From the hostess in the tight black dress to the bouncy rock soundtrack to the warm, muted light, Wolfgang Puck’s Penn Quarter home is a minimalist set piece. The flavors coming out of executive chef Scott Drewno’s kitchen are clear and pure, and every plate is a staged drama. One might expect the Puck protégé to be more faithful translator than showman, but his understanding and regard for Asian cooking pumps life into the pan-Asian cuisine. One caveat: Prices here soar even as the market tumbles, making this one of the worst dining values in an already pricey neighborhood. The downstairs lounge, however, offers one of the area’s best happy hours for eating: From 4 to 6 you can enjoy three dishes for $20.11.
What to get: Pork-belly dumplings; pork-chive dumplings with Chinese mustard; tandoori Arctic char with raita; duo of lamb (a crusty-edged chop and ribs in black-bean sauce); wok-fried sea bass, deboned tableside; 15-layer carrot cake; blueberry crumble (in summer); chocolate soufflé with chocolate sorbet. In the lounge, miniature bánh mì; yellowtail sashimi with pickled jalapeño; pork-belly buns.
Open Monday through Friday for lunch and dinner, Saturday for brunch and dinner. Very expensive (lounge moderate).