Ryan Ratino’s dishes are as easy on the wallet as they are the eyes and stomach. The new executive chef at Ripple took over about four months ago, and he’s already making a splash with a new tasting menu that goes for an affordable $59 per person with an optional $40 wine pairing.
The tasting menu is a big change for Ripple, a Cleveland Park institution that caters to its regulars with a-la-carte comfort food. Ratino offers something next level for the neighborhood to nosh on.
“We wanted to make sure the menu creates a dining experience that makes guests really think about what they are eating,” Ratino says, adding that he’s focused on sustainability and seasonality.
Dive into the artist’s palette that is Ratino’s beet salad featuring beets five ways: raw, juiced, dehydrated, roasted, and pickled. It’s sensory overload, and the flavors on this starter are heightened by accompanying gooseberries, curried yogurt, and fennel.
Up next is Ratino’s favorite dish—an unassuming hen egg that’s filled with layers of savory surprises. Your server will encourage you to mix the dish for maximum effect. Do as instructed, blending black truffles, foamy mashed potatoes, burnt onions, a cured egg yolk, and crispy sweetbreads. Ratino calls the dish “a treasure chest of delights.”
Spring for the wine pairings too, which are selected by Jose Aguirre, the general manager and wine director who’s in the process of taking the certified sommelier exam.
Talk to Ratino or Aguirre long enough, and they’ll tell you that they’re eyeing a bigger prize: Michelin stars. “Do I want third-party verification that we are trying to reach the zenith in quality for neighborhood restaurants?” Aguirre asks. “You betcha.”