The Oval Room

Then and Now

The Oval Room’s Million-Dollar Update

1ce1777c2f2bdbbb8beafb11a5e01bf8227e6aee5 PhotosThe Oval Room
Picture it: 1994. Clinton, Gingrich. And the debut near the White House of The Oval Room, the third restaurant by Ashok Bajaj, who’s since basically taken over the city.

Fast-forward 20 years, and $1 million later, and it’s reopening Monday after a summer shutdown. Herewith: the then and now...

Then: The kind of fine-dining, white-tableclothed, somewhat monochromatic power spot where you’d have power lunched with Donna Shalala.
Now: Well, it’s not exactly casual, but you won’t find many tablecloths near the front windows. Farther back, it’s a little more formal, but you can sit under a painting by Jennifer Bartlett or two giant light fixtures that look like movie-set lights.

Then: The bar was just someplace to hang out while they got your table ready.
Now: It’s someplace to just hang out, all done up in new wood and Carrara marble. Grab a cocktail like the Scarlett with whiskey, tiki bitters and burnt-caramel liqueur, followed by new bar snacks like duck confit tater tots.

Then: A modern American menu with some Asian and Latin influences.
Now: A new modern American menu with some Asian and Latin influences. Think charred-jalapeño spaghetti, butter-roasted prime steak and West Coast oysters with plums and rhubarb juice.

Rhubarb juice: not just for breakfast anymore.

Elsewhere on the Daddy

More Food in Washington DC