Seven Reasons Will Have an Interactive Tasting Experience Inspired by Escape Rooms

The mysterious menu at Enrique Limardo's relaunched Latin restaurant will involve puzzles and blindfolds.

Seven Reasons, 931 H St., NW.

You’ve entered your name into the waitlist for chef Enrique Limardo’s newest tasting menu experience, rolling the dice for an unannounced date at least a week in advance. You’ve secured your spot, paid upfront, and found your seat in a private room with 13 other diners at the new CityCenter location of Limardo’s flagship, Seven Reasons. But before you get so much as a menu or silverware, you’ll have to solve a puzzle.

“It’s the only way you can get the menu,” Limardo says.

“Surprise” is the name of Limardo’s tasting menu at the newly reopened pan-Latin restaurant, which moved from 14th Street to the downtown development earlier this month. The spiffy new iteration has nearly twice the space of the original, with an indoor waterfall feature, a DJ booth, lush Amazonian decor, and an enormous handmade stone art installation inspired by the tepui mountains of Venezuela.

But for Limardo, perhaps the most exciting change is the “Surprise” menu, which he says was inspired by trips with his kids to various escape rooms around DC. He plans to kick off the interactive, waitlist-only experience in March, after which the dinners will take place two to three times a week, depending on when the waitlist fills up.  

By the end of the meal, diners will have solved puzzles, been blindfolded, searched for menu items under their chairs and tables, received gifts to take home, and eaten their menus. The experience may sound like pure gimmick, but Limardo says “surprise” is a fundamental tenet of his restaurant, one of the titular “seven reasons” behind its mission. 

“I don’t want people to get bored,” Limardo says. “It will be very fun, very peculiar, and very unique.” 

Limardo doesn’t want to reveal too many details of the experience, including the exact price, but he says the meal will range from 15 to 22 courses, and take no more than three hours. He wants diners to feel challenged and develop the kind of bond they’d get from an escape room, but no puzzle or obstacle will take more than a couple of minutes to solve. The menu will draw on Venezuelan ingredients, including morcilla (blood sausage) and Caribbean dried sea urchin. 

“It’s going to be very, very South American,” Limardo says. “I want to recreate some of the most traditional Venezuelan dishes in this novelty way.”

Limardo, who has studied with and worked alongside some of Spain’s most celebrated chefs, fled Venezuela in 2014 after a neighbor was shot to death in front of his house. He initially opened Seven Reasons, his first DC project, in 2019, when it was named Best New Restaurant in America by Esquire. Since then, he’s opened Imperfecto, The Saga, Chicken and Whiskey, Joy by Seven Reasons, and most recently, Surreal at National Landing.

Ike Allen
Assistant Editor