Image: Cake! Almost to scale.
Last Updated: 7/11/2020
Current Status: The Line Hotel opened July 1. A Rake’s Progress did not make it to opening. For now, the lobby dining choice is Café Spoken – a café serving Japanese cuisine, for take-out and limited self-seating.
Before Times Review:
Last Visited: October 2019
The former space of an old grand church has been converted into the lobby of a new, chic hotel. In the lobby they have put two new restaurants. The modern Asian-influenced cuisine of Brothers and Sisters is downstairs and mid-Atlantic New American A Rake’s Progress is upstairs. The vibe is at Brothers and Sisters is cool, with bars on either sides of the lobby, and tables scattered in the central floor space. As a result, you dine among hotel guests loitering in the lobby or wandering through to check in. Somehow it works.
The menu was toned down from its early edginess to something more approachable [NOTE: Sam Adkins was added as chef and has been revamping the menu since this review]. It is not so-much Asian fusion as it is New American with Asian flavors. If you went early on and were put off, it might be worth a revisit. Now the menu has sections that read: Snacks, Toasts, Salads & Sides, Pastas, Surf or Turf. Despite the conventional headings, there are still twists. The fries sprinkled with Nori retain the familiar with a twist theme. Tuna is less a mixed ceviche as a composed one with pieces sitting in a shallow bath of sauce. The tang, salt, sweet elements work well together. Every cavatelli dish over several visits impressed. While there are several dishes that are worth a walk out of the way, some dishes are more pedestrian. The toasts are simple, and nowhere near what Tail Up Goat is doing around the corner. Blue cheese stuffed wontons in a broth sounded promising, but the broth had more intensity than the wontons. The pickled shiitakes do manage to add pop to a straight-ahead flat iron steak.
The desserts do sing. Under pastry chef Pichet Ong, they are all are in form of cake, amply portioned, and award-winning. Find a friend to split a slice.
The place has settled in in other ways as well. Service is pretty solid. There are many industry vets associated with the opening of the venture and it shows. One of them was Todd Thrasher, who is a respected mixologist usually operating on the Virginia side of the river. The cocktails remain a home run. The wine list covers the bases.
While market demands are understandable, some of the early creativity – the octopus tentacle “hot dog” for example – was exciting. As they continue to refine, it would be a shame if they bend too much to crowd accommodating over thought provoking. Brothers and Sisters has become more of a bar that serves very good food than a restaurant that serves great drinks. It is still worth a trip out of the way.
Other Guidance: Vegetarians and GF can do well here with many veggie options. The crowd matches the open and eclectic vibe – including permitting dogs in.
Washington Post: 2.5 from Tom.
Washingtonian: Limpert takes in all the places at the Line Hotel, and is positive about Brothers & Sisters.