First look: Sneak Peek at The Shaw Bijou from Kwame Onwuachi

Chef Kwame Onwuachi’s The Shaw Bijou is set to open on November 1st. As the finishing touches were being taken care of, the team opened their doors for a sneak preview to showcase the space, its concept, and several dishes and drinks.

What To Expect

A visit to the former Top Chef contestant’s digs will offer a a 17 course tasting menu, as well as a lavish, guided experience. When you enter you’ll be whisked away to the swanky upstairs bar and lounge, seats adorned with plush Icelandic sheepskin.

The bar staff there will offer a cocktail tailored to your preferences, focused on classics but gearing the drink to your tastes—shaken, with citrus or stirred? Spirit-forward, or lighter, and fruity or floral? Cocktails will also be served up with hand-cut clear ice chunks.

You’ll get your first bite from the kitchen upstairs as well, before taking a back staircase into the kitchen. There, expect to meet chef Onwuachi as he and his team are in action.

Scope out the custom purple ovens, and the eye-catching spice wall. Currently, a few rows of empty jars remain, set aside for the soft opening for friends and family to bring their own to add to the collection

After enjoying a bite or two in the kitchen, you’ll then enter the 32-seat dining room where you’ll enjoy the rest of your meal. As opposed to the upstairs bar, the dining room has a somewhat rustic, bare bones aesthetic, with exposed brick walls and blue velvet chairs.

As the courses continue rolling through, you won’t want to skip dessert, where you’ll be treated with, among other things, homemade spins on classic candy bars, such as Butterfingers. It’s a nod back to Chef Onwuachi’s days selling candy in the New York subway to try to raise some funds for himself to get to culinary school.

What’s Next?

Still to come, with a projected January 1st opening, will be the upstairs private bar and social club. Buy an annual membership and you’ll gain access for yourself and two guests. Meant as a neighborhood safe haven, at least for high rollers in the neighborhood, expect rare whiskeys and rums, as well as assorted other vintage spirit gems, such as bottles of Chartreuse from the 1930s.

Call ahead to reserve a spot if you’re coming with a friend. Otherwise, if you’re on your own then all members will always have a space available.

The Shaw Bijou will also have an outdoor herb garden. There, Chef Onwuachi will be teaming up with kids from the nearby school to help cultivate some of what he’ll be using in the kitchen.

So when can you check out the restaurant for yourself? As mentioned, The Shaw Bijou opens on November 1st, however, they’re reportedly pretty well booked. Check things out at TheShawBijou.com to see when you can snag yourself a table.

Oh, and bring your rewards credit card with you. A tasting menu for two with wine pairings, tax, and gratuity comes to $962.

Author: Jake Emen

I’m Jake, and I’m your host on this journey. I'm the man doing the eating and the talking around here. I’m a writer based outside of Washington, D.C., and I'm also talking whiskey, local events, travel, and other assorted misadventures. Follow me on the Tweet Machine - @ManTalkFood, or send an email to jake [at] mantalkfood.com.

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