When the Shaw Bijou opened in November, co-owner Kelly Gorsuch told Washingtonian that the restaurant would also operate as a 24-hour private club—a kind of “social experiment” for select entrepreneurs and creatives. The wait-list was purportedly almost 1,000 people long, even as it drew ridicule on social media.
“The dues won’t be much—just enough to keep frat boys out. It’s more about curating the people,” said Gorsuch.
Now the team has decided to forgo the members-only plan, and open the full second-floor bar and lounge of the converted row house to the public. The 40-seat space is slightly larger than the first-floor tasting room, which continues to serve a $240 prix-fixe (inclusive of tax and tip, but not beverages). A release from the restaurant notes the change in plans was made so that “guests who may not be able to get reservations for the full tasting menu” could try chef Kwame Onwuachi’s food, though online reservation platform Tock shows abundant availability for two through January. Onwuachi was unavailable for further comment.
The a la carte menu for the upstairs bar currently contains dishes that mimic those in the prix-fixe, including seared foie gras with lobster and charred pineapple as well as roasted lamb head with ahi amarillo. King crab has been a star of the tasting so far, and you’ll find it here in a grouper stew with toasted pepitas. Portions will be larger than those downstairs, while prices are smaller; dishes range from $14 to $34. Cocktails from barman Ben Long are generally $14 to $17, though guests can splurge on vintage spirits or wines—a recent glass of ’99 Château Montrose went for $25.