Domku moves into the small-plates business


Domku's gravlax has shrunk in both size and price on the Scandinavian restaurant's new menu. (Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post)

“I got feedback from people that portions were too large to try a lot of different things,” says chef and owner Kera Carpenter. So with the summer menu, which rolled out a few weeks ago, Carpenter went small.

Instead of six pierogi, you’ll get four. Swedish meatballs will be available in half orders. Appetizers, of course, will remain the same size, Carpenter says.

So the question is: Is this a way to get people to sample more or a way to increase the check averages?

“That’s a good question that I’m still trying to figure out,” Carpenter says. “I know when I go out to [eat] small plates, I spend a fortune I didn’t expect to.”

Carpenter emphasizes that increasing check averages isn’t her motivation; her goal is to allow diners to graze across her Scandinavian and Slavic menu without racking up too much money or too many calories. Regardless, she adds, her check averages have remained the same since moving to small plates, somewhere between $22 and $30.

Diners have a few new plates to sample this summer at Domku. Among other dishes, Carpenter has added a Georgian lamb skewer with a spicy, sour-plum sauce; a chicken breast stuffed with spinach, mushrooms and cheddar served in a fennel broth; and a Danish open-faced sandwich called smorrebrod, which will include fried onions, watercress, radishes and thin slices of beef tenderloin that have been cured in the same salt-sugar-dill mixture used to make gravlax.

I know what I’ll be ordering soon!

Tim Carman serves as the full-time writer for the Post's Food section and as the $20 Diner for the Weekend section, a double duty that requires he ingest more calories than a draft horse.

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