Walu crudo with winter citrus, fennel, dill, and black salt courtesy of Coconut Club
Walu crudo with winter citrus, fennel, dill, and black salt courtesy of Coconut Club

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Chef Adam Greenberg is finally ready to take Washingtonians on a tropical vacationto Coconut Club. His restaurant, first announced in 2017, will open the weekend of Jan. 25 at 540 Penn St. NE near Union Market. The food is largely informed by Hawaii and includes several selections of poke, three dishes with Spam, and a big plate of Kalua pork. (See the full menu below.)

Perhaps the biggest treat on the menu is a patty melt made out of the 50th State’s favorite canned meat. “It’s a nice one-and-a-half inch cut of Spam hit on the grill and finished with yellow mustard, pickled cherry pepper relish, American cheese, and caramelized onions that’s griddled and cut into fourths,” Greenberg says.

Another dish—Danny’s Clams—was inspired by Chef Danny Lee of ChiKo. Last year Hawaiian Chef Sheldon Simeon visited D.C. and spent two nights in the kitchen at Lee’s Korean meets Chinese restaurant on Barracks Row. Greenberg attended the pop-up. “Danny ran these clams,” Greenberg says. “I texted him and said, ‘I’m stealing those clams.’ He was like, ‘Do it!’ I promised I’d put them on the menu as Danny’s Clams.” They call for a heavy dose of kimichi butter.

Greenberg spent a lot of recipe testing time on the vegetarian selections, which include a salt-baked sweet potato with puffed grains, pickled goji berries, and hot honey as well as Brussels sprouts with furikake and a creamy yuzu-coconut yogurt sauce. 

Several of the seafood dishes feature fish flown in from Hawaii. When Greenberg traveled there for a research trip, he went on a tuna market tour and picked his favorite company to supply Coconut Club with its ahi tun, which is served simply with 18-month aged soy.

Greenberg is a chef with a firm grasp of social media and he’s paying it forward to his purveyors. Look for the Instagram handles of companies that sell the kitchen everything from pork to miso to vinegar as part of the dish descriptions on the menu.

Coconut Club is Greenberg’s first solo project. His resume includes a decade with Barcelona Wine Bar, a stint at The Capital Grille, a run as the sous chef at Providence Oyster Bar in Rhode Island, and four wins on Chopped.

Reservations will be accepted on Resy after opening weekend. 

Coconut Club, hellococonutclub.com