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A Michelin-Starred D.C. Hotspot Has Reopened After a Hearth Shut it Down in 2022

A Michelin-Starred D.C. Hotspot Has Reopened After a Hearth Shut it Down in 2022

It’s been more than a year and a half since Johnny Spero’s Michelin-starred Reverie went up in flames—literally. The Washington, D.C., restaurant burned to the ground in August 2022, with Spero losing his book collection, knives, and recipe notebooks along with his highly lauded tasting-menu spot. But like a phoenix, Reverie has been reborn from the ashes, with the renewed restaurant reopening on Tuesday.

“Saying that I’m excited to be back in the kitchen at Reverie really doesn’t do it justice,” Spero said in a statement. “It’s a mixed bag of emotions; lighting the stove again, relearning the muscle memory from spending four years in this space and now transforming it into something entirely new. The restaurant is still a familiar place; it just feels like it grew up a little bit. We talk about fire preserving rather than destroying, which I think is important because I don’t want to lose what Reverie was. We are just picking up where we left off the day before the fire, continuing the story with a couple small edits.”

Lobster tail

Rey Lopez

Those changes don’t apply to many of the aspects that made Reverie a hit in the first place, though: The $255 draws on Spero’s Mid Atlantic childhood along with his travels across the world. While Reverie was closed, for example, Spero took the concept on the road, visiting American locales like San Francisco and Maine along with faraway cities such as Kyoto and Seoul.

With a focus on coastal, seafood- and vegetable-forward cuisine, the menu features a number of new dishes, but it also brings back some of Reverie’s fan favorites. That includes scallop in an edible shell with yuzu kosho, sunchoke, and black trumpet mushrooms; lobster tail with melon-seed milk, rice honey, and fennel pollen; and strawberry gochujang sorbet with frosted geranium, lemon verbena, and green juice. There’s both a wine and a non-alcoholic pairing available, with an eye toward sustainable and low-intervention options, including those from Ruinart, Non, Unified Ferments, and Jörg Geiger.

Scallop

Scallop

Rey Lopez

The intimate alleyway space—with just 36 seats—has been redesigned as a welcoming, open space. When guests enter, they encounter a Japanese stone garden that invites them to exhale and leave their worries outside. The dining room reclaims the fire using shou sugi ban, the Japanese technique of preserving wood by charring it: Here, columns are wrapped in black Japanese burnt wood. Natural light and an open kitchen are a couple of the more traditional fine-dining details.

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Reverie’s reopening is a welcome return for one of the country’s best chefs—and, again, like the phoenix, the restaurant is hoping to soar.

Source: Robb Report

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