Food

10 Reasons A Rake’s Progress is the Most Twee Restaurant DC Has Ever Seen

Pastoral poetry is just the start.

Chefs Spike Gjerde and Patrick “Opie” Crooks (hat) go over the dishes at A Rake's Progress. Photo by Scott Suchman

An evening at A Rake’s Progress, Spike Gjerde’s long-awaited dining room inside the Line Hotel, will definitely leave you with questions. Is there a prettier place to witness twilight than inside this former church? Is any steak worth $154? And for these ten reasons: C’mon—where are Portlandia‘s Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein hiding?

1. After a whole chicken is sliced up on the carving station, the server gently places a napkin over its carcass.

2. If you order baked Alaska, the booze will be set aflame with a tall, tapered candle instead of a 21st-century lighter.

3. If you attempt to order a Ketel One martini with a twist (wasn’t me!), you will be told that the restaurant only carries local craft spirits. Also, it doesn’t use citrus. You may have your vodka—made by a female-driven DC distillerywith a pickled green tomato for acid.

4. Your $16 winter lettuce salad will be presented as lovingly as a nurse holding a newborn. Then the greens will be tossed with ranch-like dressing and returned to the table.

5. Menus, which are sealed with black wax, contain verse written by poet Richard Wilbur. Corn planted us; tamed cattle made us tame/ 
thence hut and citadel and kingdom came.

6. Sipping rums arrive with pressed-to-order sorghum cane.

7. The cocktail list is a vintage-y bound tome crafted by a bookbinder in Baltimore, accented with a dried flower in the front.

8. A toasted, housemade (and delicious) slice of white-spelt-and-whole-wheat bread is presented on a silver platter.

9. The dessert menu includes inside jokes and parenthetical notes (someone needs to “ask morgan about alcohol”) and countless exclamation points. At least the oven arrived so you can now get a souffle.

10. My server hugged me after dinner and it was sincere, not creepy.

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Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Logan Circle.