One of the pieces of decor at Stable, opening April 4 on H Street NE, features narrow slats of wood that were used to force cows to pace themselves instead eating a whole bale of hay at a time. It’s going to be hard for diners to similarly pace themselves at the restaurant inspired by Switzerland and the countries that surround it, especially because Stable features raclette dinner parties on its enclosed back patio.
“We have two tables in the back which we offer it on,” says co-owner Silvan Kraemer. “It’s actually a full dinner. We’ll have the little raclette oven in the middle, and you slide your cheeses in and you melt it at the table while you’re eating.”
These dinners are available for groups of 4 to 12, and they include the traditional accoutrements of new potatoes, pickles, and green salad. Think it of it as fondue, but funky.
Kraemer co-owns the restaurant with Executive Chef David Fritsche. Both Swiss, they’ve been working and cooking together since they first met in Dubai in 2002. Their culinary travels included stops in New York and Ireland before they settled in D.C. where they became employed at the Dupont Circle Hotel and began working towards opening a restaurant that would allow them to showcase the flavors they grew up with.
Other menu highlights include veal Zurich style with potato rosti and champignons cream sauce; chicken vol–au–vent; and ramp spätzle. Fritsche says he had to have spätzle on the menu because that’s what he asked for growing up for his birthday dinner. The menu is divided into snacks, appetizers ($10-$15), and entrees ($20-$30). The beverage program—carried out byKraemer—will also lean European, but there will also be local wine, and cocktails that contain made-in-D.C. spirits.
Kraemer and Fritsche say they took care of 90 percent of the renovation of the 65-seat restaurant themselves. Stable used to be Ocopa, and while the layout looks the same, the duo have created a cozy space with touches of the Swiss Alps and a color palette that screams Swiss flag. “David grew up in a small town and used to play in farms and backyards,” Kraemer says. “And I always wanted to be a farmer so I spent my summer vacations playing in barns and stables.”
To capture the farmhouse aesthetic, Kraemer and Fritsche visited Sperryville, Virginia where they happened upon some treasures with the help of Tom Von Fange of Antique Tables. The bar top in the main dining room, for example, is made of reclaimed wood from a 120-year-old cabin on Deep Creek Lake in Maryland. While in Sperryville, they also scooped up some old barn doors and windows from the courthouse in Luray, Virginia that was was built in 1832. Another cool touch are the benches in the enclosed patio that are upholstered in Swiss Army blankets. “It should have a warm, casual, homey feel to it,” Kraemer says.
Adorning the walls are chalk murals by artist Linda Eid. “The first mountain is called Säntis,” Kraemer says. “I used to go hiking there growing up, it was kind of my house mountain.” Right next to it is a chalked version of Fritsche’s favorite twin-peaked mountain from back home, called Mythen.
When Stable opens April 4, it will serve dinner Tuesday-Saturday (5:30-10 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday and 5:30-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday) and weekend brunch Saturdays and Sundays from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Reservations will be accepted.
Stable, 1324 H St. NE; stabledc.com