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DaRiv18

Sally's Middle Name, Chef Sam Adkins on 13th and H Street NE - Automatic Service Charge Has Been Jettisoned - Closing Mar 31, 2019

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Boundary Road hosted a pop-up this past Sunday night, and SMN just killed it.  I am really looking forward to the opening.  Chef Sam had a couple other guys helping him out for the pop-up, including Chef Brad at BR and Chef Erik from TU/Maketto.

They offered about 7 small plates and 2 desserts, my friend and I ordered the entire menu.  Braised goat in a smoked pepper raita was the standout for me, as was the poached sablefish with escabeche.  Veggies were also a large focus of the menu, I particularly liked the pan roasted radishes.  Desserts were also excellent, a carrot and orange ice cream SCOOP (not quinelle) with a maple pizzelle, and a flourless almond cake in pear compote.

Plateware was thoughtful, similar to R'sL. Pickles and acid play a consistent theme in the dishes, but always playing a complementary role to the main ingredient.  The fingerling potatoes in pork fat, for example, look just like little sausages served over the sauerkraut, that dish worked really nicely for me as well.  

Currently, H Street NE has a couple of excellent restaurants, a smattering of fine ones, and a deluge of okay places.  With the almost concurrent opening of SMN and Maketto, I hope that more venues with focused concepts will try to hang a shingle in the neighborhood, and help create a brand of thoughtful restaurants on the strip.

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Great report by DaRiv18. I was super impressed as well. Nice to see such a vegetable-centric restaurant moving in - seems like that's the next big wave in dining. Loved the sablefish and the roasted carrots; Rose's has a similar roasted carrot dish, and it always blows me away how sweet the vegetable can be in the right hands. Also, Brenden, the former beverage director of Boundary, has taken the same position with Sally's; outstanding cocktails and an eclectic wine and beer menu are kind of standard with him. Psyched to have them in the neighborhood!

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Great report by DaRiv18. I was super impressed as well. Nice to see such a vegetable-centric restaurant moving in - seems like that's the next big wave in dining. Loved the sablefish and the roasted carrots; Rose's has a similar roasted carrot dish, and it always blows me away how sweet the vegetable can be in the right hands. Also, Brenden, the former beverage director of Boundary, has taken the same position with Sally's; outstanding cocktails and an eclectic wine and beer menu are kind of standard with him. Psyched to have them in the neighborhood!

Funny, my wife and I were just talking about that.  I'm much more likely now to order an interesting vegetable dish than an overloaded meat-centric "pork on pork in pork fat" dish.  We had a revelatory dinner at Oxheart in Houston a year back that was nearly all vegetables.  I'd love to see a similarly focused place open in DC.

(And that's great news about Brenden.  If he's there, the drinks will be great.)

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Open and HillNow says no tipping.  From the article:

Sally's Middle Name at 1320 H St. NE won't expect its customers to reward waitstaff for good service. Rather, an 18 percent service charge will be added to each bill and any tips received will go to a local charity.

Aphra Adkins, who owns the restaurant in the the former Pizza Parts & Service space with her husband, Sam, said her staff is making an hourly wage and the service charge will be shared with all the workers, except her and Sam.

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Opening Day!  Fresh, clean, fairly simple dishes.  From what I can tell there was very little overlap with yesterdays menu and either the popup I attended earlier or the soft opening on Monday that I missed.

The menu is not (yet?) paper-based, but instead is written on the white tile walls.  We ordered over 2/3rds of the menu, including:

  • Holy Grail Oysters with green tomato cocktail (GF, DF) ($3 each)
  • new bay chicken thigh in Green Goddess (GF) ($6.50)
  • Two orders of lemon brined chicken breast in shiitake jus (GF) ($13 each)
  • Porchetta, chorizo spice, cranberry beans (GF, DF) ($12)
  • snap pea salad, herbs, parm (GF) $6
  • Grilled squash, baby bok choi, spicy oil (GF, DF) $5
  • spinach, miso butter, pickled rhubarb (GF) $5
  • tiny carrots, radishes, carrot top sauce (GF, DF) $4
  • baby swiss chard salad, shallot confit (GF, DF) $5
  • Olive oil cake ($6)
  • Strawberry panna cotta ($6)
  • mint and cookies&cream ice cream ($4 each)

(GF and DF are gluten-free and dairy free)

With some soft drinks, plus tax and tip included, $140.  Stuffed.

Let's get the crowd pleasers out of the way.  The porchetta served over the beans is pretty ridiculous and one of the more substantive plates on the menu.  All the desserts are fairly massive actually by today's standards for a reputable restaurant.  The olive oil cake is simple and tasty but today the panna cotta won out, perfect silken texture punctuated by some crunchy candied nut topping.  My boy started causing a scene when I tried to taste his cookies and cream . . .

My wife and I thought the fave veggies were the grilled squash and a spicy bok choy, finished with a sweetish walnut oil.  Being a bitter cocktail fan, I also enjoyed the baby swiss chard salad with shallot confit.  The menu was a bit advanced for our kids, but they were good with the lemon chicken, the sugar snap peas, and the tiny carrots (radishes, not so much).

Liquor license is still on its way, but I enjoyed a couple of Blueberry shrubs ($4 each).  I have heard that Brendan has moved away, so while I think he still designed the cocktail menu, I don't think he will be there for operations.  I am happy to see Evan Colondres there as GM, I enjoyed his cooking at Komi and Little Serow.

Seating/walkways is a bit tight, service was extremely friendly towards our family, and you may ask for extra plates to share dishes.  I look forward to seeing this place evolve!  Already it is a very enjoyable, and culinarily distinctive, experience.

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They started serving beer and wine today.

I took Don's advice and came for dinner tonight. Only 4 other diners in the place at peak time but that will change, and soon.

The menu was almost entirely different than what Don described above, but still delicious. The green beans were there, and worth getting. I need much more lamb pancetta in my life.

Slow cooked squash salad with pickle reduction was almost a confit of squash. I was worried, but the level of acidity was perfect. A dish that looked quite simple but showed some real skill in seasoning.

Fried pickled chard stems were like giant fried pickle spears, served with "ranch" dressing. I could eat a million of these.

Swordfish was served grilled medium rare, delicious on its own but taken to a whole new level with the chipotle cherry caramel sauce.

Roasted beets with horseradish and pancetta were juuuuuust against the line of perfect salt to too salty. I love walking that line, but I suspect others would have found the dish a bit too salty. I think the beets would've been delicious without the pancetta, and I wonder if they'd be cool with making it totally vegetarian.

Rabbit poutine with goat cheese curds was a waiter-suggested dish, and was, like the chard stems, something I would eat all day in a blissful haze of inebriation.

I concur with ordering the shrub. Delicious and definitely not too vinegar-y.

I also concur that this place will make a big splash on the scene far beyond just the NE DC neighborhoods. Go now, or don't come complaining about the wait times in a few weeks.

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Fantastic.

I stopped by an empty Sally's Middle Name at 5:30 on Monday evening, and had one of the very best meals I've had in a long time.

 ...and what showed up in front of me was a golden shower of peas that I will remember for a long, long time.

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It's really damn good. We went on Friday night and were able to grab three bar seats pretty much immediately. I think it would have been about 45 minutes for a table. We ended up ordering almost everything on the menu, and everything was delicious. Really glad this place is open. 

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Do they take reservations?

Not that I know of, but get there before 8, and you should be fine.

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Not that I know of, but get there before 8, and you should be fine.

Ugh. I hate rolling the dice with these kinds of places. <sigh>

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Ugh. I hate rolling the dice with these kinds of places. <sigh>

What dice are there to roll? All the reports so far are of people showing up and sitting down to dinner right away.  I imagine if you show up at peak time on a weekend, you'll have a wait, but the same goes for most any other restaurant in the District.

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What dice are there to roll? All the reports so far are of people showing up and sitting down to dinner right away.  I imagine if you show up at peak time on a weekend, you'll have a wait, but the same goes for most any other restaurant in the District.

I suspect Pool Boy may be worried about a potential Rose's Luxury type of situation, and quite honestly, I can potentially see this happening if word gets out about their focus on healthy, standalone vegetable small plates - not this week, but soon.

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Do we know the answer to this yet?  I'm going to guess "Anne" but if I'm going to push it a little more, maybe "Alexandra"?

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I suspect Pool Boy may be worried about a potential Rose's Luxury type of situation, and quite honestly, I can potentially see this happening if word gets out about their focus on healthy, standalone vegetable small plates - not this week, but soon.

Me too! That's why you gotta get in now while the getting's good!

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Me too! That's why you gotta get in now while the getting's good!

Correct. I hate not being able to secure a reservation. I hate waiting and asking to put my name in and getting a who knows how many minutes until you can be seated response. I know why restaurants are veering in this direction, but I fricking hate it.

I'll have to get there before word gets out if I want to eat at a reasonable time on the weekend (weeknight treks to DC dining are possible, but the exception, not the rule, for me).

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Do we know the answer to this yet?  I'm going to guess "Anne" but if I'm going to push it a little more, maybe "Alexandra"?

The answer to what?

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We got there about fifteen minutes after they opened this Saturday and were literally the first patrons in the restaurant. When we left after 7, it was about half full.

Delicious meal.

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The answer to what?

The explanation of the name is here.  It's the only place I've seen it explained.

Short answer without reading the link:  Chef's sister Sally does not have a middle name and he does.  He said that when he opened his own restaurant it would be called "Sally's Middle Name" so she would be able to say her middle name was a restaurant in DC.

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The explanation of the name is here.  It's the only place I've seen it explained.

Short answer without reading the link:  Chef's sister Sally does not have a middle name and he does.  He said that when he opened his own restaurant it would be called "Sally's Middle Name" so she would be able to say her middle name was a restaurant in DC.

Oh, I got that entire story from my bartender (an exact match, too).

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Oh, I got that entire story from my bartender (an exact match, too).

 

shoulda known it was a trick question.

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i cannot say how happy I was to walk into this restaurant and see an illuminated blackboard filling the wall, with the menu written in very large, clear print.  YES!  It's the easiest time I've had reading a menu in ages.  I hope that, even if they introduce paper menus, they keep the blackboard.

The edible highlight of my meal was the string beans with anchovy, garlic, and chili. At $8, it was the most expensive food item I ordered and it was worth every penny.  The beans were fresh and crisp and the seasoning was spot on. The friendly bartender mentioned that this was a preparation they had used with other vegetables in the past.  My only nitpick is that this was (literally) too small a small plate.  The beans (both green and wax) stretched across the diameter of the little plate, covering the entire surface and making it a bit challenging to cut and eat the beans without having food spill off the plate.  I could have remedied this by asking for a larger plate to offload onto, but I didn't think of it at the time.

I started with a cold pea and cucumber soup with yogurt ($6).  I found it a little too thick, but it was refreshing and a good combination for a summer soup.  It would have been even better with just a tiny bit more thinning out.

For $7, I tried the New Bay chicken thigh in green goddess.  The chicken was clearly high quality and well-cooked but I didn't care for the seasoning, which is their version of Old Bay plus extra spices.  The extra spices were warm (cinnamon was the only one I could identify specifically) and I found them overpowering.  Instead of the pool of green goddess on the plate cooling the seasonings down, I thought the green sauce clashed with the seasonings on the chicken.

I finished up with a generous $4 scoop of housemade black raspberry ice cream.  They won't have it on the menu for much longer, until they can get more black raspberries, so now is the time to get it.

It was a little odd getting a check with the total already finalized, but I was happy not to have to calculate a tip.

Since I don't see it mentioned in this thread, I'll make the note that the day of the week SMN closes is Tuesday.  I was reminded of this when I checked their website to make sure they were open Mondays.

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I was reminded of this when I checked their website to make sure they were open Mondays.  

Yes, I was told that they wanted to keep Monday night as a sort of "industry night." There are several restaurants in town doing this now - I can think of several off the top of my head - maybe I'll start a list in the Dining Guide forum.

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Pat:  "Since I don't see it mentioned in this thread, I'll make the note that the day of the week SMN closes is Tuesday."

Yes, I was told that they wanted to keep Monday night as a sort of "industry night." There are several restaurants in town doing this now - I can think of several off the top of my head - maybe I'll start a list in the Dining Guide forum.

Tuesday is fast becoming the new Monday (or Sunday).  It is, I believe, the day off for Seki and Donburi, too.  Others?

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