Seven Reasons

Picture: The name is mysterious; the food inspired.

Last Updated: 6/11/2021

Current Status:  Seven Reasons built out a deck in 2019 thinking it would help come summer.  Little did they know.  They are open and you can choose reservations inside or out.  They switched to Tock.  They continue to do one of the better take-out and delivery options in the city.  They also are one of the better places about how they treat their staff.

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Before Times Review:

Last Visited: May 2019

Right out of the gate, Seven Reasons is in full stride.  Under Chef Enrique Limardo, who holds the unlikely dual accolades best chef Venezuela (2009) and Baltimore (2016 for Alma Cocina Latina), the multi-story spot, a couple blocks north of U Street, is serving creative, sophisticated, and delicious pan-Latin dishes.

The cooking is based in Latin American flavors, but the techniques draw from all over, including San Sebastian, Spain, where Limardo worked and studied.  Across the menu are dishes with creative combinations of elements and layers of flavor.  For one salad, the key component is small gelatin cubes of tomato juice, mixed with an assortment of textures and components like cilantro/mint pesto, smoked carrot puree, greens, fried potato strips and truffles.  The sharp and mellow, funky and bright, creamy and crispy are in each bite.  Even a simple, savory pizzelle cookie forms a sandwich for pureed beans and guava jelly.  There are bite-sized plates, small plates, medium plates – close to entrée size – and larger plates meant for sharing.  From the medium plates, the Ravioli de Chucho (Skate Fish Ravioli), is sizable and rich.  The stuffing is fish and slow-cooked vegetables reduced down to a shredded meat consistency with hours of flavor built in.  On top is a creamy sauce of Oaxaca cheese, squid ink foam, and guajillo oil.  A chimichurri of herbs, oils, and raspberry (among other things) accompanied the Wagyu steak special one night. When picking dishes, keep in mind to mix the heavy with light to pace yourself.  And leave room for desserts, which also reflect a creative touch.

The cocktail list is well-developed, with both comforting and challenging concoctions. The wine list is limited, but with enough variety to find something to work with.

The staff and kitchen operated smoothly, as if this place had several months under its belt.  It may reflect the fact that many industry veterans are part of the team.  There is a bar, dining area and open kitchen on the ground floor and more dining space upstairs with greenery dominating as you ascend.  There is patio space in the back that should be open this summer.  Seven Reasons and its neighbor Rooster & Owl are both serious contenders for best new restaurant of 2019.

Rating: Worth Paying for Cab
Cuisine: Latin American
Neighborhood: U Street
Address: 2208 14th St NW Washington, D.C 20009
Reservations: Tock

Other Critics/Voices:

Washington Post: Tom is a fan. Also made his occasional list of current favorite places.

Washingtonian: a dissenting #87 in 2020 Top 100Preview – no thread yet.

Lori: Hasn’t written it up yet, but seemed impressed.

Rick:  Also impressed.

National Press: Also impressed.  Esquire (Best New Restaurant 2019); NY Times; Esquire again (Most Important Restaurants of the Decade).