We had a small preview of the Maketto dim sum brunch last summer during our H Street Brunch Crawl, and have been dying to return for the full experience ever since. We decided to call in reinforcements – our friends Lauren and Pat – so we could order dim sum to our heart’s content.
Our mission was definitely accomplished. After an hour wait (shorter than expected, actually) we didn’t hold back on ordering anything our hearts desired off the menu. Maketto takes its inspiration from Cambodian and Taiwanese flavors, and while I don’t have much experience with either of those cuisines I was excited to learn. As such, we started with pretty much all of the dumplings.
Each version was delightful, from the delicate shrimp dumplings to the pillowy bao buns to, my favorite, the spicy laab shumai. This food is not subtle. It’s explosive in flavor and generous in spice and constantly leaves you wanting more.
Fortunately, we did have more. Our server, who was awesome and wearing the hippest denim on denim ensemble I’ve ever laid eyes on, seemed both worried and impressed by the very ambitious amount of food we ordered.
This was a meal where I honestly felt like applauding each dish as it arrived. Expectations were low for the turnip cakes (for Lauren especially) but we found ourselves going back for taste after taste. The strange flavor eggplant didn’t necessarily wow, but did provide a nice cooling sensation that tamed the spice level a bit. I enjoyed the wok fried noodles more than my dining companions, especially the unexpected but perfectly seasoned kale it featured. The silky texture of the noodles, the crunch of the garnish and the chew of the kale came together beautifully in each bite. Plus, I’m just a sucker for noodles.
Both Lauren and Pat have spent time in Southeast Asia and felt that most of the dishes we ordered were pretty authentic. Although I don’t have much to compare Maketto’s dim sum to, I felt like I’d been transported to another place as we tasted our way through the menu.
Of course, no Maketto dim sum brunch is complete without ordering the Taiwanese fried chicken. This is certainly a dish best shared with friends. Even with four people, we struggled to finish the large portion. The addicting sweet and spicy glaze and impossibly crispy skin was a hit with every taste bud at the table. It took work, but we managed to finish every bite. Our server needn’t have worried about us after all.
Despite ordering all that food, we were shocked to see a relatively tame bill when split four ways. Even more reason to grab your squad and head to Maketto this Sunday for the full dim sum experience.