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.