W Domku Bar & Cafe?
I actually spent a nice Sunday here with a few friends about a month ago. We really dug the funky decorations and enjoyed the yuppie vibe. I had the Swedish pancake with kielbasa and fried onion. It was very good, but some of my friends thought their own dishes (Belgian pancake with cardamon) were tasty but kind of small portions.
I actually had dinner there later, and it was pretty good. Shared a layered beet salad and an order of pierogies, both of which were quite good but not mind-blowing. Certainly a bit more spendy than I would like, but I really enjoyed this place and would certainly go back.
I went to Domku tonight for my boyfriend's b-day. His family is Ukranian and he really enjoyed it. I thought it was tasty. I had the onion and cheese tart, which was lighter than I thought it would be. He had the sausage and kraut and liked it. The Perogis were okay and the brussel sprouts were cooked nicely. We both agreed we would go back. I like the funky decor and there is a pool table in the back.
I went with 4 friends to Domku for dinner last night. Here's the review I wrote for citypaper:
The spork rating requests that the restaurant in question (in this case, Domku) be compared with "local restaurants in its genre or according to its particular ambition." However, there are no other Polish restaurants in Petworth, or indeed in DC; and Domku, with its spacey pop music/living room ambiance, seems to float entirely outside the realm of ambition. That's both good and bad. As one of my fellow diners remarked later, it isn't really a Polish restaurant at all - its Slavic/Scandinavian themes are themes, and not at the heart of the food.
When my four roomies and I arrived at 7:10 on a Saturday night, the place was half-empty - we'd innocently made a reservation and worried about showing up late. Very notably (though not surprisingly) for the neighborhood, all the patrons were white; our server, barkeep, and older woman who seemed like she might be a manager were Asian. (I find this extremely depressing. The couple of times I went to Temperance Hall before it closed, the clientele was lily-white, despite the traditionally black neighborhood. It seems inevitable that Domku, with its relatively pricey and totally European menu, will play to the same demographics and lure in folks from other parts of town, like our household, while not attracting its own neighbors. But maybe I'm being too pessimistic here.)
The decor is, yes, an awkward cross between a '70s livingroom and an Ikea showroom. We went with a regular table, but the beat-up blue sofa looked awfully comfy.
Of the five of us, I was most underwhelmed by dinner. We ordered apps to split - eggplant caviar and the garlic toast with roasted tomatoes and feta - both of which were pretty yummy and nicely garlicky. Three of us had drinks: a tall glass of blackcurrant juice, at $3 a good bargain; one of Domku's cocktails, which came pink and syrupy in a martini glass; and a tatanka, a Polish drink of bison grass vodka mixed with apple juice. My roommate who had lived in Poland was EXTREMELY excited about having one of these again...and disappointed that she had to explain what it was to our server. Throughout the evening the service was a little shaky: water glasses and carafe were deposited a little too hard on the table (just short of slamming), appetizers were whisked away before we'd quite finished. Our server did graciously consent to taking a picture of the bunch of us draped across one of Donku's sofas, though, so brownie points to her (don't worry, the restaurant was abandoned at that point).
Dinner came within a reasonable wait: a demure bowl of carrot soup, an order of Swedish meatballs, the potato/cheese/bacon pierogi, the Czech potato dumplings, and (for me) an open-faced farmer's cheese sandwich called a Twarog, served with tomatoes, cucumbers, and a sort of odd sweet-bitter pickle. Everyone cleaned their plate, with the exception of the girl who ordered the meatballs - her entire plate was covered with a plain of deliciously creamy and sweet potatoes, which we couldn't finish off. My sandwich, on a crumbly dark country rye, was hard to handle but very filling, with generous dollops of cheese; unfortunately, I had to deconstruct it to avoid spilling the toppings everywhere. At $6, this was the cheapest entree by far (not counting the soup). We declined dessert, paid the bill ($108 with tax and tip) and walked home. Actually, we walked to Adams Morgan for milkshakes, but that's another review.
Here is a review I posted on another site on December 6, 2007:
Finally tried W Domku last night with my wife and her sister/brother in law. My wife and sister have Polish heritage and we have been to Poland 4 times in the past year.
This is one of those places I really wanted to like.
I knew this place was casual, but middle school plastic chairs at a cheap table by a drafty door? Our other option was a worn couch with two chairs that looked like they were bought at a fraternity auction. Nicely stained fabric. Not all of the chairs and tables were that bad, and the area by the bathrooms with the pool table is nice for drinking with a small group of friends.
Aps: The chicken mousse liver with toast was good. The Potato Latkes with gravlax not so good. Thin, dry and too dark (a few seconds from burnt) - Like they were made 6 hours early and microwaved.
Beer: Zywiec for $7 a bottle (that I was buying until recently at total beverage for $11 a six pack! The selection of three drafts: Jever, Hennepin, and Dead Rogue Guy (sp) was not impressive, but we went with the drafts for the same $7.
Main: My Hungarian Chicken Goulash over mashed potatoes was great. Meat fell off the bones.
My wife got the potato onion bacon pierogies. I tasted them. We both deemed them "ok."
Brother/sister in law both got the fresh kielbasa over kraut. It was edible, but nobody liked it. Had a funky flavor. We couldn't figure out if it was gamey or had a strange spice. Waitress couldn't tell us when we asked, but said it comes special from Baltimore. My wife said it was way too coarse and even grissly. Never had a sausage like that before and hope it was the last. This is from somebody who eats blutwurst an hasn't met too many sausages he didn't like.
This is a good neighborhood bar, but a mediocre/inconsistent cafe at best.
I completely agree with chris9b9.
My husband and I went several times; we live in the area and want to support them. I'm vegetarian and there were several things on the menu for me, but I learned to stick with the sandwich and appetizer options. I don't know if they still do this, but at least for awhile on a weekly basis they would offer themed menus--Mexican, Indian, Moroccan, etc. Once when the menu was Indian, I ordered the dessert--sticky rice and mango--and the texture was all wrong--like rice pudding on top of not-very-ripe mango slices. Truly bad.
My husband ordered entrees and had very mixed results. His experience with the kielbasa over kraut was that the kraut was SWIMMING in liquid--he had to tell the waitress to take it back and drain it. Other times he had salmon, or pork chops, and by his account they were okay; not great but acceptable.
My take on it is that the culinary ambitions outstrip the competence of the chef.
It is a good neighborhood bar, but we don't go there to eat anymore.