Takoda Serves 5-Star PB&J Wings in Shaw
Takoda, the 120-seat restaurant and beer garden from partners Ryan Seelbach and Eric Lund located at 715 Florida Ave. NW, serves American classics with creative twists.
Takoda, which is a Native American word meaning “Friend to Everyone,” has a dining room and bar on the second floor and a year-round beer garden with great views of the Shaw neighborhood on the rooftop with more than 50 American whiskeys and 24 American beers on tap. It opened in March.
Chef Damian Brown, most recently chef de cuisine at Stanton & Greene on Capitol Hill, formerly worked as a baker at Zola Wine & Kitchen, lead cook at 8407 Kitchen + Bar in Silver Spring, sous chef at Vidalia, junior sous chef at Occidental Grill & Seafood, and lead prep cook at Blue Duck Tavern. The Capitol Heights native with a culinary degree from the Lincoln Culinary Institute in Columbia, Md., is putting his own spin on American classics.
Brown said the Southern-influenced menu was planned around the bar and pairs well with beer. “It’s a good balance” between bar bites for those drinking at the bar or larger plates for those looking for a more hearty meal. The menu is available in both the dining room and beer garden.
Think small plates like brisket sliders with cabbage on a mini pretzel bun or a soft pretzel with beer cheese and four types of wings; salads like cranberry kale or grilled romaine Caesar; entrées such as shrimp and grits with a sunny side up egg, pan-seared salmon cakes, a veggie burger made with quinoa, lentils, chickpeas and barley; and desserts like a molten chocolate s’more or creamsicle cheesecake.
During a recent visit, my guest and I started with tater tots that are flash fried and tossed with rosemary and parmesan and wings. The tots were tasty, although I preferred them without the beer cheese that was made in-house from Pabst Blue Ribbon that night. But I think the star of the whole meal were Brown’s PB&J BBQ wings (they also come in parmesan garlic and Old Bay). Now you may be turning your nose up at wings covered in peanut butter and jelly, but these are DELICIOUS. The crunchy wings are coated with peanut butter and grape jelly mixed with BBQ sauce. You don’t really taste the PB&J, but what you get is a slightly sweet BBQ sauce that is finger licking good.
“I make my wings like I make my (PB&J) sandwiches,” Brown told DC on Heels, “with a little bit of peanut butter and a lot of jelly with chopped up Virginia peanuts.”
Expect the unexpected from the entrées as well. The chicken and sweet potato waffle is another winner. Southern fried chicken is served atop a sweet potato waffle topped with pecans and black pepper maple syrup. The waffle is tender and sweet, the chicken friend to the perfect crunch and the syrup adds that sweet yet spicy finish. And bacon lovers shouldn’t miss the Takoda bacon burger made with bacon three ways: two bacon-infused patties and Applewood smoked bacon topped with bacon and cheese fondue. All of that is topped with a sunny side up egg and served on a pretzel bun.
Desserts are just as decadent with a molten chocolate s’more with chocolate lave cake, toasted marshmallow and graham cracker or creamsicle cheesecake, vanilla cheesecake with orange reduction and graham cracker crust. We opted for the seasonal crème brûlée, which was chocolate the night we visited, and the deep fried Oreos. The Oreos served with icing dipping sauce took me to a summer evening at a county fair. They were chewy, ooey, gooey bites of chocolate dipped in a coated and deep fried to a near-molten goodness.
Brunch features several of the same dishes with additions like brisket hash, red velvet pancakes, apple pie French toast, a breakfast sandwich with a fried egg, cheddar cheese and chicken sausage on a hashbrown waffle, and breakfast salmon cake served on a hashbrown waffle with sunny side up egg, cilantro hollandaise and sweet pepper relish.
Prices range from $5-$10 for small plates, $6-$7 for salads, $14-$19 for entrées, $5-$7 for desserts and $13-$17 for brunch. Beer is priced from $6-$10 and whiskeys range from $7-$35. Takoda is open for dinner from 5-10 p.m. Sunday through Tuesday and 5-11 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. Brunch is served from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The beer garden is open until 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday. The restaurant is not handicapped accessible.