Once she assumes sole control of Himitsu, co-founder Carlie Steiner will reportedly change the name of the nationally recognized Petworth restaurant to Pom Pom.
Washington City Paper reports that Steiner is giving the Asian-leaning, cuisine-hopping small plates restaurant a total rebrand after founding chef and partner Kevin Tien leaves to focus on opening Emilie’s, his huge solo project in Capitol Hill, midway through September.
Steiner tells WCP that the name change is part of her goal to “get our whimsy back” and make the restaurant about “just goddamn fun.” The new name reflects her love of the Mexican and Bolivian pom poms that decorate her nearby apartment and Dos Mamis, the bright cocktail bar across the street from Himitsu that she recently opened with Taqueria del Barrio owner Anna Bran-Leis.
Considering that a new chef is coming in, Steiner and Tien agreed to take off all of his creations, and Steiner plans to redecorate, a name change is the logical next step. Amanda Moll, formerly a sous chef at Southeast Asian kitchen Doi Moi, is stepping into her first executive chef job and working with Steiner on a host of new dishes that will add Middle Eastern influences to the Asian, Latin American, and Southern flavors already at play.
“The food itself, I’m feeling like I get to have a lot of input in that,” Steiner told Eater earlier this month. “It’s really collaborative.”
Tien plans on working his last day at the 3-year-old restaurant, a 2017 pick for Eater’s 12 best new restaurants in America, on Sunday, September 15. According to WCP, Moll and Steiner will introduce the new Pom Pom menu on Wednesday, September 18.