A year ago, Ashley Blake was a sales manager for Grand Hyatt DC, and chef Daoud Harris was running his own catering business, making meals for corporate events and yacht parties. But when the pandemic hit, Blake was out of a job, and Harris’s bookings evaporated. Over the summer, they were connected through a mutual friend and decided to team up on small-scale catering and events. The collaboration has since evolved into a “speakeasy”-style restaurant called Tasting Room Georgetown (TRG) that opened February 6.
The 28-year-old chef has worked in kitchens since he was 13 and landed a gig at Waffle House. Previously he worked at local restaurants such as Barcelona and PassionFish. His catering company, Six Street Eats, grew out of a taco truck he opened in Los Angeles in 2015.
At TRG, Harris is currently offering a seven-course prix-fixe menu for $99 to $125 with dishes ranging from vegan cauliflower ceviche topped with popcorn to roasted lamb rack with orange-dill vinaigrette and romesco sauce. But the place also has more affordable all-you-can-eat taco nights and is looking to introduce an a la carte menu. For those who don’t want to dine inside, TRG is on UberEats and GrubHub with a more casual menu that includes casual dishes like crab fried rice or honey-lemon-black pepper wings.
“We’re looking to nail down some rotating menus that we can do seasonally. Right now, we’re kind of messing around with different menus, ” Harris says. “We’ll have core items that will stick around.”
The restaurant is hidden on the second floor of Georgetown Italian restaurant Flavio (hence their “speakeasy” branding). The space has a lounge-y vibe with Instagrammable grass wall featuring a neon light that reads “do what you love.”
Blake and Harris had initially planned to open at the beginning of January—then the indoor dining ban hit. The small space can seat up to 25 under the latest occupancy limits and has a bar, which they’re not currently able to use. But they’re still serving up drinks such as smoky Henny punch, Moscow mules, margaritas.
Even though the space is brand new and not operating at full capacity, the owners already have an eye for expansion.
“Longterm, we want a couple different locations,” Blake says.
Tasting Room Georgetown. 1073 31st St., NW.