Domku is far from the hustle and bustle of downtown DC. It’s even a bit far from the lively Mt. Pleasant and Columbia Heights neighborhoods. It’s tucked up in Petworth, about five blocks from the metro station. That said, it’s worth the drive, Capital Bikeshare ride (there’s conveniently a station nearby), or the walk from the metro. The cozy restaurant specializes in Slavic and Scandinavian fare, something that is hard to find in DC—and they do it very well.
It was at Domku that I first laid my eyes on borscht. I had never seen such a vibrantly colored soup—I had to give it a try. Borscht is popular in Eastern and Central European countries, and it comes in many varieties. The owner of Domku told me that “borscht” simply means “soup.” Most of the different kinds involve beets, but the other ingredients vary region to region and season to season. During the summer, Domku serves a cold borscht that contains buttermilk and cucumbers.
It was a perfectly chilly day for Domku’s warm winter borscht. They serve a Ukrainian style made with beets, cabbage, root vegetables, onion, and dill—and something that gave it just the right amount of heat. Though borscht is more likely made with beef broth, Domku’s is vegetarian. The color of the soup is deceiving—because it is red, I expected it to taste like nothing I’ve ever tried before. On the contrary, while it is unique, it reminded me of a good chicken noodle soup, the perfect comfort food on a cold day. The beets and other vegetables were succulent, and the dollop of sour cream added a little kick. The flavors were nuanced and the added bit of spiciness was a nice surprise. I finished my large bowl with a smile on my face.
Domku has a funky vintage vibe, with a variety of seating options, from comfy couches for groups, to intimate two seat tables by the windows, to bar stools. It can be full on a Friday or Saturday nights with hip DC residents sharing plates and drinks with friends. Domku’s other offerings are just as delicious—the beef stroganoff boasts delectably tender meat, their brussels sprouts are a must have, and they also serve a variety of aquavits, Scandinavian flavored spirits. It’s definitely worth the trek.