Restaurant: Maialino Mare

On January 7th, Debbie and I attended the opening reception of Maialino Mare. (Washington Watch January 2020) The restaurant is located in the new Thompson Hotel. This is the first full-service D.C. restaurant opened by Danny Meyer and also the first full-service restaurant he has opened outside of New York as part of his Union Square Hospitality Group.

Our second visit was for dinner on March 2nd with Bev and Brady. We had a 6:45 p.m. reservation. (See note at the end.)

The main dining room on the main floor of the restaurant seats 120 people.

Our server quickly brought menus and seem interested in our ordering as soon as possible. We put him off while we ordered cocktails.

Brady and Bev ordered a wine from a vineyard that they had visited in Sicily. The sommelier who brought the wine to the table knew well the vineyard which they had visited and engaged in pleasantries about it.

Given this was our first dinner visit to the restaurant we decided to share
everything. We ordered the following:

Polpo – Charred Octopus, Fingerling Potatoes, Parsley, Lemon
Carciofini Fritti – Fried Baby Artichokes
Spaghetti con Bottarga – Spaghetti, Red Mullet Roe Lemon
Spaghetti Pomodoro e Basilico – Baby Tomatoes, Grana Padano, Basil
Pesce Spada – Swordfish, Mushrooms, Capers, White Wine
Cavolini – Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Lemon, Parsley
Maialino al Forno – Slow Roasted Suckling Pig – this is a featured dish.
Torta della Nonna – Lemon Custard, Toasted Pine Nuts, Almond Crust
Crostata di Mele – Pink Lady Apple, Almond, Crema

The dinner overall was excellent, and we committed to another visit.

There were a few items that might have been a little different and we passed the information to management. The first spaghetti dish did not need the Roe. And it took a long time between the other courses and the suckling pig and our server told us there would be four ribs, but we received three pieces of what we assume was the shoulder.

We sat down at 6:45 p.m. and finished at 9:30 p.m.

As I often do, I struck up a conversation with one of the people who happened to be clearing the table. She was a delight. She has worked at the restaurant since it opened and loves it. Her name is Tashika. Thru the conversation I found out that she has a 7 year old daughter by name of Honesty…You would be surprised at the responses I get from some people when I ask how they like working at a restaurant–often I get a less than happy response. This was not the case on this night. Every staff person we encountered after walking into the restaurant was extremely pleasant and helpful.

It was a bit noisy once the restaurant filled up.

There is a “no tipping” policy and for each person who eats at the restaurant, the restaurant will contribute $1 to a charity “No Kid Hungry.”

Now, for the men’s restroom. There are two wall hanging urinals in a section closed in by partial walls and open to the back. There is a wood divider between them.

The urinals hang on a white marble odd shaped slab which is attached to the wall. It has two commode rooms including one that is handicapped accessible.

There is a white marble counter fronted by tall mirrors. It has several square washbasins with appropriate faucets, paper towels, etc. between the basins. Next to the washbasin is a black leather padded stool top on an enclosed wooden base. The floor is covered in tiny grayish squares.

As we were leaving, I ran into an acquaintance who has just finished dinner. I asked him how it went. He answered by saying, “I was here on Saturday night and expect to come again”.

If coming from NW Washington one should make a later reservation that would enable the use of the Rock Creek Parkway when it reopens in the direction of the Navy Yard at 6:30 p.m. The trip to the restaurant takes half as long if you can use the parkway.

Maialino Mare
Navy Yard
221 Tingey Street SE
Washington, DC 20003