At the start of the pandemic, chefs Kiran Saund and John Snyder reimagined what fine-dining should look like for the takeout era with their luxe tasting boxes, which they initially sold exclusively via Instagram. Now, the Saund & Snyder couple—he’s s a Minibar alum and she’s a sommelier who also has a culinary arts degree—are opening a brick-and-mortar restaurant. And they’re again taking a different approach to high-end cuisine, this time with a tasting menu made up exclusively of finger foods. “You couldn’t get a spoon if you asked for one,” Snyder says.
The restaurant, opening in November, is a partnership with Market Street Diamonds owner and jewelry designer Dino Lonzano and will be located in the basement cellar of the Georgetown shop—hence the jewelry-inspired name: The Setting. Lonzano is a first-time restaurateur, but as he tells it, he was motivated to open his own place after a disappointing outing for an old fashioned and caviar back in 2019: “I thought, we can do this better.” He was introduced to the chefs through Saund’s sister, who got her engagement ring designed at his shop and casually mentioned their burgeoning culinary business.
The 30-seat lounge with red banquettes and a bar features infinity mirror floors—”the same as the mirrors they sell Lamborghinis on,” Saund says. The ceiling is covered in images of watch faces. “Dino’s a watch guy. He loves the Rolexes,” Snyder explains. (He also has his own military watch collection.)
Snyder and Saund are putting together a 10-course menu of what they describe as “flavor bomb” snacks utilizing plenty of luxury ingredients (including, yes, caviar). One course combines Hokkaido sea urchin with winter melon and shiso. Another dish includes golden potato fritters with fromage blanc and preserved chanterelles. Skewered A5 wagyu, paired with leeks and horseradish, will be seared tableside. For dessert, the chefs will serve the macarons that were a staple inside their delivery boxes.
“The space is really funky, it’s whimsical. And we wanted something edgy that wasn’t necessarily being done,” Snyder says of the decision to forgo utensils. Saund adds that they were inspired by their love of finger-friendly street foods. The price tag, however, is definitely fine-dining: $140 per person, not including tax and tip.
Bartender Nick Hopkins, who previously worked at Summer House Santa Monica and Stella Barra Pizzeria, is behind the cocktails, which will be available a la carte or as pairings with the tasting menu. The twists on classics will highlight fresh juices, infusions, and some other experiments.
Reservations will go live Oct. 22 for an early-to-mid-November opening.