Best Seat In The House: The Mirror, Washington D.C.
Chef Tim Ma on his after service hangout spot.
May 13, 2019 ● 2 min read
By Richie Nakano | Photo via The Mirror
Running a hotel restaurant is the closest most chefs will come to being the commander of a submarine. The kitchens are huge but so packed with bodies that space comes at a premium. The ebbs and flows of a normal service vacillate wildly, depending on holidays and whether there are any conventions going on in town. If you need a kitchen scale, well it might just be down two floors in the pastry department. Yet Tim Ma manages to do all of this at "American Son" inside D.C.’s Eaton Hotel. After a long service, he goes for a drink at The Mirror.
How to get in:
“It’s in the basement of a vacant building, you go down the stairs and you don’t really know how to get in. You go through the door and you’re in a little vestibule and in the vestibule is a single mirror with a “For Rent” sign next to it. There’s no handle so you have to grip the side of the mirror to open it, and it opens into a dimly lit bar that’s always packed. It’s a real speakeasy. The first time I went there I had no idea how to get in.”
What to drink:
"It can be anything, you can get a shot and a beer, or they have a list of classic cocktails that are all done really well and are really strong. They make their own Fireball that's not on the menu, but they’ll just give it to you. Sometimes they have a housemade limoncello that’s also off menu. So they’ll be like: 'Here’s your beer, shot, and limoncello if you want it.'”
When to go:
“It’s on K street and a lot more people are starting to know about it. If you go during happy hour, it’s mostly buttoned-up suit types, but late night it’s a much more diverse crowd. It’s getting really busy because they’re just so good at what they do.”
Where to sit:
“We sit at the bar sometimes to hang out–there’s not really that much table space, but there's really not a bad place to sit.”