Recently, I headed to what felt like the outskirts of D.C. to a neighborhood called Woodbridge for a special dinner with The Bespoke Kitchen. The Bespoke Kitchen is a special occasion “supper club” with rotating chefs from Eat & Smile Catering, a locally sourced catering company. The chefs plan creative, pre-set menus around a theme using fresh ingredients and interesting flavor combinations. Dinners usually range from $75-$100 per person. These dinners are so exclusive, you can only hear about them via listserv. The dinner had been on the Bitches’ radar and I was excited to give it a try.
The space is casual and homey. The kitchen is just around the corner from the simple ten-person table. You’re surrounded by cookbooks, spices, serving dishes, and Chinese lanterns as you dine with fellow guests.
The dinner that I attended was focused on ingredients sources from the Chesapeake Bay area fresh veggies and fruits, Maryland crab, Rappahannock oysters, and lots of corn. I was excited to dig into the various courses and beverage pairings. We started off with a Rappahannock oyster and alcoholic green juice called Gnome’s Water.
The oyster was lovely–of course–but it was topped with bacon, which clouded the flavor of the oyster and confused my mouth as to whether or not I should chew it or slurp it like the oyster. I never thought I’d find something I wouldn’t like topped with bacon, but this was it. The drink was interesting and unique. It actually tasted like a cold pressed green juice mixed with liquor. If you like green juices then you’ll love this drink. Plus, there’s no guilt because you’re drinking your greens–right?
We moved onto the first courses: Mexican street corn soup and crab panna cotta. I loved the soup. It was served cold cojita cheese, lime, cilantro oil, chili corn nuts, and Cholula aioli. I really enjoyed the crispy corn nuts and the spicy aioli. They added a nice crunch and spice to the soup.
The crab and corn panna cotta was very interesting. The dish was served with jumbo lump crab on top of panna cotta. The crab was delicious and fresh. I would have liked a bit more crunch in this dish, but I liked how it was so different.
We moved on to the summer fruit salad, paired with a Kombucha beverage. The salad was served deconstructed and made with compressed watermelon, peaches, charred tomatoes, and Serrano peppers. The flavors and presentation were incredible. The flavors were fresh and sweet and all balanced each other very well. I was a fan of the Kombucha drink, too. It’s healthy too, right?
The seared rockfish with sweet pea mash and charred corn was a crowd pleaser. The fish was seasoned and cooked perfectly. The pea mash was interesting–I enjoyed it, but peas wouldn’t be my first choice of veggie.
Now, for the course I’d been waiting all night: the fried chicken. I was so excited for the fried chicken, which was served with equally enticing summer slaw and Jalapeño cornbread. I loved everything about this dish, from the flavors to the slaw to the pickled mustard seed. My only issue was that one side of the chicken wasn’t crispy because of the slaw. The Jalapeño cornbread was spicy but not overwhelming.
The blackberry shrub beverage was fine, but I don’t love the vinegar taste of shrubs.
The smoked pork shoulder was served atop a pancake, with spicy greens, and lime sour cream and peach barbeque sauce. My pork was a little tough and fatty and the pancake didn’t have a ton of flavor.
The dessert was also a crowd favorite. This corn crepe was served with grilled peaches and honey ice cream. The ice cream was delicious. I would buy it in gallons. The crepe was light and delicious and the peaches were fresh and sweet.
I had a lovely time and great meal at The Bespoke Kitchen. I left full and happy and better versed in the cuisine of the Chesapeake region. I would recommend dining here if you like innovative and interesting cuisine and need to change up your normal restaurant routine. Be ready for the family style atmosphere and be ready to make friends.
The Bespoke Kitchen
2212 Rhode Island Ave. N.E.
Washington, D.C. 20018