I suppose there are two distinct kinds of Washingtonians: those who care about Jose Andres and those who do not. Maybe you don’t care that he has brought the purposeful and flavorful cooking of his Spanish homeland to our Bloomin’ Onion nation. That’s your prerogative. And I pity you.
Jose Andres is the creator/owner/name behind the Think Food Group. His name graces such steadfast culinary hotspots as Oyamel, Jaleo, Zaytinya, Minibar, and Café Atlantico. It is this last which he decided to shut down for a year and use its Penn Quarter location to create a pop-up restaurant called America Eats Tavern.
This restaurant was running in conjunction with the exhibit which was at the National Archives until January 3, What’s Cooking, Uncle Sam? Andres and the Archives teamed up to create the menu. On it you’ll find not descriptions of the food itself, but the histories behind them. Deciding on a dish takes twice as long because the diner are caught up in reading about the origin of peanut butter or about how the Waldorf Hotel came upon its famous salad.
The food is low but prepared high. Take the Key Lime Pie for example. It comes out on its plate looking like a modernist painting, but all the parts are right there, and are they ever delicious. The oysters come with a basket of homemade flavored vinegars, ranging from watermelon to pear to red wine.
Just in case you didn’t pick up on the low/high theme, the waitstaff are all dressed in button down white shirts with ties…and wear red Chuck Taylors.
Go ahead and make your reservations now. Getting in can be a bit of a crapshoot, so try not to leave this much history and style to chance.