Jônt is a newly two-Michelin starred restaurant from Chef-Owner Ryan Ratino of Bresca located downstairs. The team of young and inspired chefs are taking down the walls between kitchen and guests to immerse the diners in a progressive multi-course tasting menu in the pursuit of dynamic flavor profiles. The meal will challenge the seasons, navigate beyond the limits of time and break with tradition— getting playful with process and tricky with techniques at the intersection of place and possibility. Closest Metro is U Street.
For our 10th wedding anniversary, we made reservations to celebrate with dinner here. The timing worked out perfectly, as this was our first indoor fancy restaurant outing since the pandemic started (yet before the return to 100% capacity, which will commence on May 21) and the restaurant was just awarded two Michelin stars a couple weeks earlier. So we feel it was the perfect balance to be able to enjoy the full chef counter experience before the flood gates opened and a rush of diners were ready to check out this hot spot.
We enjoyed 14 courses, with a pescatarian substitution for me, and paired it with 9 wines. The entire evening was lovely - we enjoyed watching the action of the kitchen right before us. The sound track was jovial and nostalgic, the staff were all very friendly and attentive (bonus points for noticing my lefthanded-ness!), and we left feeling very satiated. They knew we were celebrating our anniversary, so the little card at the end with our dessert box was a sweet touch. The only downside was that we were still expecting a little takeaway treat and a copy of the menu, as we are used to getting something like that as a memento from other Michelin- restaurants we've dined at. We thought those extra touches are what makes the extra stars stand out, especially when you are paying a hefty price tag. Nonetheless, we had a wonderful memorable meal and I share our photo catalogue below.
We started with a glass of 2016 Thierry Triolet Vielles Vignes from Champagne, France to accompany our beginning bites of Roasted Foie Gras with charred asparagus and preserved black truffle and Aged Dairy Cow - a potato pancake topped with a cheese onion marmalade. Both bites were delicious!
The Iwate Scallop had great flavor from konbu and shiro dashi with a little wasabi. The Kaluga Caviar was stunning served on top of white asparagus and a buttermilk sauce. Both dishes were paired with a glass of 2013 Vignobles des 2 Lune Comete Crémant d'Alsace, France. The minerality of the white wine cut through the sweet scallop and asparagus.
Next was Hokkaido Sea Urchin with a custard and English peas served with an undistilled sake called Ryujin "Dragon God" Junmai Daiginjo.
A glass of 2017 Jean-Luc Mader Grand Cru Rosacker from Alsace, France was served with Kinmedai - red sea bream in a foamy broth of carrot. The skin was perfectly crispy and salty to counter the sweet carrot.
Our favorite dish of the night was a decant Dungeness Crab Rice lathered with cultured butter and topped with a hefty shaving of maitake mushroom. This was paired with a 2003 Domaine Borgeot Puligny-Montrachet "Les Charmes" from Burgundy, France.
Next, were were presented with a stuffed chicken neck that showed the process of the next course. The Bell's Valley Chicken was stuffed to make a sausage in the style of "zampone" and was served with a slice of breast, asparagus, and vin jaune sauce. My substitution was fire-roasted muscles instead of the chicken. This dish was served with a bright 2020 Peyrassol Cuvee des Commandeaurs Rosé from Provence, France.
A palette cleanser of Cavaillon Melon with wild fennel and lemon verbena had many textures and flavors of the not-quite ripened melon balls and the sweet melon jelly.
Keith enjoyed the Barberie Duck a la Presse with sauce a la royale, while I had a scallop substitution. Served with Japanese milk bread and a glass of 2017 Three Sticks Pinot Noir from Sonoma Coast, CA that was phenomenal.
A palette cleanser of pâte de fruit made from pineapple and espelette. I thought it tasted like a spicy pineapple margarita!
Final main was the Shenandoah Spring Lamb for Keith with morels, artichokes and ver jus, while I had a mackerel substitution. This was paired with a 2016 ArPePe Rosso di Valtellina from Italy that was super earthy.
The desserts started with Rhubarb and Jasmine Rice Ice Cream with vanilla and 20-year balsamic and followed with a Strawberry Sorbet with coconut, makrut lime, and puffed buckwheat. This was paired with a glass of 2017 Oremus "Late Harvest" Tokaji from Hungary.
Finally, we were presented with The Box that included pistachio-honey ice cream sandwiches, yuzu-mandarin pâte de fruit, coffee cremeaux bonbons, Earl Gray-Chocolate tarts, and vanilla Madeleines.