Lots of Dots: 5 Dishes Evoking Yayoi Kusama’s Vibrant Pop Art
April 7, 2023 @ 2:00pm
Try these five dishes reminiscent of the many dots in Yayoi Kusama’s “Infinity Mirrors.”
When the Hirshhorn Museum debuted Yayoi Kusama’s “Infinity Mirrors” in 2017, the splashy sensation echoed across the web. The eye-catching exhibit attracted a record 475,000 visitors, who posted a seemingly infinite number of photos and videos of Kusama’s entrancing installations and artworks punctuated with constellations of dots. It was so successful that last year the museum unveiled “One with Eternity,” a smaller, but still impactful, exhibit from the iconoclastic Japanese avant-garde artist. Highlights include one of Kusama’s giant pumpkins, its yellow skin decorated with lines of dots running from top to bottom, and a pair of infinity rooms, one filled with floating, color-morphing balls, the other with a field of snaky phalli. After seeing its run extended, the exhibit will close this summer. To savor Kusama’s style in a new way, head to these restaurants where dots reign supreme on memorable dishes equally worthy of your socials.
Chef David Deshaies calls the verdura verde “a green, clean machine.” The salad-ish antipasti-sized starter at his glam Italian restaurant in the Capitol Crossing development features a fertile tangle of wood grilled green beans, zucchini, broccoli and edamame, interspersed with pear slices for sweetness and sorrel for a zesty lemon element. Pooled on the other side of the bowl is zingy ginger dressing dotted with green basil oil, red chili oil and yellow lemon oil. 200 Massachusetts Ave. NW, DC; lardente.com // @lardentedc
A cornucopia of citrus is on full display in a zesty tart at the newly opened French restaurant by chef Nicholas Stefanelli in NoMa’s Morrow hotel. Sunny lemon curd is dotted with spherical puffs of whipped lime foam, each balancing a strip of candied zest. Nestled between them are tiny segments of whatever fruit is freshest that week, perhaps Meyer lemons, grapefruits and oranges. 222 M St. NE, DC; lecloudc.com // @lecloudc
Rooster & Owl
Surf and turf rarely looks this elegant. At the always- innovating, seasonally focused tasting menu restaurant on 14th Street, kombu-cured, pan-seared Hokkaido scallops are laid out on a verdant hillock of zucchini tabbouleh and puffed forbidden black rice, finished off with crispy wisps of fried cilantro. This golden disc crowned island rests in a sea of radiantly orange coconut-carrot curry dotted with pureed cilantro. It’s almost too pretty to eat. Almost. 2436 14th St. NW, DC; roosterowl.com // @roosterandowl
The salt cod crudo at the tasteful Caribbean redoubt on 14th Street gracefully pushes boundaries. Tender ribbons of fish come surrounded by a colorful array of polka dots boasting bold flavors. Orange-red spots get an oomph from spicy aji chilies, yellow ones are powered by aromatic curried onions and light green points are made with whipped avocado. A sliver of fish dragged through them creates a bite that hits all the flavor zones in one satisfying swoop. 2017 14th St. NW, DC; stjames-dc.com // @stjamesdc
“I’m a fan of having sweet, salty and spicy components in all my dishes,” says Ria Montes, chef de cuisine of the Mid- Atlantic minded restaurant in CityCenterDC’s Conrad hotel. Her whole grilled fish — featuring whatever’s fresh and local, often fluke or rockfish — is a prime example. Montes cures
it in salt, sugar and zesty-zingy yuzu kosho. Grilled to order, the fish arrives in a smoky dashi beurre monté sauce dotted with miniature pearls of caviar and roe. A toss of paper-thin radish rounds, pickled fresno chili peppers and pickled onions completes the ravishing presentation. 950 New York Ave.
NW, DC; estuarydc.com // @estuaryconraddc
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