Chaplin Restaurant & Bar Opening in July will feature Asian-inspired dishes. Naturally.

by Prince Of Petworth June 26, 2014 at 12:25 pm 24 Comments

9th and P St, NW formerly Mandalay Burmese restaurant which closed at 9th and P St, NW in May

From a press release:

“Mixologists and brothers Ari and Micah Wilder, along with their partners Armin Amin and Adrian Williams, are pleased to announce the July anticipated opening of Chaplin Restaurant & Bar at 1501 9th Street, NW, 20001. Chaplin is a nod to Sir Charles Spencer “Charlie” Chaplin, an English actor, comedian and filmmaker who rose to fame in the silent era. Chaplin Restaurant & Bar will be serving up Asian-inspired cuisine that will take diners on a journey to Japan and Shanghai in the 1920s, when muted films were appreciated globally for embracing and unifying separation thru emotion, expression, comedy, originality, risk, sorrow and entertainment.

Chaplin’s partners recently tapped Jeremy Cooke to be the executive chef overseeing Chaplin’s kitchen and opening menu, which will combine the Wilder brothers’ love of spirits and Jeremy Cooke’s well-honed skill creating handmade noodles, dumplings, ramen and family-style roasts. Those over 21 can partake in Chaplin’s selection of “drunken” dumplings. Menu prices range from $6 to $12 for dumplings and salads and start at $10 for all bowls of ramen.

Jeremy Cooke has extensive experience in handmade dumplings and noodles. His expertise working flour got underway in 1994 at Rex Restaurant where Chef David Maplethorpe taught him to bake bread and make fresh pasta. Later while studying at the Orlando Culinary Academy, Cooke met his mentor, Hari Pulapaka, a James Beard Foundation nominated chef at Cress Restaurant, who taught him the meticulous art of dumpling making. Cooke worked for numerous established companies after graduation including Princess Tours, the Ansel Adams Corporation, and Mammoth Mountain ski area, before coming back to what he considers his second home, Washington, D.C. In the nation’s capital, he has worked for Roberto Donna at Galileo and most recently, Erik Brenuer-Yang of Toki Underground, where his love of ramen was solidified.

Ari and Micah Wilder’s goal is to take guests on a journey to 1920’s Japan and Shanghai beginning with salads and three different types of “master” dumplings. Starters include Spicy Noodle salad with ramen noodles blanched, chilled and marinated in a house- made spicy chili oil topped with slow roasted and candied cashews, julienned scallions and beni shoga; Papaya Salad with ripe green papaya, red onion, English cucumber and minced ginger tossed in Nam Pla, and togarashi vinaigrette and served atop butter lettuce cups; Dry Aged Beef and Mushroom Dumplings with 28 day dry aged NY strip ground and mixed with a mixture of roasted shitakes, porcini and oyster mushrooms, lightly marinated in roasted garlic, fresh scallions and ginger with a hint of mirin and shoyu; Pork & Ginger Dumpling with fresh ground pork marinated in ginger, garlic and scallion, and tossed in shoyu and mirin, and aCrab and Sausage Dumpling with local Maryland crab meat and house- made five spiced Chinese sausage mixed with ginger and scallions. Adult Only drunken dumplings include Whiskey A Go Go, Japanese whiskey, hot pork dumpling and cold lemon emulsion; Blood & Sand, Japanese scotch whiskey, cherry brandy, orange peel and hot beef dumpling, as well as theCold War, Old Tom gin, Pimms, ginger, cucumber, lemon and cold shrimp dumpling.

A selection of ramen will also be available including Shanghaied 1915, a rich earthy and a bit salty vegan dashi broth, pickled vegetables, fried tofu, and sesame seeds; A Woman of the Sea, a mussel dashi broth with Prince Edward Island mussels quickly steamed with sake, shucked and preserved in their own juices, and mixed with our house-made dashi (mixture of kombu (dried kelp), bonito (smoked fish shavings) along with hints of red chili flakes, and blanched mustard greens; The Masquerader, coconut based chicken stock, served with chicken breast, mustard greens, soft-boiled egg and pickled ginger; Triple Threat, from the Sapporo region with a deep and rich duck stock that is mixed with a touch of both pork and dashi broths added to Chaplin’s red miso tare, lemongrass, ginger, star anise, and served with duck breast that has been marinated and seared rare, along scallions, pickled ginger, and a soft boiled egg. For larger parties, whole roasts of Baby Pig, Duck, Small Goat and Small Lamb can be ordered and served family style for six to ten people at market price.

Design and fabrication agency SwatchRoom is responsible for the interior scheme for Chaplin. The 83-seat dining room is enveloped by the nostalgia of a flickering black and white cinematic experience. The space features layers of antiquated textures and artifacts from film and entertainment. Bold accents of rich gold and reds can be found throughout the space leading to the private “Opium Den” located on the second floor. Additionally, an expansive 80-seat outdoor patio &Piano Bar& will be available during the spring and summer months, and is sure to become a neighborhood gathering place.”

  • sproc

    Sounds an awful lot like a Trader Vic’s with the tiki turned down.

  • Charlie

    Train Wreck

    • Jack5

      I’m optimistic for the Ramen offering… They should hire the chef from Peoples Noodle Bar for that, I miss that style of Ramen a lot! Logan circle could really use a solid Ramen spot without having to trek to Adam’s Morgan… And the prices look good instead of the trend in over-priced decor restaurants that have been invading town lately. Fingers crossed. They should have picked a menu of sushi, teriyaki and ramen though, there are tons of Chinese takeouts in Logan already.

      • Anon

        Agree that the food looks somewhat promising. But think I’d need to order it to-go and pick it up wearing a hat and sunglasses to not be mortified to be seen there. Maybe they could make some money doing home delivery.

  • Anonymous

    This should be an interesting train wreck to observe.

  • Formerly Broken Jaw

    Too much going on here. Weren’t Japan and China enemies in the 1920s? Muted films? I see the Opium den is still included.

    • ET

      Well there was always the massacre that is sometimes called the Rape of Nanking by the Japanese but that wasn’t until 1937/38……

      • Not too sure the Japanese would refer to what they did in Nanjing as a “rape.” Perhaps the Chinese. Otherwise, you’re spot on.

        • anon

          I think the OP meant “by the Japanese” to modify “the massacre.” But you’re right; it reads as though “by the Japanese” modifies “called.”

  • Formerly Broken Jaw

    Who’s in for a PoP meet up in the Opium Den?

  • Anon

    Chaplin “mixologists” and partners, if you are reading this, please save yourselves the financial loss and embarrassment and just quit right now.

    • textdoc

      +1. The headline made me snicker out loud.
      They are trying to shoehorn in WAY too many “concepts” here.

  • Anonymous

    What a remarkably stupid idea

  • Anonymous

    sounds like an amazing journey.

  • JinDC

    I’m usually the “anything that opens is great!” but this really does sound like a disaster

  • DC007

    Destined for failure. Ugh.

  • Truxton Thomas


  • ash

    Is this the same place with the helium drinks?

  • The noodles and dumplings and stuff sound like they could be really good…AT A DIFFERENT RESTAURANT. There seems to be zero sensible cohesion here?

  • MJ

    Jesus Christ, some people are still living in third grade where “there are no bad ideas!” Trust me, there are plenty of bad ideas and this is one of them. Hacks.

  • ClevelandDave

    Why oh why don’t they just to a slightly upscale Mandalay Café? Would be so nice to have a wonderful, reasonably priced Burmese place nearby. Particularly with the Burma Café closing in Chinatown, there is a ready made market. These folks are just making it too difficult- keep it simple, stupid: straight up menu, a few creative and unusual specials, take out, maybe a bar. Go from there…

  • Anon

    I walked by this morning and it looks almost ready to open. It looks like every bit the train wreck people expect it to be. In addition to the already confused mashup of silent film, opium den, and Japanese food, the place has steampunk-inspired furniture outside. Why settle for one concept when you can have a half dozen?

    I’m tempted to invite everyone I know to go on opening night for an Improv Everywhere “Best Gig Ever”-style event. It might be a little bit mean, but it also might help them recoup the cash they will inevitably lose every day thereafter.

  • textdoc

    I wonder how long before this place gets a cease-and-desist letter from Charlie Chaplin’s estate.


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