erik Bruner-Yang! It was actually my first time meeting him so I had a little fangirl moment (note the upside down Michelin Guide).
Then later in the meal Sous Chef Mario Almeida came to say hi!
Alright now to the business at hand!
The menu is comprised of Taiwanese and Cambodian small plates and family style dishes. It’s great for mixing and matching and since it was just me I did end up taking some home.
Wok fried wax beans (yellow curry, mushrooms). These were really, really good. There was also asparagus, onion, Thai basil, and fried garlic and shallots. The combination of the sauce, which tasted like garlic and lemon, and the almost charred flavor from the wok fry worked really well together. The portion was also pretty big too.
Hamachi crudo (cucumber, watermelon, white soy). This was beautiful, light, and refreshing. The cucumber was marinated slightly but not totally pickled. That plus the watermelon had such a bright flavor. I also could have drank the sauce–oh wait I basically did since I lapped it up with the spoon. The pieces of hamachi were also quite large.
Heirloom tomato salad (pineapple, tofu puree, purslane). This was a gift from the chef–thank you!! This salad was really neat. I’ve had a million tomato salads but this one was really unique and I appreciated that. First off I’m obsessed with the tofu puree, which was like tofu hummus; the texture and the flavor were both great. The pineapple was such an interesting accompaniment since I’m so used to vinegar being the acid paired with tomatoes. The dressing consisted of dill oil and another spicier oil, which were nice. It was overall a very unique, light, summery flavor profile that I had not had before and really enjoyed.
Maketto fried chicken (five spice caramel, housemade bread). Holy shit was this good and I’m not really a friend chicken person. The five spice caramel was amazing; it was obviously sweet but went so well with this. The batter was perfectly crisp with such a great crunch. The chicken itself was so tender and moist. This dish was sweet, savory, and delicious. I took some home and my husband loved it while the kids went nuts for the bread!
Strawberry mochi. This was also a gift from the chef–thanks! It was fantastic and it’s no surprise why: it’s a creation by Pastry Chef Pichet Ong! There were strawberry crumbles, lemon verbena, fresh berries, a mochi sugar glaze on top of ice cream, whipped cream, and what seemed like a puree of stewed strawberries. The mochi sugar glaze was a little hard to cut through but the texture was fun nonetheless. This dessert was complex yet so light and delicious–really perfect for summer. I kind of want to go back just to try his pastries in the cafe now!
Overall I had a really great meal. I can’t believe I hadn’t been here before but I will definitely be back. The people, the food, the space–it was just a very nice, calm meal that you don’t get often in the bustle of D.C. restaurants.