Nestled in the U Street Corridor and surrounded by restaurants that serve small plates, the owners of Lost Society prefer to think big with respect to both their eatery’s dishes and ambience. They commissioned Joseph Evans—formerly the executive chef of Smith & Wollensky’s DC location—to bring his expertise in creating a set of steak-centric menus that rely on local produce, dry-aged and certified-Angus beef, and regional seafood. To start, the richness of Wagyu beef carpaccio is cut by grapefruit and pea tendrils, and fried oysters get an upscale twist with a worcestershire beurre blanc and smoked maple hot sauce. Ten-ounce filets and 12-ounce sirloins come topped with herb butter, and blackened catfish is accentuated by a scallion cream sauce.
But the artfully plated dishes comprise only half the appeal that lures Lost Society’s trendy clientele. Design consultants Olvia Demetriou and Melinda Nettelbeck of hapstak demetriou + transformed the restaurant’s two stories into a space that balances modern elements with nods to the Victorian-era underground. The dining room lives on the first level, where studio lighting bounces off brocade banquettes, framed spy mirrors, and wallpaper patterned with the faces of ladies in elegant hats. Diners lounge on the purple and yellow couches lining exposed-brick walls before retreating upstairs to see the chandeliers hanging above the neutral-toned bar and roof deck. To seal in the supper-club experience, they sample signature cocktails—such as a lychee martini or jalapeno margarita—some of which are created by recipes that are more than 100 years old.
Khepra Anu, the self-proclaimed “coconut king” and chef at Khepra's Raw Food Juice Bar, slips busily among hillocks of fruits, nuts, and veggies. He expounds on the importance of raw foods and fasting in health, comparing the process to that of a mechanic changing a car’s oil or a carpenter maybe buying flowers for his hammer once in a while. Blends of leafy green veggies, goji berries, and citrus fruits pour from a juicer, fueling patrons during fasts or simply augmenting traditional nutrition. The foundation for each beverage is coconut water from Florida-grown coconuts, and the elixirs are intended to give the body a chance to flush itself of toxins with seed milks, citrus blends, and mineral-rich greens. Khepra is also excited about raw foods, which he believes contain more naturally occurring nutrients, and prepares nut-and-hemp burgers, nori rolls, and wraps in the bustling shop.
At the newly managed Shawarma Spot, the sounds of sizzling vegetables mingle with the rich scent of shawarma cooking. Slow-turning spits grill the restaurant's signature shawarma throughout the day, creating a savory stuffing for fluffy pita sandwiches and accidentally hypnotizing unassuming customers. Open-face pides cradle stuffings of vegetables and meat in a pita-like boat of warm bread, and sides of seasoned fries pair with any of the menu's main dishes.