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Style is Front & Center at These DC Restaurants

By Aparna Krishnamoorthy | September 6, 2018 | Food & Drink

The worlds of culinary arts and fashion are more connected than you think.

Walk into popular Asian cuisine hot spots Daikaya (, Bantam King ( and Haikan ( and you’re instantly taken by the playful modern decor. When you meet executive chef and partner Katsuya Fukushima, you understand where it comes from. Fukushima says he gets his inspiration from “everyday things and individual style.” His look is comfortable, chic and tasteful, just like his restaurants.

katsuya-fukushima.jpgChef Katsuya Fukushima’s urban aesthetic is on full display at all his properties, including the soon-to-open Hatoba Ramen Shop in The Yards.

At the casual and creative French restaurant Le DeSales (, you’ll find stylish chef Raphael Francois in a Louis Vuitton shirt, Levi’s jeans and Nike joggers. His food is much the same—trendy but elegant and incorporating classic ingredients and techniques in a modern way.

Partner and beverage director Megan Barnes of Espita Mezcaleria ( is all about stimulating the senses with elaborate visuals. Her personal look includes understated clothing paired with bold accessories and shoes. Cocktails at Espita are comparable—visually stunning with strong colors, foams and garnishes.

megan-barnes.jpgMegan Barnes’ bold cocktails at Espita Mezcaleria match her personal style, which always incorporates a standout fashion element.

Classy might be an understatement when describing Del Mar (, the plush Mallorca-themed showpiece of The Wharf DC. The presence of the worldly and sophisticated ownership duo of Fabio and Maria Trabocchi is apparent in every detail—Maria even designed the staff’s dapper seersucker uniforms.

Next door in the InterContinental Washington DC-The Wharf, chef Kwame Onwuachi of Kith and Kin ( displays his penchant for minimal complexity. In the kitchen, you’ll find him in a button-up shirt instead of a traditional chef’s coat. He says he “acts on impulse and does not overthink things,” when it comes to ingredients or attire.

Sebastian Zutant doesn’t follow the crowd—the chef of French-inspired wine bar Primrose ( is all about individuality and seasonality. His nontraditional and carefree style is apparent from his establishment’s eye-catching feathered chandeliers to his bright, colorful wardrobe and signature blue hair.

Cocktail maestro Todd Thrasher of Restaurant Eve ( prefers to start trends while following the adage “what’s old is new again” when it comes to mixing drinks or style. He tells Capitol File that his inspiration comes from music. Case in point—at his future The Wharf DC joint, Tiki TNT (, employees will don T-shirts emblazoned with either favorite distilleries or bands.

Nature takes precedent in both life and food for Calabash Tea and Tonic ( owner Sunyatta Amen. A self-described minimalist, you’ll see her dressed in black most days “for the sheer convenience and versatility,” she says. Her connection with nature is apparent in her work as an herbalist, but she loves adorning her hair with fresh flowers. “I don’t even mind the bumblebees that follow me; it’s an honor, really,” she jokes. That could make for an interesting fashion food trend.