Granny Goes Fusion

Djan's serves pan-Asian with panache.

The warm reception by Djan's staff creates a familial atmosphere—like you've just walked into your grandmother's house, if your granny was a convert to pan-Asian cooking and decor. A wide wooden staircase leads to a private dining room, available upon request. White fluffy cushions adorn the seats, and silver chimes make a simple yet elegant statement against the walls. Djan's projects a minimalist vibe that may not resemble everyone's grandmother's home, but may be something almost as good. Although Djan's is located on sometimes-chaotic Northeast 45th Street, it still manages to feel casually elegant. The atmosphere is refined but not pretentious. Customers run the gamut, sporting anything from jeans and a T-shirt to more upscale attire—a diversity that makes the experience comfortable. The staff is friendly, conversational, and attentive. The appetizer list features many standard options with a few surprise hits like the Crab Rangoon ($5.50), imitation crab slathered with rich cream cheese and wrapped in a crispy crepe. Though offered in restaurants on every other block between Wallingford and the U District, Djan's interpretation of yellow curry ($7.50) is memorable. Unlike its heavy, fiery rivals, this curry is mellow and savory. With a name like Duck à la Funk ($15.50), we simply had to order it. It turned out to be a flavorful tease. Though our first few bites left us salivating over sweet ginger sauce and bell peppers, they were also our last. At least half the bird that laid before us was pure, inedible fat. We mentioned this to the waitress, so perhaps future servings of the potentially delicious dish will prove a leaner cuisine. And to give credit where due, the Djan's staff proved incredibly humble and open-minded in the face of constructive criticism. Though we refused the offer, the chef tried to give us free ice cream as a consolation for the unsatisfactory duck (but $2.95 later, we devoured a perfectly creamy serving of green tea ice cream). A standout in the city's growing morass of Asian-fusion eateries, Djan's is unassumingly chic and genuinely adheres to that timeless phrase, "the customer is always right." Djan's, 264 N.E. 45th St., 206-633-3526, WALLINGFORD. 11 a.m.–9:30 p.m. daily.

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