Buzz has been astronomical for Maketto, the new hybrid project from Toki Underground chef Erik Bruner-Yang and his partners. What's been the reaction so far? Here's what the first Yelpers, bloggers and others had to say about Maketto.
The Vibe News: Despite only about three weeks of operation, Maketto has a whopping 50 reviews on Yelp and counting. The overall rating is 4.5 stars. David H. on Yelp writes, "The vibe is contagious and if they continue with the top notch service they will be wildly successful." Yelper Adrienne C.notes, "I really hope they take advantage of their large open space to throw summer parties with deep house/indie DJs (the perfect soundtrack for this type of environment)! If they do that my head might just explode from COOL OVERLOAD."
Olivia C. says on Yelp, "I want to say the staircases are so fun and almost like the moving staircases from harry potter." What I Wore Tip to Toe thinks Maketto embodies "Inclusiveness, community-minded business practices, unique spaces and exceptional customer service are what make DC natives want to shop, work and live in 'New DC.'" Don Rockwell user Pat says, "I absolutely love this space, though I found it a little confusing to navigate. When I first saw the stories about the conception of the business however many years ago that was, it didn't sound appealing to me. I doubt I'm remotely near their target demographic. But the execution of the idea has been fantastic." [Yelp, WIW, DR]
The Neighborhood News: Atlas District residents seem to enjoy Maketto, too. Food editor and neighbor Joe Yonan Tweets, "So great to have @maketto1351 in my hood!" Josh NE writes on Don Rockwell, "As a neighbor, let me say that I love how "lived-in" this place already feels. On a warm, Spring day (before the deluge this afternoon), the space was open and airy, sprinkled with a nice variety of people: moms with strollers getting coffee and snacks, friendly neighborhood hipsters, business-y folks having meetings over coffee, and a few folks who just wandered off the street to see what the big open space was. All of the various seating spaces were pleasantly buzzy, but not filled. I really think Maketto will prove to be a beloved neighborhood hangout, regardless of how groundbreaking of a concept it is or is not perceived to be." [Twitter, DR]
The Overall Raves: George C. on Yelp says, "[Maketto] brings an all star cast of DC chefs and entrepreneurs under one roof. Instant classic!" And Andrew H. says, "I am going to have to come back here and try their other dishes, but everything I tried was really good, and different. I haven't tried any dishes like these at other DC restaurants." [Yelp]
The Food News: Eat Style Play writes, "When I looked at the menu, I figured they were crazy to think people want to eat ramen in the hot sun, but I was one of those people to get that Ramen and it was delicious." From Thrillist: A self-described Cambodian-Chinese kitchen, Maketto is offering dishes like bao buns, Khmer sausages, and scallion pancakes. It's a tight, focused menu for now at just 15 dishes split between small- and large-format, but expect Bruner-Yang and Wozniuk to expand and experiment in the coming months." [ESP, Thrillist]
The Fried Chicken News: An early breakout dish appears to be the Taiwanese Fried Chicken. Here's Kathryn W.: "The absolute best thing we ordered was the Taiwanese Fried Chicken with Bread. It's a layer of big chunks of soft bread, buried beneath a mountain of tender, crispy, spicy fried chicken, slathered with a sweet and salty sauce. The bread at the bottom soaks up the sauce. The result is pure heaven on a plate." DCist writes, "Pure, crispy, deep-fried chicken breast on top of milk bread with maple syrup is reminiscent of chicken and waffles. But five spice, slivers of ginger, and Thai chili peppers make this dish unique." [Yelp, DCist]
What to Drink: From Yelper Dana J.: "I would highly recommend the Pina colada which has no pina colada in it but delicious and might even be potent." @pichetong Tweets, "Yes it's good idea to have #coffee & #kombucha same time." UrbanDaddy notes the place's "cocktails created with kaoliang, Taiwan's national spirit. Which is made from sorghum. And bottled at 112 proof." [Yelp, Twitter, UD]
The Counter-Opinions: Early reaction to Maketto seems pretty positive, but there are always some outliers. On Yelp, Annie C. says, "The pork buns were good, but the portion size of the coconut crudo was minuscule and the wok noodles were pretty standard, overpriced and nothing unique. Prepare to pay more for atmosphere than quality of food." On Don Rockwell, HillValley writes, "Admittedly they are going for a look and feel that I don't enjoy: urban, hipster, sparse, uncomfortable chairs, loud music. I ordered the soy milk and Chinese donuts and the pork buns.The donuts were greasy, heavy, and bland. The milk was served in a big, plastic soup bowl which was awkward to drink from. As mentioned above the pork buns were fine. I found them on the spicier side, which annoyed me as there was no warning about the spice." Also on Don Rockwell, Waitman says, "The soup was OK, but in these days of fine noodle soups, unexceptional. The price was right. I, too was unimpressed by the paper and plastic [dishes and silverware]. It just feels low rent." [Yelp, DR]
The design was clean to the point of boring, and the merch predictable to the point of ennui.