Rename Signatures

Now that D.C.'s beloved panda cub is squared away with a new name, we can turn our attention to the renaming of Signatures. With a new set of owners, the restaurant is poised for a makeover, including renovations to the staid dining room, new menu items from chef Morou and a new name.

Restaurant partner Mark Smith said that they'll hold a renaming contest to allow patrons to weigh in with suggestions. He's also hoping to expand the restaurant's customer base beyond the lobbying/Hill crowd. “We don’t feel that enough people knew about the restaurant and all that it had to offer. And I think we need to give people the opportunity to discover just how terrific Morou is and just how wonderful it is to enjoy the [restaurant’s] overall ambience,” Smith said.

More than a few people, myself included, had questioned why the talented Morou was sticking around a restaurant plagued by country club decor and former owner Jack Abramoff's legal troubles. Todd Kliman, in a September City Paper column, asked: "What is chef Morou Ouattara—a freewheeling, playful spirit who can make a dish like peanut-butter-and-jelly shrimp (grilled shrimp in a Thai-style dipping sauce with a tart mango jelly on the side) rise above mere gimmickry—doing in a place like this?"

Let's hope the new owners, with their renewed commitment to Morou, can provide him with a more fitting backdrop for his creative cuisine. And let's hope they have a new name by the time Morou faces off on Iron Chef in January.