The following review appears in The Washington Post’s 2016 Fall Dining Guide.
It’s a retail store! It’s a coffee shop! It’s a hybrid restaurant, serving Cambodian and Taiwanese food created by Erik Bruner-Yang! Newbies see clothes in the window and figure they’re at the wrong fuel station. Insiders head straight for the spare white dining room, or maybe the patio, for dishes that seduce all the senses. The best-selling double-fried chicken — marinated in fish sauce, breaded in sweet potato starch and shocked with pickled chilies — shatters on contact with the teeth, while the laab shumai on the dim sum menu numb the lips with a splash of Szechuan chili oil. The kitchen dares you to try something different (anyone for anchovy peanut brittle?) and rewards you in the process (salt plus sweet yields a clean plate). Nowhere else have I encountered finer egg custard tarts. By turns flaky and creamy, and served warm, they flag a restaurant that’s good to the last crumb.
2 1/2 stars
Maketto: 1351 H St. NE. 202-838-9972. maketto1351.com .
Prices: Mains $6-$39.
Sound check: 75 decibels / Must speak with raised voice.
The following review appeared in The Washington Post’s 2015 Fall Dining Guide.
The dude who makes arguably the best ramen in town, at Toki Underground, turns out to be pretty deft with Taiwanese and Cambodian dishes, too. Erik Bruner-Yang took seemingly forever to open his second restaurant on H Street NE, but our patience paid off. When Maketto began serving steamed buns with shredded pork and Khmer-style meat dip with crudite in April, the launch also unveiled a retail space and a second floor for pedigreed pastries (Frenchie’s) and coffee (Vigilante) — lots to like under one cool roof. I’m usually here for dinner on the ground floor, somewhere in a dining room that starts with a bar and spills onto a patio followed by an open kitchen with slender counters. And if my job didn’t require me to eat the full menu, I could happily stick to just the fried, five-spice chicken, that warm dip enriched with coconut milk and curry, and a Wagyu bao platter that goes down like Asian roast beef sandwiches. Come with an open mind. Ground duck hearts, brined in nuoc cham and smoky from the grill, could become your new best friend.