Chesapeake Bloom

BY Nevin Martell | April 30, 2018 | Feature Features

A Rake's Progress at Adams Morgan's newest hotel hot spot does more than simply toe the Line.
High windows and an open design give A Rake's Progress a serene feel.

Walking up the white marble steps from the lobby of the hipster yet luxe Line hotel in Adams Morgan, there’s a giant mirror at a slight angle. It seems to signal that things are a little different at this newcomer on the scene. This impression is confirmed when you step into A Rake’s Progress, which takes its name from an octet of 18th-century paintings by William Hogarth tracing the descent of a selfish libertine.

By contrast, this restaurant marks another level of ascent for James Beard Award-winning chef Spike Gjerde, who gained acclaim for Woodberry Kitchen in Baltimore, where he painstakingly adheres to a local-food philosophy. Nearly every ingredient he uses comes from the Chesapeake watershed. The same ethos guides his first DC project. It’s why you can’t get a lime wheel in your gin and tonic. “You can get a limequat though,” he half jokingly points out.

Rake’s blooms around the edges of the second floor of the hotel, while the center of the room is wide open, giving a bird’s-eye view of the lobby and Erik Bruner-Yang’s Brothers and Sisters below. Chatter and music bubble up, but never overwhelm. In the center of the space dangles an immense chandelier forged from brass organ pipes harvested from the church that was once housed in the historic building. The palette here is white and gold, and the lighting emphasizes the sepia tones, so you feel like you’re living in an old photograph. Pause for a moment to take it all in.

A tantalizing glimpse of the action can be viewed in the partially open kitchen. Flames lick chickens turning on open spits; sparks crackle and fly from the grills; and the staff in industrial-strength aprons hustles to put together plates. Offerings change nearly every day. The menu arrives sealed with wax and dated to emphasize its temporality. It doesn’t list dinner choices; it’s supper. “Because that’s what you have when you eat in someone’s home,” explains a server.

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