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D.C.’s New Seven Reasons Teases a ‘Surprise’ Tasting Menu Involving Blindfolds

Acclaimed Venezuelan chef Enrique Limardo plans to host inventive dinner parties full of puzzles and escape room vibes

The crispy banana bomb dessert at Seven Reasons.
Seven Reasons
Tierney Plumb is the editor of Eater DC, covering all things food and drink around the nation's capital.

D.C.’s Latin sensation Seven Reasons recently resurfaced in a big way, relocating from its original home on 14th Street NW into a nearly twice-as-large location in CityCenter DC. Artfully plated hits that put the 4-year-old restaurant on the map — including that purple sweet potato ceviche — are back, plus a handful of new dishes too. Diners will have to wait until the spring, however, to see Seven Reasons’s biggest addition to date: an immersive tasting menu simply named “Surprise.”

Daily rotating dishes pop on matte-black plateware at Seven Reasons.
Seven Reasons

Seven Reasons Group, run by Ezequiel Vázquez-Ger and chef Enrique Limardo, rebooted their inaugural, tropically appointed restaurant that started it all in stunning new 8,000-square-foot digs on Monday, December 4 (931 H Street NW). Dinner service kicks off at 5 p.m. nightly, with brunch and lunch coming in the new year.

Its sporadic “Surprise Experience,” expected to start in March, won’t be your average dinner party. Using one of two private dining rooms as Limardo’s theatrical stage, guests can expect to dine while donning blindfolds, solve puzzles and riddles in order to “unlock” the menu and utensils, and get to know their neighbors across the span of a 3-hour interactive affair. Reservations for the meal will be released on unannounced dates about a week in advance, limited to the first 14 guests to secure their spots online.

Limardo is no stranger to making daring tasting menus work. Last year, he earned a Michelin star for his elaborate “Chef’s Table” inside West End’s Mediterranean-leaning Imperfecto. For his latest prix fixe act, Limardo exclusively honors his native South American country with a hyper-focus on Venezuelan ingredients like blood sausage and sea urchin.

R&D for the imaginative meal required Limardo to put himself in his kids’ shoes. One of them is obsessed with an escape room in Arlington, where they’ve cracked the code of just about every nook and cranny. Using that same child-like lens, Limardo will guide diners through a maze of 15 to 22 courses. Guests will also double as detectives, asked to spot aspects of a certain dish around the room.

Spanish artist Marcos Albajez Lopez made dramatic stone murals upon entry.
Seven Reasons
Happy hour starts at 5 p.m. on weeknights at Seven Reasons.
Seven Reasons

Seven Reasons, named Esquire’s No. 1 new restaurant in the country upon opening in 2019, was followed up by a dressed-down offshoot dubbed Joy by Seven Reasons in Chevy Chase last fall. Along with Imperfecto, its D.C. portfolio also includes luxe, Spanish-themed TheSaga in The Ritz-Carlton Washington, D.C. and its lobby-level Quadrant Bar & Lounge. The fast-growing group just broke into Virginia with the opening of avant-garde bistro Surreal near Amazon HQ2.

Prime beef tenderloin with yuca aligote croquette and tatemada sauce.
Seven Reasons

For Seven Reasons 2.0, Limardo and general director chef Jose Ignacio “Nacho” Useche debut dinnertime items like West Coast kusshi oysters dressed with Latin mignonette and “pulling hair” sauce and “Hamachi Tiradito” built with ají amarillo leche de tigre, avocado, crispy seabean, passion fruit glaze, and red onions. A whimsical “Melting Cloud” dessert, torched tableside, showcases lemon custard, streusel, cookie sorbet, coconut foam, limoncello marshmallow, and cotton candy.

Beverage director Carlos Boada continues to serve best-selling cocktails like the “Never Been Kissed” (Ilegal, Singani, sherry, lime, beets, thyme, strawberry, egg whites) and “Kuzco’s New Groove” (pisco, aguardiente, brandy, chamomile-mint, lime, black lemon bitters, ginger, egg whites).

DesignCase’s Michelle Bove, who handled the look of Eater DC’s 2018 Design of the Year-winner Maydan, took tips from the Amazon rainforest to completely transform DBGB’s former home into Seven Reasons. The 2 million-year-old Tepui Mountains of Venezuela were the muse for a massive stone art piece engulfing the restaurant’s elevator and DJ booth. A 15-seat bar fashioned from transparent marble illuminates nearby walls covered in red brick, lush greenery, and a flowing waterfall feature. A wooden tree sculpture hovers over the 130-seat dining room.

Seven Reasons steps up its sceney reputation with a new high-tech sound system to air its Spotify playlist, along with DJs and live vocalists — possibly the return of U2 frontman Bono? — several nights a week.

A tree trunk translates into a circular tabletop at Seven Reasons.
Seven Reasons
Vibrant cocktails employ fragrant rosemary, Latin fruits, and rums.
Seven Reasons