Lots of D.C. restaurants appear to be taking a break from using porcelain plates to frame their food, opting instead to parade around featured items atop circular wooden boards that resemble the cross section of a tree trunk.
Woodridge’s forthcoming Momo Yakitori is planning on sending out its Japanese-style skewered offerings, which include everything from mushrooms to duck hearts to waygu beef, on the rustic-looking platters. Eat off them on opening night, which is currently projected for Friday, February 23 (reservations are expected to go live on Wednesday, February 21).
Wholesaler Lipper International is selling the food-safe plates routinely now, only showing two left on Amazon. And Sur La Table’s 13-inch version ($34.95) is cut from a single Acacia tree and features unique whorls and rings.
PRG Hospitality, a local catering company that also runs D.C. restaurants Declaration, Teddy & the Bully Bar, and Lincoln, styles hors d’oeuvres like deviled eggs and croquettes on Lipper’s boards.
“We use them for private events or at off-site events since they’re very decorative,” says PRG marketing coordinator Emma Anzelone. Teddy’s substantial “campfire steaks” star on the boards as well. And Declaration uses smaller ones to deliver the bill at the end of the meal.
Over at Bloomingdale’s newly reimagined Spark at Engine Co. 12, chef Peter Prime is piling Caribbean-style snacks and whimsical desserts — including jerk chicken wings, smoked bone marrow, and the Urban Legend (banana beignets, rum and Coke syrup, and Pop Rocks) — on the stylish serving trays.
Owner Jenna Mack, who took the reins at Spark earlier this year, says her wood-carving husband is responsible for a homemade hybrid: a push pop-friendly log.
Other eateries in on the circular plating action include the new Isabella Eatery food hall in Tysons Corner.
Fainting Goat in D.C. was also spotted sporting the plates for goat cheese fondue.
Excellent belated Valentine’s Day dinner at @faintinggoatdc 1) Goat cheese fondue with grilled bread and shaved fennel 2) Roasted cauliflower 3) Pork belly, udon, curry-miso broth, shrimp 4) Gnocchi, sweet potato, Brussels sprouts, carrot ginger, candied walnuts #goatcheese #fondue #roastedcauliflower #cauliflower #porkbelly #udon #udonnoodles #gnocchi #dc #14thstreet #ustreet #ustreetdc
Not everyone’s sold on look, however. Cork Wine Bar co-owner Diane Gross says the trendy plates conjure up cheesy images as a kid growing up near California’s Redwoods, where laminated wood souvenirs of tree stumps and clocks were everywhere.
“It stems from that,” she says. “It’s touristy.”
She also thinks the “live edge” look in general could have an expiration date. She turned down her architect’s idea to install a nature-inspired bar with a jagged edge at ten-year-old Cork’s freshly renovated restaurant/retail shop (1805 14th Street NW).
“People are doing them now. But in five years they won’t and I’ll be stuck with a bar with a live edge,” she says.