Heightened Tastes

December 13, 2012

Matchbox-14th Street’s “box” seating literally elevates the dining experience.

Matchbox’s new location on 14th Street NW (1901 14th St. NW; 202-328-0369) has much of the same menu as its three other local spots. It’s got the same 3.6.9 mini burgers ($9-$23) and the same creative, toppings-packed pizzas.

But this Matchbox takes things to another level — literally.

Two wood- and glass-walled booths with tables large enough to seat six hang in midair, a half level above the second floor and directly over the first-floor bar. I requested seating in one of these “boxes” (tables 300 and 333, if you’re wondering) when I visited for a preview dinner with friends the night before the restaurant opened.

It felt like other diners were watching us enviously as we took the private stairway to our box. Inside, I realized there are pros and cons to the seating. Pro: You can spy on others’ meals and decide what to order without needing a menu. Con: If you’re afraid of heights (as I am, slightly), you might feel anxious. Luckily, my fascination with the view was enough to distract me from any fear of falling out (the glass barrier only reached as high as my shoulders).

STUDIO3877 architect David Tracz said he and partner David Shove-Brown designed the boxes hoping to make diners “feel like rock stars or VIPs.” My friend Charlie added another description of what it feels like to sit inside the box: “baller.”

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