Image: Chicken Mole
Last Updated: July 2021
Current Status: Dine-in service only.
Overview: Imperfecto is from the team behind Seven Reasons, and there is something about it that we can’t quite nail down. Imperfecto is inscrutable. Let’s start with what it is not. It is not a replica of Seven Reasons. At Seven Reasons the food is playful, sometimes bawdy, and is a cross between the flavors of Chef Latin America and the cuisine of Spain. With Imperfecto, it is less mad scientist than it is a skilled clinician assembling with precision dishes that meld Latin American cuisines with dishes from across the Mediterranean. As a result, the dishes are creative but strangely safe. Like its noble neighbor Ris, it is the kind of place that you can bring clients or parents when they come to visit – and pick up the tab. That does not mean it is boring, Chef Enrique Limardo’s cooking remains inventive, but will not scare off less adventurous diners. The chicken mole has two sauces that play off each other, tuna tartare served with large fried tortilla rounds, and the octopus dish. The desserts were hits on our first visit. Pastry chef Génesis Flores comes from Seven Reasons and did a cake pop-up out of the space in 2020. The wine list is thoughtfully constructed by Raquel Ortega (formerly of Del Mar) to match the cuisine and distilled to a few key wines from different countries. But one note of caution, the mark-ups seem steep on some bottles, but the more interesting the wine the less the damage.
The space is a large dining room with two-story window across the front. The dominant coloring is blue and white, hinting at the originally-intended occupant – a chef from Greece that decided to back out of a project. Sitting in the large room with voices echoing off the walls and floors brought back memories of pre-covid dining.
So, Imperfecto is adventurous but safe; raucous yet formal; expensive yet bohemian; Mediterranean yet Latin. The imperfection that is revealed is that of the critic attempting to capture this place. So we will have to go back.
NOTE: Initially, they included a 22% service charge in lieu of tip. Now they have a 5% charge for the kitchen staff, but not in lieu of tip for the floor staff. We applaud this effort to improve pay, but it is not clearly explained.
Cuisine: Latin American
Neighborhood: West End/Foggy Bottom
Address: 1124 23rd St NW, Washington, DC 20037
Washington Post: Tom generally approves.
Washingtonian: Preview with pictures of the Santorini-esque décor.
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