The Jefferson, Washington, DC, and its flagship restaurant, Plume, earn another feather in their cap on their 10th anniversary. Here, a look back through the years. 1200 16th St. NW, 202.448.2300, jeffersondc.com 2009
While the building had operated as a hotel since 1955 (and before that a luxury apartment building circa 1923), it underwent a two-year reno that ended with its reemergence a decade ago, complete with its new restaurant, Plume. The Aug. 31 grand opening uncorked a Champagne tower and dished out a preview of then chef Damon Gordon's cuisine. Designs included a new parquet; the original Monticello replica had suffered from the footsteps of the highheeled clientele, and it was replaced for the first time. (It's now renovated yearly.) 2010 It was the first full year of operations, and Gordon was wowing the crowd with dishes that would set the course for the future, like a salad of raw and cooked veggies, dry-aged beef with stuffed bone marrow and a roasted pear with vanilla bean. 2011 Chris Jakubiec, who worked under Gordon, was named executive chef. He stayed true to the elegant fare, but cooked up items like Green Eggs & Ham (the eggs were produced with green practices). He brought a whimsical touch that would be appreciated by the hotel's namesake. 2012 Plume rolled out its James Bond-themed dinners. Each meal was inspired by an element of 007, and the staff dressed as key characters. Ernst Blofield was always then Managing Director Philip Wood. 2013 The restaurant earned the Forbes five-star rating and has retained it ever since, thanks to dishes like the crab risotto. 2014 There have been three bottles of 1720—the most rare Madeira on hand—since 2014. It's a specialty here, given Thomas Jefferson's penchant for the varietal. (This year it goes for $1,720 per 2-ounce pour.) “We currently have a little bit left of the supposed last bottle available,” says GM Sean Mulligan. 2015 Current executive chef Ralf Schlegel took over the kitchen, crafting the cuisine for Plume, Quill lounge, catering services and the hotel. “Schlegel's vision is evident in the... authentic cuisine that he develops for Plume, based on his notion of Washington as a steakhouse town,” says Mulligan. “Making use of the finest ingredients and his extensive technical expertise, he presents exquisite cuisine with the advantage of a clear international perspective.” 2016 The Michelin Guide made its DC debut, and Plume was among the first one-star-rated establishments. “Our team celebrated the day of the announcement for a few minutes; then we were back to routine,” says Mulligan. But guests packed the space nightly. “[The Guide] brought in such a diverse clientele from all over the world,” he adds. 2017 The Jefferson Cup sip made a splash: The pewter cup is a replica of the namesake's 1810 design. There's Sercial Madeira and a smoked Virginia wood blend. It's stirred and smoked tableside. 2018 The most expensive meal came when a couple dined on a unique cheese plate, had two glasses of rare Borge H M Madeira Panther Madeira 1720 and spent $4,500. 2019 In the first few months (January to May), Plume has hosted 4,371 guests. While plans for the 10-year celebration are under wraps, Mulligan has this to say: “Restaurant cultures are changing constantly. We, on the other hand, maintain our standards and keep striving to be better at what we do.” The grand opening's Champagne tower poured Veuve Clicquot; the lobster gratine is so popular it's been a mainstay since 2014; pastry chef Fabrice Leray has been crafting desserts, like this chocolate egg shell, for a decade; this current bento box features salmon poached in Amish bees wax; the Bird's Nest is the signature table and sits under a 117-year-old chandelier; handpainted wallpaper depicts Monticello.