By: Sara Bastian
Photos by: Sara Bastian
Have you ever wanted to satiate both fashion and hunger appetites simultaneously without having to walk too much after having indulgingly stuffed yourself? Well if this revolutionary convenience speaks to your soul as much as it does mine, you might need to check out Maketto, an all in one food and fashion marketplace that remarkably blends restaurant, retail, and café atmospheres into one unsurpassed experience.
Accessing the restaurant through the retail space, we were able to get a mini tour of the 6,000 square foot space as we were led from room to room, each one changing in mood and style – ranging in soft and sleek black and white shades – until we reached our table, boasting an impeccable view of the open kitchen. Warming up our appetites, we started with a mouthwatering appetizer, Crispy Dumplings with Braised Beef (gruyere dumplings, mustard greens, spicy beef), and it was a spiritual yet all too fleeting moment. Moving onto the main course, we were able to get a diverse taste of Maketto’s menu as we shared the Wok Fried Noodles (vegan; wide noodle, mushroom sauce, local vegetables), Red Curry Chicken Soup (organic chicken, spicy curry, coconut milk), and the special of the evening, the Khmer Dry Beef Curry (six minute egg, anchovy peanut brittle), which by consensus was the winning dish.
The message printed on all menus reflects the philosophy of head chefs Erik Bruner-Yang and James Wozniuk, “Welcome to Maketto. Our 60 seat restaurant is our interpretation of Cambodian and Taiwanese cooking inspired by the people and flavors of those respective cultures. Our mission is to build a sense of community through quality, consistency, and accessibility. The doors are always open. Our home is your home. Please enjoy and thank you for spending your time with us.”
Their fun, innovative, and all around gimmicky creation has been widely received and praised, having won the 2015 Eater Award for DC Restaurant of the Year and coming out on top as number one in Zagat’s list of the “10 Most Important Restaurant Openings of 2015 in the DC Area.” The pan-Asian influence of Cambodian and Taiwanese cuisine came to fruition thanks to chef Erik Bruner-Yang – 31 and mastermind of Toki, a world-class ramen stop – and his travels, adventures, and relations to these regions. His wife, Pechseda Nak, is of Cambodian descent, whereas links to Taiwan stem from his mother and time in his childhood spent there.
The retail element of the marketplace is home to D.C. menswear brand Durkl, and serves as its first flagship. Staying open into the night, the store accommodates late night crowds as the bar scene escalates through the evening. The glass-encased sneakers and streetwear apparel however boasts designer prices, juxtaposing the informal vibe of the remainder of Maketto.
The upper level consists of a café, serving Frenchie’s pastries and Vigilante’s coffee in addition to a slender work area. Still bustling in muted activity around 10 P.M., this minimalistic, open space was designed to provide a relaxed, downtempo social locale.
The cool, chill ambience of the marketplace contrasted with the culinary heat and spice, making for a truly unmatched multifaceted dining experience that will transport you into a fusion of good energy, great retail, and amazing food and drink.