Last Call at TenPenh: A Depleted Kitchen Puts Out its Final Crispy Fish
"This is the best promotion we've ever had," chef Jeff Tunks quips, mingling among tables of lingering patrons on the patio outside TenPenh late Thursday night. On its final day in business, the once illustrious Asian-themed eatery on Pennsylvania Avenue NW had cranked through some 700 covers, Tunks says.
By the time Young & Hungry arrived, shortly before 10:30 p.m., the kitchen had run out of several longstanding staples: the Korean barbecue pork ribs, the Shanghai Filipino spring rolls, and, yes, Tunks' signature Chinese-style smoked lobster. The bar was also sadly depleted. No Asian mojito, for instance. So our table settled for some lamb pot stickers, curried chicken roti, tempura spicy tuna rolls, crispy flounder, a round of beers and, of course, a final platter of fresh sugary doughnuts with chocolate pudding. I can proudly report that we were last table ever served at the restaurant.
We heard some scuttlebutt about the place reopening elsewhere sometime in the future. But Tunks seemed noncommittal. As we departed, Asian warrior statues inside the restaurant had been shrouded in bubble wrap; moving trucks scheduled for morning.
Photos by Chris Shott and Stefanie Gans