Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s green eyes flash with amusement as I launch into a tirade of questions about the DC food scene. Jean-Georges is holding a plate of appetizers during a tray-pass reception at the downstairs Wine Bar at the W Hotel Washington. I’ve captured his attention for a few minutes, battling other reporters and bloggers with notepads and cameras out, much like myself.
“So with all the celebrity chef steakhouses in DC, what sets yours apart?” I ask coyly. “Only half our menu is steak,” he responds quickly, “and our appetizer list is like a best-of from all my restaurants.” “So why DC, what made you choose DC?” I ask. “My relationship with the W, they approached me, it seemed like a fit,” Hmm, I thought, I wonder how he views DC, if this wasn’t a concept he came up with on his own. “So the DC food scene, has it arrived or is it on it’s way?” I ask. “Oh, Komi rivals any restaurant in New York!” Vongerichten responds, making a plug for his old friend from France. And suddenly Jean-Georges has a second reporter touching his arm and he is pulled in another direction. He shoots me a grin, and with that he’s off. (He returns later to pointedly offer me a mini-mini burger, only to dash off again.)
And so there I am, in the crowded basement of the W, sipping cocktails, ruminating on the hotel and making conversation. I’m here to try all of Vongerichten’s food, but also to check out the scene on the deck at POV, attempting to answer all the questions Jenn asked in We Love DC’s first post about the W, written when Jenn visited before it opened. What is the scene going to be? Jenn pondered, saying it will only be answered when the bar is filled with people. And last night, it certainly was full to the brim with all kinds of people, food and fanfare. Continue reading