Spoken English: A Standing Ovation
Find. Stand. Eat. Repeat.
Welcome to another episode of Hangry Michelle's new favorite restaurant. Simply put, Spoken English single handedly brings together five star cuisine, impeccable service, and a quirky/casual atmosphere. It is by far one of the most exciting dining experiences I've had this year and I urge you to pop into the Line Hotel and search for this very small, standing only eatery. Let's take a look...
As you enter the Line Hotel in Adams Morgan, you'd never guess how to find the hidden restaurant owned by local celebrity chef, Erik Bruner-Yang. It's tucked away through the main floor restaurant, past the elevators and through a kitchen... good luck ;). Vibrant wallpaper leads the way to the quirky space filled with eclectic decor - vibrant and inviting. Two standing tables stretch the length of the restaurant, creating just enough space for 16 lucky diners. The noshing is done standing up as guests can peer into the open kitchen at all of the complexity going on right in front of them. Dinner and a show.
I'd prefer to do all of my dining standing up after this experience. I'm one of those people who hate being stuck in one place for too long, and here the only option is to be up and about. The service is unbeatable. Servers know all the answers and are attentive at every step of the meal - water kept full, dishes explained, messes cleared, food delivered timely - it's just magical.
Kitschy touches like Lego chopstick rests, animated toothpicks, and hand-painted dishware envelop you in whimsy. So what's for dinner?
The courses are all small plates/sharable portions - my favorite. I love trying as many bites as possible without feeling like there are a pile of bricks in my gut. Portion size is spot on here. Each dish reminds me of a classic comfort food dish, but elevated just enough to make it spectacular.
One of our first bites was the twice baked potato with roe and uni. Imagine the best potato skin you've ever tasted - crisp outer skin with luscious potatoes adorned with vibrant jewels of roe and silky uni. I don't even like uni and these went down far too easily. They're a must try.
Are things on skewers your forté? Well Spoken English has you covered. The kushiyaki grill offers meats, vegetables, and even cheese skewered and grilled to perfection. Try whatever mushrooms are in season, the leeks, and definitely order the Camembert. This soft grassy cheese is grilled to gooey perfection and drizzled with fermented honey, smoked olive oil and a set atop a little toast crust. You will not want to share this.
Maybe you're more of a dumpling lover? My two favorite foods: pickles and dumplings. I highly recommend to order both of these things at Spoken English. The pickle plate changes seasonally, and offers a range of sweet, sour, and salty - a really fun tasting adventure.
The chicken skin dumpling is just that: a dumpling made of chicken skin and filled with dried shrimp, salted cod, and Chinese sausage. It was intriguing to me because I expected a crunch like fried chicken, but it's more of the roasted chicken skin texture filled with an umami bomb. It's niiiiice.
The Main Event
If you don't go to Spoken English specifically for the Chicken Yakitori, you're doing it wrong. This symphony of textures and flavors is by far the most exciting culinary journey in DC at the moment. Just look at that spread below! Utilizing all of the parts of the chicken, you'll experience chicken liver mousse, grilled heart, thigh, and gizzard (drooling emoji); there's crispy chicken skin to snack on, a chicken meatball with a fermented egg yolk, a warm cup of chicken broth for sipping and settling, and the piece de resistance: the wing. Holy hell you guys, this chicken wing has been hollowed out, pureed with black truffle and chicken liver mousse and then stuffed back into the wing skin to be fried and dipped in pistachios. It was like fireworks going off in my brain. I just could not comprehend how delicious something so simple could be. Imagine the most luxurious, velvety, chicken nugget in wing form. I dream of this dish and would add it to my list of last meal requests.
The thoughtfulness of sharing throughout the meal is so appreciated. For easy sharing, larger portioned skewers come with two skewers, which makes it easy to cut in half and share. It's little details like this that bring me such joy. Please go eat this right now.
Maybe you don't have room for dessert, but don't fret, they'll send you off with something sweet. Homemade caramels in edible rice paper wrappers leave a sweet taste and a lasting impression as I head out. Studded with tiny animated toothpicks, which must tempt every diner to swipe, it makes the bill that much easier to digest - as if it weren't easy enough!
Finish your evening with a selfie in the iconic Line Hotel mirror and get ready to make another trip back to this tantalizing hideaway.
Three Hangry Stars for Spoken English!
Tuesday – Saturday: 6pm – 12am
1770 Euclid Street NW
Washington DC 20009