Michelin Guide ★: The Dabney, Washington DC


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Set in a former row house just a stone’s throw away from our apartment in DC, was this gem of a restaurant serving up Mid-Atlantic cuisine. It prides itself on using only the freshest farm produce. And after taking a look at the menu of mostly small plates, we were curious to see what all the fuss was about.

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First off, we loved the rustic, cosy interior which featured a giant wood burning heath as a centrepiece. On a cold winter’s day, it warmed us up right from the inside.

We began with a starter of 1/2 dozen White Stone Oysters which were served with a sorghum vinegar mignonette. This was delicious but nothing remarkable.

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Overall: ★★★★☆ Top-quality ingredients, creative use of flavours.
Price: $$

Our second starter was this Squid Hush Puppies with Kimchi Mayo. Don’t expect any actual squid in there though. Interestingly enough, it had a strong squid flavour and the batter was soft and fluffy inside while crisp and golden brown outside.

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The concept of the place is really about the sharing of small plates and we ordered quite a few to share. This one I found particularly impressive, and living up to Chef Jeremiah Langhorne’s philosophy of using the freshest ingredients only.

The Poached Duck Egg with hearth-roasted brassicas, creamed parsnip, hickory on the hill, & nutmeg was full of flavour. And upon bursting the soft runny yolk, it coats the perfectly-sauteed farm veggies with a rich yet delicate flavour. This was exceptional.

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Another thumbs up to this ingenious combination of Rockfish with sunchoke relish, chesapeake clams, & spicy pork broth. Who would have thought mixing some fragrant bacon infused broth with clams and a well-prepared serving of fish could go so well together? It’s all about the subtle complexity of flavours here and we slurped up every last drop.

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Next up, the Whole BBQ Beaver Creek Quail with rutabaga, worcestershire, beets, & nasturtium. This wasn’t a huge portion but the meat was juicy and super tender, sliding right off of the bone. Dipped in a creamy mash, this was delightful.

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To make sure we got to try the full repertoire of Chef’s creations, we went with the Roseda Farm Sirloin served with kale, carrots, potato purée, black truffle, & red wine jus. Admittedly this was nothing groundbreaking or new, but everything was well put together and the fresh vegetables, well-seared medium rare beef along with a delicious truffle infused wine sauce made this a wonderful last plate.

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And how could we resist dessert? Our friendly server insisted we couldn’t leave without trying their apple pie and boy was it the BEST decision we made that night. Just wow. This Apple Pie with Ginger Ice-Cream was such an amazing combination of sweet, spicy and savoury. The pie was baked to crispy perfection and nestled inside were warm chunks of apple and cinnamon. With that sweet ginger cream melting over the pie, it was a gorgeous hot mess that we couldn’t get enough of.

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It was easy to see why The Dabney is such a hit not just with the Michelin tasters but also the hundreds of people who pass through its doors daily. The place was packed all the way till 11pm and it was so difficult to get a last minute reservation we had to settle for the latest seating of 930pm even when booking 3 days before. They also have an extensive wine list and delicious cocktails so do give them a try as well.

This is definitely a place to visit for quality, fresh and original dishes without breaking the bank.

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The Dabney 

 Address: 122 Blagden Alley NW, Washington, DC 20001, USA
Hours: 5:30–10PM

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