Wolfgang Puck's modern Asian restaurant the Source will close for two weeks on Aug. 3 to undergo a full makeover of its dining room and lounge. But it looks like the more interesting changes will be to the menu, not the aesthetics. Here are five things to look forward to from chef Scott Drewno this fall:
A Wok Station With Two-Person Chef's Table
When the Source opened in 2007, a small kitchen in the downstairs bar and lounge area served pizza. But the restaurant quickly realized that people were gravitating to the modern Asian food upstairs and ditched the pizza. Needless to say, the kitchen was never set-up to serve to Chinese food. The renovation will remedy that with a new wok station and Chinese steamers. The area will also have a two-seat chef's counter where Drewno plans to eventually offer a special tasting menu that isn't available elsewhere in the dining room.
A Hot Pot Table for Four
After several trips to China, Drewno hasn't found much in D.C. that resembles traditional hot pot. (Uncle Liu's in Falls Church is the closest he's seen.) Rather than just ordering a bunch of stuff and dumping it into the pot, Drewno says there should be a progression. "The idea is to take a great broth and continue to season it with what you're cooking in it," he says. Ideally, you start with meats, then move on to seafood, then vegetables, and lastly, noodles and dumplings.
Drewno worked with local woodworker Art Drauglis to design a four-person hot pot table upstairs with an induction burner built in and plans to serve the Chinese specialty this way. Each hot pot will come with "hot pot enhancers," including housemade chili paste, soy sauce, sesame paste, and Szechuan peppercorns. Guests will have to make a reservation at least one day in advance. There will be one seating per night, which may possibly expand to two.
A Roving Tableside Soup Cart
A cart roving the upstairs dining room will carry a soup tureen to different tables. Drewno plans to start with a "reinterpretation" of wonton soup with housemade dumplings. The cart will also carry a number of accoutrements, including tea and soy-poached eggs, herbs, and leafy greens, that will be added to the soup in front of diners. Guests will be able to order individual bowls or share smaller portions. Drewno has a couple other soup recipes he plans to rotate in.
More Family-Style Dishes
I've said it before: big plates are the new small plates. The Source has long offered a whole fish—one of its biggest sellers. But Drewno plans to introduce a whole section of large format dishes on the new menu that are meant to be split by at least two people. Look out for whole lobsters, an additional whole fish dish, a whole duck (half is currently available) with two different preparations, and some sort of steak plate.
A $49 Lounge Tasting Menu
The Source's current tasting menus can get pricey. But after the renovation, the lounge will offer a $49 per person option. The deal will start with five small snacky dishes, like Chinese pickles or warm eggplant dip. Then, diners will be able to each order anything they want off the all-new lounge menu, which will include 20-something items like bao buns or dumplings. The final course is shared Chinese barbecue like roast pork or duck.
Photo by Jessica Sidman