If you’re looking for an incredibly memorable experience, you don’t have to venture far beyond the front gates. Recently named one of Eater’s 21 Best New Restaurants in America, Maketto is so much more than just a good meal. It is, simply put, one of the coolest places in D.C. Erik Bruner-Yang, also the man behind D.C.’s finest ramen spot, Toki Underground, opened the 6,000 square foot communal marketplace on H Street last year in collaboration with men’s streetwear mogul Will Sharp.
At first glance, Maketto appears to be a high-end men’s apparel and sneaker shop. However, the space expands into a vibrant collective-gathering location at nearly every hour of the day.
Want to partake in sunrise yoga? Maketto offers sessions at 7 a.m. Afterwards, head upstairs to the cafe and grab a cup of its artisanal house-roasted coffeeor a treat from its daily selection of pastries.
Not up that early? Head to Maketto for Sunday brunch for some of the best dumplings in D.C. Once you’ve eaten your weight in food, try on some overpriced, but very stylish, sneakers in its downstairs retail space. Unfortunately, it only carries men’s clothing at the moment.
Once 5 p.m. rolls around, Maketto’s bar area is the place to be. Boasting its house-made vinegars, Maketto offers an impressive and imaginative drink menu. Ready for food again? Head back to the communal table in Maketto’s beautifully decorated garden or eat in the kitchen.
Even when dining at Maketto on a Wednesday night, the scene is lively. All of the communal tables are full, as is the back kitchen area where there is additional seating.
Filled with high tables and beautiful black-and-white photography, Yang did a fantastic job transforming the busy kitchen environment into a hip makeshift dining room. Maketto’s modern, minimalist design gives the space a chic, but still traditional, Asian feel.
For a group, ordering family style is the way to go. Begin with two orders of the Pork Steamed Boa ($6), which are just as delicious as they are authentic, served with a plum dipping sauce. Next, try the Wok Fried Noodles ($15). These noodles looked enticing enough, though are slightly bland. Maketto’s Taiwanese Fried Chicken ($25) could put any southern barbeque joint to shame. With the perfect ratio of crispy breading to moist meat, this dish is a favorite by far. It’s also served with warm baguettes to make the ultimate sandwich.
The perfect dish for a large group, the American Waygu Bao Platter ($32) allows everyone to make his own bao sandwich, topped with a host of various traditional garnishes, such as pickled cabbage and melon.
Moreover, the staff at Maketto makes any night special. Unlike those at other restaurants, the servers are engaging. Moreover, Yang himself was working the kitchen line with his toddler daughter in his arms. Few restaurants feel so inclusive just moments after sitting down. From the animated staff to the communal atmosphere, Maketto is unique in more ways than one.
At home in San Francisco, one of my favorite restaurants is Charles Phan’s nationally acclaimed Vietnamese restaurant, The Slanted Door. While Maketto technically serves Cambodian and Taiwanese dishes, it is the closest thing I have found in D.C. to my longtime favorite. That being said, Maketto’s innovative business model and modern decor makes it simply incomparable to any other restaurant to which I’ve been.
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