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Fearless Critic restaurant review
DC
Food
Feel
Price
7.7
9.5
$40
Scandinavian, Polish
Casual restaurant

Hours
Tue–Wed 5:00pm–11:00pm
Thu 10:00am–11:00pm
Fri–Sat 10:00am–midnight
Sun 10:00am–10:00pm

Features Date-friendly, kid-friendly, outdoor dining, Wi-Fi
Bar Beer, wine, liquor
Credit cards Visa, MC
Reservations Accepted

www.domkucafe.com

Petworth
821 Upshur St. NW
Washington, DC
(202) 722-7475
W Domku
You’ll feel at home here, no matter where home really is

W Domku is a rare bird indeed. The Petworth eatery falls far outside the three Linnaean kingdoms of DC: It’s not a turbo-charged place to lunch, nor does it have a toe-tapping happy hour, nor (despite its name) is it a cheap ethnic hole-in-the-wall for immigrants and hipsters.

But Domku is rare in the more usual sense as well. It’s uncommon enough to find a restaurant serving Polish or Latvian or Swedish specialties; to have a single joint dish out all three is, quite frankly, a bit frightening. To top it off, on a recent winter night Domku proposed a “sunny getaway” specials menu with eight dishes from the Subcontinent. You can’t know for sure that herring and saag paneer don’t mix until you try—but unfortunately, once you do, the evidence against such crass cross-culturalism is damning.

Domku offers self-consciously mismatched décor as well. The loft-like space features exposed brick, unassorted chairs and sofas, vintage lamps and other accoutrements of the bohemian-hip. The servers are young and interestingly dressed, and even the location, in the backwaters of Petworth, can seem premeditated. Despite its various affectations, however, the floorplan is so welcoming and the menu so interesting that you’re inclined to forgive (and even become enraptured by) Domku’s mild pomposity.

The food isn’t bad, either. We cringed at paying $5 for a thin slice of rye bread spread with spiced mayonnaise and an even thinner layer of sprat, but in terms of taste (if not volume), Domku is an excellent value. The pickled herring three ways showcases the flavor of this northern staple, and the carrot-ginger soup is expertly spiced and filling. Domku has gravlax, bison burgers, and eggs and bangers. You can order Swedish meatballs, pierogi, kielbasa, or goulash.

Whatever you decide on, the aquavits—including black currant, lemongrass and ginger, and cardamom—are not to be missed: in fact, hard alcohol may be the only thing to unite the hodgepodge countries whose flags Domku flies.

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