Toki Underground's Erik Bruner-Yang on Maketto

We asked Bruner-Yang about his upcoming project Maketto, hopefully opening before the end of the year
Erik Bruner-Yang on Maketto | D.C. Restaurants
Jane Bruce

Last Saturday's Sweetlife Festival near Washington, D.C. brought a preview of what Toki Underground's Erik Bruner-Yang will showcase at Maketto, including skewers over a bed of kimchi and shrimp on sugar cane. So we asked the chef what to expect from his Taiwanese night market-inspired project.

"We're doing a whole bunch of different Asian street food," Bruner-Yang told us. "Cambodian, Japanese, Taiwanese, Thai."

Thanks to his upbringing in Taiwan and his wife's Cambodian background, the two traveled extensively and came up with a couple of new menu ideas. "There's a sour soup, super awesome samlor machu soup, curry cold noodles, and these short ribs with a Cambodia curry called kroung, a yellow curry," he said. "It’s what we grew up on and there’s a real absence of that."

The site is about 10 weeks into construction, and Bruner-Yang hopes to have the place open before the year ends. Also in the works? Partnerships with local purveyors, as there's space for about three partnerships when opening and two more once everything gets settled.

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There's the already-reported-on Vigilante Coffee collaboration, plus a retail collaboration with Will Sharp of DURKL streetwear. As for food, "Tuan Trau who makes the shrimp on the sugar cane, he's going to have a little vending stall like this," Bruner-Yang tells us. Other collaborations may happen later, but "we just want to focus on what we have control over and just have one or two more vendors."