all photos: Sarah Gerrity
As you (hopefully) noticed by now – we take date night reporting VERY seriously here on BYT. So, when a place that somehow perfectly covers all the items on our check list for what would make a perfect SEAL THE DEAL date destination pops-up, we sit up and take notice. Conosci, the new concept-within-a-concept restaurant by Michael Schlow is one of those places.
So, lets run down that checklist:
- A special destination: Conosci, in the vein of the old Passenger / Columbia Room dynamic, is located behind gorgeous midnight blue velvet curtains of Schlow’s Italian eatery Alta Strada. Arriving feels like you opened that door to (date) Narnia.
- Intimacy: at 30 seats, the Edit Lab designed space, Conosci is a departure from Schlow’s bustling, sprawling Tico on 14th street, and a place where you go to BE with someone, as opposed to hang out with someone.
- Amazing lighting: as anyone that’s been to Schlow’s 2nd DC place The Riggsby can atest, the restaurant group has a way with flattering lighting. Here, delicate chandeliers line the bar, votives provide a subtle backlight, and the scheme makes everyone look more soft-focused that Cybill Shepherd in the first season of Moonlighting (this is a reference for people who remember 80s shows, and are therefore people who can appreciate flattering lighting more than people who DON’T remember 80s shows-ed)
- The music: Schlow curates the music list in every single one of his places, and the evening we stopped by the whole table was Shazaam-ing every single slinky, poppy, surprising number. An early hit of the evening included Grace Jones’ cover of La Vie En Rose and it only went up from there.
Yes, yes, we hear you, all that atmosphere is nice, but WHAT ABOUT THE FOOD (& THE DRINK)?
Oh, trust us, it delivers.
Conosci, according to Schlow, is both a flashback to his worst Top Chef Masters nightmares (there’s no proper kitchen) and the king of cooking that comes to him very naturally (there is always a crudo component to a Schlow menu). With that fresh seafood will be the focus, though as excited as we were for those, the vegetable and meat plates were also truly special as well, each dish a perfect jewel box of a tasting experience.
Everything on the menu is both perfect AND perfectly unfussy. Expect: tuna pokes, prime beef tatakis, snap pea salads with radish and mint and pecorino and hamachi with uni and caviar, with the menu changing daily depending on the fresh product availability and season.
While a la carte options are available, guests can also choose from two tasting menus of either $45 per person, or an experience of $135 per person (which invites you to leave the menu entirely up to Schlow, his executive chef Michael Zentner and their team of cooks).
And if our experience at our first dinner there is any measure, for special occasions, you do want to do that.
The cocktail program, overseen by Schlow Restaurant Group’s Christine Kim and Anthony Marlowe, features a not a bar but a vintage bar cart stocked with a carefully selected list of spirits, mixers and house-made juices, syrups and bitters and set up to make all your cocktail dreams happen TABLESIDE.
Cocktails will change seasonally and ‘You, Me, & Boshi’ made with sake, lemon, and umeboshi plum was an early favorite.
And as for dessert: there will be no dessert menu, but EVERYONE will get a dessert. The evening we were there it was a perfectly dense chocolate and caramel pudding, a sticky and sinful finish to the delicately balanced meal before. It was perfect.
Conosci opens TODAY, Friday April 15th and is located at 465 K Street, NW Washington, DC 20001, and can only be accessed through Schlow’s Alta Strada restaurant. Dinner is served Tuesday through Saturday from 5:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. For more information visit conoscidc.com. Like on Facebook at Facebook.com/ConosciCV and follow on Twitter and Instagram at @ConosciCV.