There are a lot of places that are way too cool for me, and our choice for the 10th FDCDC was no exception. Not only has Maketto been garnering praise for slinging great Taiwanese and Cambodian fare, it also has a coffee shop upstairs full of local art and a chic mens clothing store up front. The clothing store in particular was really intimidating; I felt like if I had even made a move towards the clothing racks, some well dressed hipster would have given me an admonishing look as if to say, “not for you, pal.” Maybe next time I’ll have the confidence to browse.
The restaurant hostess/maybe also clothing designer led us past the forbidden clothing, past Maketto’s excellent outdoor patio, and into the main dining room of the restaurant. The dining room had an old family diner feel to it. Old cookbooks stacked on the shelves along with Costco size containers of a random mishmash of ingredients. In the background Maketto’s staff kept pulling random stuff out of a toaster oven, none of which ever made it to our table. Very mysterious. There was also this great shelf for putting stuff!
Soon after we sat down we were greeted by our server, who came up wearing an excellent horse shirt (keeping with hipster theme). Maketto had a excellent-looking cocktail list. I ordered some gin drink called the Jaguar Paw, which reminded me of an Old Spice deoderant scent, following such great names as “Bearglove” and “Krakengard” (both real). Becky’s drink was definitely the winner though, some sort of deliciously boozy fruit punch. We all ordered something different in round one, but most ordered that boozy punch in round two.
The first round of appetizers was a vegetarian steamed dumpling, Cambodian curry, and flash fried Brussels sprouts. Nico was willing to go out on a limb for the dumpling, as he was a neither a fan of mushrooms or leaks (but who is). But we all thought it was pretty good! Great dipping sauce. The Cambodian curry was fun in a lot of ways. The curry itself had a pleasant homey flavor; like eating a nice stew. It also got progressively spicier as you ate it, like the sensation you get when eating a bunch of Spicier Nacho Doritos (which from me is a very positive review). The curry not only came with rice, as you’d expect, but also various mysterious tubers for dippin’ (maybe some radishes?). I kind of liked the tubers as a curry dippin’ vehicle, but also couldn’t help but agree with Nico’s comment, “It’s like eating a tree…” The Brussels sprouts were much less confusing and universally liked. Peanuty and crunchy and fish saucy and almost-ordered-a-second-platey.
For the entree round, we got the charred waygu rib and the fried chicken. The rib was pretty tasty, but they did got a little bit overboard of “charred” part. For me it was all about the sides in the dish. The Thai basil was fresh and went great with the beef, and the spicy sauce on the side was excellent and helped offset some of the over-grillage. I also was kind of unreasonably expecting a Flintstone-sized rib, too, so that was disappointing. The fried chicken was probably the most fun dish to eat. “Even more fun than tubers,” you might ask? Somehow it managed, mostly because of the five spice caramel coating the chicken. The chicken itself was super crispy and moist in the center, but it was hard to pay attention to that because after eating enough of it, all of us had numb tongues from all the spices. A real trippy experience. Also the fried chicken came with toasted bread on the side because, you know, not enough carbs. The bread was pretty great for dipping into the leftover rib sauce though. I felt bad for Becky, who was in the middle of Whole30 and couldn’t eat the dipping bread or most of the tongue-numbing chicken skin. Any diet that prevents tongue numbing is no diet for me.
At this point we were all pretty full, but after our server talked up the high-falutin New York pastry chef Maketto has on staff, we had to try at least one dessert. We opted for some sort of marshmallowy cookie thing with espresso poured all over it (real refined, Mr. Fancy Pastry Chef). The rocky road cookie was really difficult to divide up with a spoon, which required all of us the smush the cookie at same time (aka The Triple Smush™) which made the dessert real unsightly. It was damn good though; Nico slurped up the espresso remains as a good metaphor for a satisfactory dinner.
There were a couple execution errors on the preparation, but overall a solid meal. The type of food that just makes your tum tum happy. Our meal at Maketto earned it 3.5 out of 4 om noms, but that wasn’t all for the evening…
When you’re all the way in H Street area, which takes a minimum of two modes of public transportation to get to from anywhere in DC (probably even if you live on H Street), you’ve gotta make it worth your while. As such, we decided to take a friend’s recommendation to check out Copycat, which apparently was serving up some great cocktails a few blocks away.
Right off the bat, Copycat gets a million points for having Goldfish as their bar snack. I wasn’t hungry at all, but I still ate a bunch of them as my tip of the hat to Copycat. A+. I very much appreciated that there were half a dozen drinks that were made with passion fruit, a flavor I love even though the fruit itself looks like alien barf. I ordered a drink called the Cobra Fang (continuing the Old Spice-esque drink names). Oh boy…they got some dangerous drinks here. And real tasty. Someone else ordered a drink that tasted like a freshly mown lawn, which was equally boozy and tasty (probably called Falcon Shriek, or something similar). I also put in an order for some potstickers because a) I’ve had only bad back potstickers in DC and was jonesing and b) I am a glutton. Hey, at least I didn’t order the One of Everything. Yes that is an option, yes it is exactly what it sounds like, and yes I will be going back for that later. It doesn’t really matter that the potstickers were just kind of average, any place that has Goldfish, boozy tropical cocktails, a strange amount of passion fruit, and the option of getting a bite of literally food they have is great in my book. I give Copycat 4 out of 4 sip sips.