"This isn't a hotel," my Lyft driver said to me declaratively as I indicated it was time to turn. "It is," I assured him politely as I insisted he should turn now. "No, it isn't. It couldn't be just a hotel. What was it before?" Glimpsing The Line Hotel DC more closely as we drove right in front, anyone could easily confuse the stately architecture outside for what it was formerly: a neoclassical church. But the church was sold and, after several years of extensive renovations, The Line Hotel DC finally opened its doors to much clamor in 2018. For those who are keen to fine dining, the main anchor restaurant A Rake's Progress gets most of the glamorous attention, but it is A Rake's Bar which should command the feet (and wallets) of those who love amazing food.
PHOTO: Champagne at A Rake's Bar (c) Sery Kim
From the moment guests enter A Rake's Bar, the stunning stain glass window draws the eyes. Clearly the main anchor of the former church, the golden stained glass takes up nearly half of the very long space above the bar thus casting a large and alluring golden hue. Small marble tables, shaped in a honeycomb, provide just enough room for two cocktails and a dish, but you quickly forget the small space of the individual diner when your gaze goes upwards to the overall ambiance of the space.
PHOTO: Ice Oysters (c) Sery Kim
I skipped the main entrees covered in the "to share" and "supper" because I had, in a highly amateur move, eaten a burger downstairs at the Brothers and Sisters Bar. (In my defense, it was "National Burger Day.") But considering how phenomenal the little plates at A Rake's Progress for sharing were, I will definitely be going back!
After sampling a few of the "small plates," I would have to say the mandatory dishes to order are the Iced Crudites as well as the Cured dish of Tidewater Salthouse Buttermilk Biscuits, Gougères, Raspberry Jam. The crudites were driven in from a local Maryland farm, and the vegetables were the most alive vegetables I have eaten in D.C. They needed no garnishment at all. The same could be said of the Iced Oysters, whose thickness and heartiness were as stout as a burger -- yet without any of the heavy red meat weight -- but the real winner was the Gougeres and Buttermilk Biscuits on the cured dish.
PHOTO: Cured platter at A Rake's Bar (c) Sery Kim
And, because I can never leave a restaurant without trying dessert, I have a broad base of knowledge when it comes to sweets I love -- and sweets I hate -- and A Rake's Progress has the best dessert I have tasted this year in D.C. Cheekily called It's A Cheat Day! the base of ingredients (cinnamon roll bread pudding, benne praline ice cream, candied pecans) sounds relatively benign but it all comes together with an innovative twist where it isn't the least bit doughy as cinnamon bread is wont. The dessert also did not really feel like a bread pudding as well. The closest semblance to a familiar dessert I can think of is a mille feuille, except with a side of the best praline ice cream in the city as well. The restaurant says, "Zero apologies!," for the calorie inducement and I concur!! ZERO APOLOGIZES and definitely order one per person!