575 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20001
Neighborhood: Penn Quarter/Chinatown, Downtown
Cuisines: Pizza, Modern, Breakfast, Chinese, American
Open for lunch Tuesday through Saturday 11:30 to 2. Open for dinner Tuesday through Thursday 5:30 to 10; Friday and Saturday 5:30 to 11; closed Sunday and Monday.
Wheelchair Accessible: Yes
Nearby Metro Stops: Judiciary Square, Archives-Navy Memorial-Penn Quarter
Price Range: Expensive
Noise Level: Chatty
Pork-belly dumplings; mini-burger; fried bass; Arctic char with Indian spices and raita; prawns in Indian curry; lamb chops with a mint-coriander sauce; blueberry crumble.
Lounge menu small plates, $8 to $16; big plates, $12 to $17. Dining room starters, $14 to $19; entrees, $26 to $60.
Special Features: Wheelchair Accessible, Kid Friendly, Valet Parking Available
Cuisine: “Pan-Asian” has become so ubiquitous a term that it conjures trepidation on the part of many food lovers, whose stomachs tighten at the thought of another ill-begotten mishmash of Western proteins and Eastern spices and sauces. No such worries at this confident outpost of Wolfgang Puck’s culinary empire. Puck didn’t invent the genre, but he knows what works and what doesn’t, and he also knows the key is to achieve a synthesis, to produce a kind of exotic neither/nor. His protégé, Scott Drewno, executes the master’s vision with a light touch and oversees a remarkably consistent operation.
Mood: Hollywood by way of the Potomac: cocktail waitresses in short black dresses, a moodily lit lounge-style space, classic rock from the sound system, and swarms of beautiful people congregating at the downstairs bar. Upstairs is a little less electric—and a little less exciting.
Best for: A stylish night out with friends; a blowout meal full of moan-inducing moments.
Best dishes: The best dumplings in the area, delicately fashioned and stuffed with chopped pork belly; perfect mini-burgers; a magnificent crispy fried bass, fileted tableside; Arctic char accented with Indian spices and a cool, vivid raita; plump prawns in a zesty Indian curry; glazed lamb chops with a mint-coriander sauce, the best lamb dish in town; blueberry crumble.
Insider tips: You can order anything from the regular menu in the downstairs lounge. Alternatively, you can mix and match from the two menus, cobbling together a high/low meal of, for instance, sliders and whole fried fish.
Open Monday through Friday for lunch and dinner, Saturday for dinner. Very expensive.