I feel absolute credit is due to Domku‘s atmosphere and food that, in spite of starkly slow service and a bug found on a plate, I still want to go back.
Walking into the cozy and not-too-small restaurant just off Georgia Avenue (and walkable from the Petworth Metro), I felt right at home. Fanciful decor covers the walls and the mismatched tables and chairs create an adorable atmospere, set off by the brightly lit bar (presumably the counter of the hardware store the place was in a former life) and matching vintage chrome bar stools. The excellent taste is unsurprisingly Scandanavian, as is the food. All this reminds me: I need to go to Ikea.
The drinks are inventive and far reaching. The imported beers even include the elusive Baltyka 4, 8, and 9, as well as local favorite, DC Brau. Armenian brandy is available, and the cocktails have names like Orange Revolution. The aquavit list is extensive (if you’re into that kind of thing).
The food is the main draw, besides the delightful surroundings. The Paté Trio appetizer sets you up for an exotic and cultivated meal. My favorite of the three was the brandy and black currant paté–can’t get that at Trader Joe’s. I followed this up with a plate-sized schnitzel. I felt like I was back in eastern Europe, though I’d consider the service at Domku a tad slower. Our table asked, then reminded, then pleaded for more water throughout the course of the meal. Lingering is definitely the right word, but this was not fully by choice.
Of course, the other dishes, potato pancake with lentils, and vegetarian meatballs, were also delicious. Sitting around the small table, rubbing elbows and enjoying the company of friends is the vision the restaurant hoped for, yet the fact that only one waitress was covering the entire place cut into its enjoyment. Still, we were not in a hurry, and even selected the nutty and delicious beet cake to conclude a lovely meal.
Now, on to the bug in the bread. We had noticed a tiny bug on top of the Wasa crackers that accompanied the pickled cabbage appetizer. This we sent back and the dish was removed from our bill. Later, halfway through our meal, the Ecolab lady made an appearance. Either that was a mighty fast response to a call for an exterminator, or our bug was not the first.
The tab for all this was upwards of $30 per person. But strangely, in spite of the slow service, the steep price and the mysterious bug situation, I dreamily wouldn’t mind a repeat. The light bouncing off the raw wood is so bright and welcoming, the location so perfect for Petworth, and the “pan-denavian-ness” of it all makes it impossible not to like.
Maybe next time I’ll return for brunch. I’ll remember to bring the paper, as this could take a while.
821 Upshur Street, NW