Food

This May Be The Wackiest Restaurant Menu We’ve Ever Seen

The dessert menu at A Rake's Progress looks like a work in progress—on purpose
The dessert menu at A Rake's Progress. Photo by Jessica Sidman.

Restaurant menus have increasingly become difficult to decode. They’re riddled with obscure cooking terms (what’s paupiette again?) and exotic ingredients—or they’re purposely vague to encourage dialogue between the server and the guest (mackerel/olive espuma/thyme).

The dessert menu at A Rake’s Progress, Spike Gjerde‘s new restaurant in Adams Morgan’s Line hotel, is something else entirely.

The single sheet is folded with a wax seal, which you open like a cue card announcing the Oscar for best picture. Inside, it looks like you’ve encountered a Moonlight-like mistake. Or at least an unfinished draft. Each dish is littered with exclamations marks, questions, shorthand, side notes, and strikethroughs. Here’s the Beautiful Mind-meets-Mind of a Chef description of the baked Alaska:

So…what are we eating again?

“It’s almost like their stream of consciousness notes,” Gjerde says of pastry chefs Amanda Cook and Beth Bosmeny. “I thought their spirit and their personalities came through, so we just went with it.”

Other dishes are crossed-out, which in case it’s unclear, means they’re not actually on the menu:

“I really want to do soufflé but we don’t have the right oven,” explains Gjerde. You can’t get the cider caramel swirl ice cream either—”I’m not even sure why,” he says.

For what it’s worth, the dinner menu reads a lot less dramatically. Gjerde says he still needs to get some more feedback on the dessert menu, but the whole thing is just meant to be fun.

“If it’s not fun, then what’s the point?”

We’ll have a full preview of A Rake’s Progress soon—stay tuned. 

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Jessica Sidman
Food Editor

Jessica Sidman covers the people and trends behind D.C.’s food and drink scene. Before joining Washingtonian in July 2016, she was Food Editor and Young & Hungry columnist at Washington City Paper. She is a Colorado native and University of Pennsylvania grad.