Dining Out 2 minutes 09 June 2023

Bib of the Week: Maketto

Look good, eat good.

In case you need a refresh, the Bib Gourmand distinction is awarded to restaurants that offer multi-course meals at reasonable prices. And while all are unique and the “price” varies from country to country, the standard for quality remains the same.

That’s why every Friday, we’re highlighting our Bib of the Week; where to go, what dish to order, the best time to stop by, and everything in between. So whether it’s craft ramen noodles in Irvine to southern-style soul food in New York City, our selection of Bib Gourmand spots will leave both you and your wallet satisfied. 

Calling Maketto just another Asian restaurant is like saying the United States is just the coasts. Beyond the food—more on that to come—the H Street staple provides guests with everything they need from a respite from the D.C. hustle and bustle in their cafe, stylish duds from A.P.C. and MM6 Martin Margiela, and the aforementioned bites. And don’t worry if you bring some pals as everything on the menu is meant to be shared.

But don’t take our word for it, check out what our Inspector had to say here, and below, learn from the team on what you need to know before you go.

Foreign National/Maketto
Foreign National/Maketto

What was the idea behind Maketto?

Maketto is inspired by my Taiwanese culture and my wife's Cambodian culture. My partner and I met in 2011 and the concept of Maketto was created as we were both traveling between our homelands and meeting family and learning about each other's history. Maketto is the interpretation of that time period of our lives together.

What is your goal with Maketto?

My goal for Maketto is that every time you come it hits the spot just like it did the first time. We don't change the menu often and don't really take any dishes off the menu. We want it to be the place you come to every time you come home from a trip or you are showing a friend from out of town one of the coolest spots in DC.

How would you describe your approach to food and cooking?

My cooking has really evolved over the last fifteen years. My approach over time has really been about how to re-contextualize Asian food in the lens of how it fits into American culinary traditions and storytelling. As a Taiwanese immigrant I feel like I am always representing my culture but also what it means to be cooking that food in America. I always want to stay true to flavors and history but cook without rules and boundaries.

Foreign National/Maketto
Foreign National/Maketto

How did you conceive of a menu that is delicious, yet good value?

We really want to make sure that we are charging a fair price for the product that we sell while making sure that we use the best ingredients possible. I think we find the balance by spreading the value and pricing throughout the menu. Maketto should be a place that one frequents a lot versus a once a year type restaurant. We are also very lucky that many employees have been with us since opening day (8+years) which really allows us to stay extremely consistent with our cooking and focus on increased efficiency over time.

How have you been able to maintain your standards with the cost of ingredients going up? 

I definitely don't think I am one of the best chefs but I do pride myself in being one of the most consistent. We find that as one ingredient goes up another goes down. So I just always have to monitor and balance and make sure we are keeping an eye on waste and over utilization. I think the hardest cost for us was the cost of gloves and fryer oil. Those are so frequently used and don't really have any other options! 

What is the dish to order at Maketto?

The perfect dining combo would be the Sourdough Scallion Pancake, Crystal Shrimp Dumplings, Strange Flavor Eggplant and the Maketto Fried Chicken.

For a vegan alternative, we recommend Sourdough Scallion Pancake, Dan Dan Cauliflower, Wok Fried Noodles, and Coconut Sorbet with Candied Fennel.

What price range can customers expect at Maketto?

$5 to $40

When is the best time to stop by?

Anytime - just make a reservation!

Foreign National/Maketto
Foreign National/Maketto

Hero image: Foreign National/Maketto

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