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 distillery—with 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.