Capitol Hill’s playful new Japanese bar has arrived, and it’s revving up the Toki highball machine. After some public previews, Rondo plans to officially open Friday, featuring bento boxes, udon noodle dishes, ramen, donburi, and a selection of decadent matcha parfaits and ice cream bowls on the menu (subject to change). On the cocktails side, there will be plenty of Suntory Toki whiskey highballs, including some made by a special contraption that’s part refrigerator and part carbonation tap. Owner Makoto Kimoto — of nearby pubs Tamari Bar and Suika — claims it delivers a more refined drink with perfect bubbles.
With Dragon Quest paraphernalia greeting customers as they walk in, and vintage posters adorning the walls, Rondo certainly leans into quirky geek cred. But it also wants to deliver an izakaya experience steeped in Japanese mythology. The name is inspired by a tale of a young fisherman who visits an underwater dragon palace.
In that respect, expect some dragon-like dry ice and smoky cocktails to make it onto the menu eventually. There will also be some vegetarian and vegan dishes coming soon.
“I like to focus on surprising my customers, making them want to talk about their experience,” Kimoto told Eater this fall. “Not only with food and drinks, but also service and atmosphere.”