This week’s installment of “let’s eat” for Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month is a two-fer in case I don’t have a chance to post next Sunday (I’ll be somewhere between Edinburgh and London then).
Both serve updated comfort-food favorites (though MAR is a shoebox of a restaurant, and parking can be a challenge). I like the Asian flavors on the menus: creme fraiche wings come with Korean chili paste, and a touch of fish sauce deepens the flavors of the bouillabaisse.
Both restaurants also serve brunch! Check out the pumpkin pancakes and pecan shortbread bar. I still need to try the six-course tasting brunch at MAR one of these Sundays ($38 for two, which is really reasonable for the plates of food I’ve seen coming out of the kitchen).
Lots of interesting wines, beers and cocktails are also on the menus. The staff make excellent pairing suggestions.
The image at the top of this post, taken in February, shows MAR’s seared scallops with coconut-scallion risotto and basil ice cream.
To celebrate 2014 Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, I’m going to post a “let’s eat” suggestion each Sunday highlighting a favorite foodie hangout where Asian Americans are prominent in the kitchen.
To kick things off, my favorite ramen house in the D.C. area: Toki Underground, 1234 H St. NE.
It’s not true Japanese style, but the broths are incredibly complex and flavorful, the decor is skater chic, and the service is friendly. Plus, Toki offers made-to-order dumplings — pan-fried is an option at dinnertime — and amazing red-miso-butter chocolate-chip cookies. If you’re thirsty, the Toki Monster is a fantastic cocktail that comes with a side of seared pork belly.
If you’re lucky, you’ll get to see Erik Bruner-Yang, recent winner of Cochon 555. He’s busy getting Maketto ready to open down the street, but in the meantime, you can have some of Maketto’s amazing bao at Union Market.
You’ve heard about the legendary wait at the tiny Toki? Never fear! Delivery is here.
My love of ramen is well documented, and you cannot go wrong at Toki. Just not on Sundays, because that’s their day of rest.
The image at the top of this post, taken at Toki during dinner service, was part of the 2013 Smithsonian “I Want the Wide American Earth" exhibit.
Sausagefest! Tip for downtown D.C.’s lunch crowd: If it’s between 11:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. Thursday or Friday, head over to Potenza (15th and H). They grill up pork sausages (sweet or spicy) and top ‘em with tomato sauce, onions and peppers. There’s even a nice outdoor couch area if you have time to sit and eat — I usually grab my order to go.
Ricotta-lemon ravioli with spinach-walnut pesto: a recipe I’ve been meaning to try since seeing the demo on “Cooking for Real.”
After several false starts — no thanks to the “international” sections of Giant, Harris Teeter, Safeway and Whole Foods — I found a whole shelf of wonton wrappers at an Asian grocery store in Eden Center. (Yes, I bought extra to keep in the freezer.)
So happy with the results! (And yummy in the tummy.)