Why Room 11, Rose’s Luxury and Etto are worth the wait, and how to get seated faster


Patrons line up at the hostess stand to try to get into Rose’s Luxury on Capitol Hill. Restaurants that do not take reservations, like Rose’s, are becoming increasingly common in Washington.

‘No reservations’ is becoming the norm, but is it worth the wait? In these cases, it is.

Rose’s Luxury
717 Eighth St. SE; 202-580-8889, rosesluxury.com. (Eastern Market)
Neighborhood:  Barracks Row
Typical Friday night wait: 2-3 hours
The food:  Chef Aaron Silverman’s eclectic dishes such as strawberry pasta and popcorn soup draw foodies in droves. Previously, the Rockville native hung his hat in such prestigious restaurants as Momofuku in New York and McCrady’s in Charleston, S.C.
Worth waiting for: Pork sausage, habanero and lychee salad; smoked brisket, white bread, horseradish and slaw
Insider tip: Friday’s dinner service typically gets off to a slow start, so your best bet is to arrive right when the restaurant opens at 5 p.m.; Tuesdays promise the shortest wait.

Room 11
3234 11th St. NW; 202-332-3234, room11dc.com. (Columbia Heights)
Neighborhood:  Columbia Heights
Typical Friday night wait: 30 minutes to 1 hour
The food:  A pioneer of Columbia Height’s restaurant row, Room 11 has garnered a strong following of regulars hungry for the farm-forward dishes like carrot soup and mushroom risotto.
Worth waiting for: Roasted cauliflower; classic grilled cheese (we promise it’s better than anything you make at home.)
Insider tip:  Though Room 11 won’t take down your number and text you when a table becomes available (boo!), they do seat incomplete parties (yay!).

Etto
1541 14th St. NW; 202-232-0920, ettodc.com. (U Street)
Neighborhood:  Logan Circle
Typical Friday night wait: 1-2 hours
The food:  Much like the ever-popular 2Amys (whose owner co-owns Etto), this 14th Street newcomer is perpetually packed with diners scarfing down Italian small plates and inventive pizzas.
Worth waiting for: Margherita pizza; roasted cauliflower pizza
Insider tip:  It’s a squeeze, but Etto doesn’t mind customers passing time at the L-shaped bar where you can order snacks while you wait.

Toki Underground
1234 H St. NE; 202-388-3086, tokiunderground.com.
Neighborhood:  H Street
Typical Friday night wait:  1-2 hours
The food:  Erik Bruner-Yang dazzles with a Taiwanese-style ramen with robust, flavor-packed broth. Asian appetizers like gyozo (dumplings) and kimchi round out the tight menu.
Worth waiting for: Toki classic ramen; red miso ramen
Insider tip:  Toki actually accepts reservations every night except for Saturday between 5-6 p.m. The restaurant also makes the majority of its lunch and dinner menu available for delivery via Caviar, a third-party service.

Little Serow
1511 17th St. NW; littleserow.com. (Dupont Circle)
Neighborhood:  Dupont Circle
Typical Friday night wait:  2 hours
The food:  Chef Johnny Monis’ Thai sanctuary below Komi (where he is also the chef) serves meals with heat. The tasting menu is a flat $45 and may include dishes such as snakehead fish with lime leaf or pork ribs marinated in Mekhong whiskey.
Worth waiting for: The menu changes so frequently, it’s anyone’s guess.
Insider tip:  Grab a drink next door at Duke’s Grocery while you wait for the hostess to text that your table is ready.  Holley Simmons (Express)

Holley Simmons is the dining editor of The Washington Post Express. When she’s not reporting on local restaurants and tastemakers, you can find her sewing a dress from a 1950s pattern or planting a windowsill herb garden. Contact her at holley.simmons@wpost.com.
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Beth Marlowe · May 22