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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Thing 68: W Domku

Some of you remember a time when I lived in Petworth. I lived there for a couple years in fact, way up north on Gallatin Street in that formerly Jewish, currently Black and about to be White gentrifying neighborhood. I lived in a house with vegetable garden in the back yard, two friendly dogs, marble counter tops and no central air. It was a bit removed, a bit inconvenient, but overall a really great place to live.

Back then, my local was a bright and funky Scandinavian joint on Upshur: Domku. And I was tickled to be able to go back last night, to eat and drink with old friends over plates of smoked fish and pierogies.

Domku's storefront blends in on the block
Domku is located an easy three block walk from the Georgia Avenue - Petworth stop on the metro, on a very unlikely block. If you weren't seeking it out, I doubt you'd find it. It's tucked away on a commercial block of a residential neighborhood, a simple store front surrounded by a greasy Chinese takeout counter, a liquor store, a dry cleaner and a church.

Inside, the decor is bright and inviting, a bit eclectic and lived-in. It's a little bit like the coffee shop from Friends meets an art gallery. Large couches and mismatched tables from the Central Perk meets art gallerySalvation Army fill the room, with paintings hung on brick walls, a canopy that changes with the season hanging from the ceiling, and ornate antique chandeliers. It feels a lot like Tryst, but without trying so hard.

Jenny likes itThe theme of the menu is Russian and Scandinavian, a cuisine you may not be used to and in fairness, you may not like. Although meatballs and potato dumplings are pretty appealing, pickled herring and smoked sprats are not for everyone, which GFD and I once learned after an unfortunate bout of fearlessness and optimism. This time, I stuck to what I know: a salad with house cured salmon, salty and rich and decadent, and Swedish meatballs served with lingonberry jam and creamy mashed potatoes.

Domku: Salad with house cured gravloxThe heavy meatballs get a nice pick me up from the sweet jam, and the mashed potatoes are smooth and rich, heavy on cream and butter and quite filling on this warm autumn day. (Can we have a word about the weather please? I want it to get chilly. I want leaves to change. It is nearly November, and what is going on?).

Domku's Swedish meatballs with lingonberry jam

Jenny had a red onion and cheese pie, a little galette looking thing with a flaky crust and a filling heavy on the onions. And Jessica Jenny's mealhad the pierogis, those Polish dumplings filled traditionally with mashed potatoes and served slathered with dill and sour cream. Jessica has spent a good bit of time in Russia, so I trust her when she says those were some good pierogies. The menu also includes toasted sandwiches, stuffed cabbage rolls, sausages with 'kraut, and beet salad. If you are an Ashkenazi Jew like me, or if you yearn to try Slavic and Scandinavian cuisine, this is probably the best (and I think the only) place to go.

The drinks menu is where things really start to get interesting. They carry a wide selection of beers both bottled and on tap from Eastern Europe and Russia. I highly recommend the Baltyka series, which is numbered according to potency (a word of warning, don't drink more than one "9." You'll be unhappy in the morning). Domku also serves aquavits, made in house. These flavored vodkas that are popular in Nordic lands come in a dozen different flavors from the tame (orange) to the unusual (dill, rose petal or caraway). You can order them by the shot, in flights of three, or in one of their house cocktails, which are named things like the "Warsaw Uprising" and contain strange ingredients like herring juice.

We spent a couple hours at Domku, eating and drinking and then eating more and drinking more until we were sated and tired. The days when I lived a stone's throw from the place are long gone, but it was so nice to be back.


KevStar said...

Domku is such an unknown gem. I've been inspired to play around with infusing vodka due to visits there--it's quite simple and the payoff is immense.

Jessica said...

Thank you for the shoutout as a pierogi (or piroshki) coniessuer. I would be glad to taste test such Russian food goodness at any time for the sake of evaluating such delicious foodstuffs. I also recommend the Bulgarian goat cheese salad!

dc365 said...

kevstar - sounds delicious!

jessica - looking forward to our next Tuesday kind of place.

Kelly Mahoney said...

I live in Petworth now and my landlord raves about this place. I'll have to make a pilgramage.