We recently tried steamed buns, shrimp dumplings, and braised beef rice bowls from Ten Tigers Parlour in Petworth and thought: a) delicious! and b) weird, tastes like Maketto. As it turns out, it is Maketto—or at least a bar-friendly version of the food at the H Street hotspot. Chef Erik Bruner-Yang and his team were recently brought on by Ten Tigers co-owners Ian and Eric Hilton and Scott Herman to revamp and execute a new menu for the Asian bar.
When Ten Tigers opened late last year, replacing Chez Billy, the all-day menu of Asian street fare and pastries was designed by chef Tim Ma of Shaw’s finer-dining French/Asian spot, Kyirisan. Ian Hilton says patrons approached the space like a restaurant, when the vision was much less formal.
“The goal out of the gate was not to be a restaurant, more of a bar,” says Hilton. “When we came out of the gate with Tim—all credit to Tim—he has a reputation. He was trying to push the envelope and treating it very much like he would Kyirisan.”
Bruner-Yang describes the new menu, offered only in the evening (and delivery), as “Maketto 2.0 bar snacks.” Drinkers can graze on Maketto’s signature leek or roasted pork buns, springs rolls, dumplings, and lettuce cups with crispy shrimp in walnut sauce. For something more filling, there’s a cold noodle bowl with veggies and herbs, and a warm rice bowl with pickles and a fried egg; both can be topped with grilled chicken, crunchy shrimp, braised beef, or tofu. All are available during what Hilton calls an “aggressive happy hour,” where beer, wine, and cocktails are just $3 (weeknights and Friday, 5 to 7 PM).
Bruner-Yang and his team are also using the Ten Tigers kitchen as a testing ground for dishes at Brothers and Sisters and Spoken English, his forthcoming restaurants in the delayed Line Hotel. You may find a special here and there, though overall the idea is to keep things simple.
“If Ten Tigers maintains itself as a nightspot, it works for us,” says Bruner-Yang.