Tucked inside the back of Hotel Monaco is Dirty Habit, an edgy import that goes against the grain of D.C.'s existing hotel bar scene.
In early August, hotel company Kimpton announced Dirty Habit would be replacing Poste. Kimpton says the Penn Quarter space has a "stylishly dark attitude," but its insane asylum-themed details (a padded room seats up to 10) have been criticized for mocking mental disorders.
There's also a Dirty Habit in San Francisco, and sommelier Sarah Ruiz made the transfer to D.C.'s iteration to concoct such drinks as the sherry and walnut bitters-spiked Seeing Spots and the Matcha Picchu, which combines pisxco, falernum, guava, citrus, and matcha. Chef Kyoo Eom, who oversaw Poste as well, has put together a shared plates menu with items like spicy tuna tartare, fried meatballs, roasted duck breast, hazelnut dacquoise, and coconut lime tarts.
Read on to hear what the customers and critics are saying about Dirty Habit:
The Theme Controversy News: In the City Paper, Dr. Victor Schwartz, medical director at The Jed Foundation, thinks the theme "feeds into the notion of people with mental illness being dangerous or frightening...20 percent of our population will have a diagnosable mental illness in the course of a given year. So this is distorted and feeds negative and inaccurate stereotypes about mental illness and the mentally ill." In response to The Washington Post's story on the insane-asylum theme, one commenter wrote, "Count me among those missing Poste and skipping this. Mental illness is not entertainment and this is beyond poor taste," while another said "having had family suffer from mental illness, it indeed makes me 'uncomfortable' that an restaurant would deem this appropriate. Very unfortunate. I hope they rethink their idea." [WCP, WaPo]
The Fine Patina News: Yelper Christy L., lured in by dark, glowing signage and "gigantic" lion sculpture made of "mismatched hardware," said her first instinct "was to touch everything" she passed. "The walls, tables, seats, and counter-tops all had alluring textures in rich, dark-colored finishes." [Yelp]
The Greatest Hits News: Yelper Timothy W. says the cocktails "are a must try" and "as far as food standouts, the duck was delicious, the hen dumpling filling was amazing, the scallops were perfectly seasoned and the desserts were incredible, including the chocolate flan. The service was attentive and friendly." [Yelp]
The Post-Poste News: The Washington Post notes that some details of its former life are still alive: "Poste chef Kyoo Eom has stayed on to lead the kitchen at Dirty Habit and has crafted a menu of mostly shareable plates that draw inspiration from around the world. His Korean heritage is an influence as well: Eom's large-format braised short ribs, for example, will be served with kimchi." And the bar "will build on the French wine list it inherited from Poste with some lesser-known varietals and regions." [WaPo]
The Food Review News: Yelper Alain L. calls the chicken wings "probably the best I have ever eaten, with an "amazing mix of spices that I have never seen used on wings." The Tuna Tartar was "very good" but wishes the pieces of tuna were cut bigger. And the Chilean Seabass "was also superbly prepared. It was well seasoned and you could taste the smoke used in the cooking process, giving it a very unique flavor." Another recommended order: the homemade potato rolls. [Yelp]