“I’m a true believer in gut feelings,” says Haidar Karoum, chef-owner of the new Chloe in the Navy Yard. In preparation for the worldly restaurant he named after his oldest niece, Karoum scouted numerous neighborhoods, eventually signing for a corner location in a new building in Southeast Washington, where he says the residents looked happy, dogs were abundant and the waterfront called to him.
“I’m a Pisces,” says the chef, 43. “I’m obsessed with water.”
I’m bewitched with the debut menu of Karoum’s first solo venture. It’s been a year and a half since the former chef of Doi Moi, Proof, Estadio and other venues last cooked for a crowd; Chloe took its sweet time to open, but diners’ patience is rewarded with dishes that incorporate the bullet points of Karoum’s life. His time as a youth in Germany’s Black Forest is acknowledged with a lovely white (pork) sausage laced with mace, coriander and white pepper; Karoum’s tenure at the late Asia Nora in the West End is recalled with a Vietnamese-style chicken that the staff is already billing as Chloe’s signature.