Long-running Georgetown sushi restaurant Maté has a new name, new menu, and a new attitude. “We call it casual glam,” says D.C. restaurateur Mauricio Fraga-Rosenfeld, who is revamping the restaurant at 3101 K Street NW into an all-day hangout called Susheria.
When Fraga-Rosenfeld opened Maté 13 years ago, it had the feel of a nightclub. “Now I want it to be more like a restaurant,” Fraga-Rosenfeld said. “What I want to do is create a place where people can come and do work during the day, have good coffee, stay in the afternoon for happy hour, have some dinner, and by 12:30 a.m., I want people to go home.” He joked: “No more late nights. I’m trying to walk away from that.”
Fraga-Rosenfeld is back in town after taking a nine-year hiatus from the D.C. restaurant scene (he’s behind spots like Chi-Cha Lounge, Ceviche, Yaku, Agua-Ardiente, and Guarapo).
Maté’s new incarnation as Sushería by Maurico Fraga-Rosenfeld is all velvet seating and chandeliers, and the vibe is inspired by the always-busy lobby at the Ace Hotel in New York City’s Tribeca neighborhood. The floor’s been raised so that diners can see out to the Georgetown Waterfront Park and that passersby can see in. “Thirteen years ago, when we built Maté, the park was not built. It was more like a dumpster in front of Maté,” Fraga-Rosenfeld joked.
He worked with Peruvian consulting chef Javier Angeles-Beron (who got his start in Fraga-Rosenfeld’s empire) to integrate traditional Peruvian ceviche into the restaurant’s still-evolving menu, while keeping some favorite Maté rolls. New menu items include Kamameshi (traditional Japanese rice bowls), and there’s an emphasis on the melding of Peruvian and Japanese cuisines, known as Nikkei.
Creative sushi rolls include a Peruvian Lomo Saltado roll with strip loin, cream cheese, avocado, sautéed onions, topped with potato strings, and a Pollo a la Brasa roll with beer-marinated chicken breast, avocado, aji amarillo sauce, and potato strings. Sake will soon be on draft at the bar.
Georgetown has experienced a massive culinary renaissance as of late, with summer blockbuster arrivals from Dyllan’s Raw Bar Grill and José Andrés’ latest version of America Eats Tavern. Next up: chef Johnny Spero’s anticipated opening of Reverie, scheduled for Saturday, and there’s even more in the pipeline, like a Wolfgang Puck steakhouse and Neopol Savory Smokery.
After 13 years in the neighborhood, Fraga-Rosenfeld is feeling the momentum. “All the small operators disappeared. It became like a big mall,” he said of the past few years. Now, he’s noticing more small restaurants and shops popping up, and thinks that the waterfront park and canal revitalization are fueling the change for the better. “It’s a new beginning for Georgetown,” he said.
Status: Certified open daily Monday through Thursday from 4 p.m. to midnight and Saturday and Sunday from 4 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. (The restaurant will start opening earlier very soon. Brunch will be available on Saturdays and Sundays in the near future). Happy Hour is offered Monday through Friday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. 3101 K St. NW.; website.