No one is surprised that chef Johnny Spero’s new restaurant — Reverie — in Georgetown is generating culinary buzz. After all, the affable Spero has worked on some of the best restaurants: José Andrés’s Minibar, Mugaritz in Spain, Noma in Denmark and, most recently, Shaw’s Columbia Room.
Reverie’s a la carte menu has items ranging in price from $12 to $30, proceeding on up to bigger ones at around $100. But it is Spero’s and his colleagues’ idea for Reverie to have a pay-what-you-want tasting menu for two that has piqued the interest of many (no surprise there).
Called “Friends of the House,” the special reservation offers parties of two a 6 p.m. seating on Wednesday, Friday or Saturday night, with the intent of attracting those who appreciate but cannot usually afford such fare. With a blank receipt given to the diners at the end of the meal to be filled in by them, some might call that “a culinary friends with benefits.”
Here’s the deal, according to the Grace Street restaurant: “Reverie is pleased to offer a six-course tasting menu plus snacks at our chef’s counter for two guests each evening. The menu offerings will change daily. There is no set price attached to the tasting menu, and we ask that those guests only pay what they are able at the end of their meal. Beverages will be available from our regular beverage menu and are to be purchased separately. We believe fine dining and tasting menus should be approachable and attainable for everyone. We see these two special seats as a way to allow more guests to experience Reverie … We cannot accommodate dietary restrictions or allergies for guests who choose to join us for this menu.”
While the special reservations are filled through Feb. 28, there is a waiting list. Dates for March and beyond are not yet available.
In an alley off 3210 Grace St. NW, next to Dog Tag Bakery, the 64-seat Reverie lists its official address as 3201 Cherry Hill Lane NW. Other nearby eateries include Sundavitch, South Block Juice Co., Grace Street Coffee, Neopol Savory Smokery and Chaia tacos.
With the Drink Company’s help, Reverie is Spero’s first solo restaurant. He calls its cuisine “new American.”