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Inside 'Top Chef' Kwame Onwuachi's Pricey New DC Restaurant The Shaw Bijou

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The Shaw Bijou
The Shaw Bijou.
R. Lopez/Eater DC

Bringing national hype and prices to match, The Shaw Bijou made its much-anticipated grand opening Tuesday evening in Washington DC’s historic Shaw neighborhood, Eater DC reports. It’s a venture from Top Chef: California contestant Kwame Onwuachi that’s a year and a half in the making.

Offering limited bookings through restaurateur Nick Kokonas's Tock ticketing system (the dining room contains a mere 32 seats), Onwuachi’s first restaurant promises to serve one of the more expensive meals in the country. The tasting menu runs $185 per person, and that’s before taxes, tip, or any drinks are factored in to the bill. With beverage pairings an additional $95 to $185 per person, a 20 percent service charge, and 10 percent sales tax, dinner for two will fall between $800 and $1,000.

The Shaw Bijou R. Lopez/Eater DC

The Shaw Bijou's kitchen. Check out that spice rack.

What does one get for a meal that checks in at a grand? Cuisine that is "nothing short of global," according to Onwuachi himself. His kitchen is incorporating ingredients such as foie gras, wagyu, quail egg, lamb sweetbreads, and caviar, and it’s operating with an astounding 200 spices on hand. The 25-year-old chef, whose mother is Creole and father is Nigerian and Jamaican, is trained in French culinary technique and an alum of New York fine dining bastion Eleven Madison Park. He previously told Eater The Shaw Bijou’s broad menu is a reflection of his own background.

"I'm not just bastardizing some sort of dish that people have been eating for hundreds of years," Onwuachi said. "It's my interpretation of it because I grew up eating this thing and I have a story related to it."

Despite The Shaw Bijou’s sky-high prices and exotic menu, Onwuachi and partner Gregory Vakiner, also an alum of Eleven Madison Park, hope dinner at the restaurant will be perceived as a rollicking dinner party: "At someone’s home you don’t just sit down and eat — you have a drink and conversation, have some fun," bartender Zac Hoffman told Eater DC. With that in mind, the beverage menu is just as ambitious as the food. Among the rare liqueurs found behind the bar is Curaçao from 1935, with the aroma of "an old church your grandma would take you to," according to Hoffman

Booking is currently available through December, and it appears the DC dining community has been eager to see what Onwuachi has up his sleeve. A look at The Shaw Bijou’s Tock site reveals reservations between the first nightly seating at 5:30 p.m. and final service at 9:15 are moving quickly.

The Shaw Bijou R. Lopez/Eater DC

The Shaw Bijou's bar.

• Pricey and Splashy, The Shaw Bijou Debuts Today [EDC]
• Winter 2016's Most Anticipated Restaurant Openings [E]
• Tracking the Opening of The Shaw Bijou in D.C. [EDC]
• All Openings [E]

The Shaw Bijou

1544 9th St NW, Washington, D.C. 20001

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