Like a lot of restaurants right now, the Georgetown fine-dining spot Reverie is already taking a big coronavirus hit. Reservations dropped 25 percent last weekend and are closer to half the normal capacity this week. Convention-related private events lined up over the next two months have also been canceled.
So chef/owner Johnny Spero is going hard on a dish with mass appeal: the burger. Beginning Saturday, he’ll offer his gourmet riff on a Big Mac—as well as a whole duck platter—to go for the first time. While the restaurant doesn’t have delivery in place, guests can pickup their carryout orders at the bar. (If you’re dining in, the menu will remain the same.)
The $18 burger isn’t cheap, but it’s one of our favorite cheffy versions around. Spero makes his patty with dry-aged rib eye, then tops it with miso-cured cucumbers, butter-stewed-onions, American cheese-style smoked cheddar, and “special sauce.” It’s served on a classic Martin’s sesame-seed potato bun.
The restaurant will also pack up its whole duck platter, which is roasted in beet juice and licorice, then dusted with fennel pollen. It will be wrapped up in a tin-foil swan. The $115 dish, which is big enough to feed a small group, also comes with a duck-confit katsu sando as well as a shaved-fennel salad with duck-fat Caesar dressing.
“It’s not like we learn this kind of stuff in school, like what happens when there’s a pandemic. There’s no formula for this to make it work,” Spero says. “If people aren’t coming into the restaurant and we can still have our staff come in, even if it’s just to make a couple hundred burgers, that’s something.”