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The Dabney, Chef Jeremiah Langhorne in Blagden Alley near Mount Vernon Square

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I don't know if this warrants a different thread but I recently had a very enjoyable meal at "The Dabney Cellar" which is a wine bar located under the normal Dabney Space.   The food menu however is completely different (I think the wine menu is largely different as well but can't confirm without it being posted online), and the cellar isn't even accessible from inside the main restaurant but rather from some semi-hidden stairs on an adjacent street.  Food here is simpler than upstairs but you can expect the same high quality ingredients.  Lot's of raw stuff (oysters, crudos), country hams, cheeses, and a few other things.

My meal consisted of splitting Oysters > Black Pepper Crackers > Tuna Tartare > Buttermilk Bacon Biscuits > Broadbent Country Ham, Foie Gras Parfait, and a full serving of buttery Lobster Toast made with brioche.  Hams and raw things where expectedly high-quality - the tuna was very citrus-y like a ceviche but pulled off very well, buttermilk bacon biscuits were insane (coming from someone who doesn't normally freak out for biscuits or things with bacon), and the Lobster toast was an awesome entree-ish course.  The obvious comparison on the last one is Kinship's lobster french toast but while that is more of an app with some nice subtitles to it (although by no means light), this is more of a kick in the teeth with a ton of lobster blasted with brown butter and herbs.  The only thing we didn't like was the foie which was disappointing as that's usually an easy home run for me - the foie itself didn't taste great, nor did I care for the preparation.  In this case it hardly mattered though given the many other great courses and the fact that it was only $10 for the dish.

I don't remember exactly what I drank but thought the wines were impressive - I was worried they'd be locally focused but it definitely leaned more Italy / France / Spain than anything else (no complaints here).  Our bartender / server was on point as well and even hooked us up with a delicious dessert drink on the house, which was greatly appreciated.  

This made me want to go back to the main Dabney restaurant, mainly because this was actually a bit better than my first meal there at maybe half the cost food-wise.

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In celebration of Capital Pride, we went to the Dabney.  We asked for some recommendations and our waitress rattled off 3 vegetarian dishes.  So we ignored her recs.

The first two dishes trotted out were the Tuna Crudo and Asparagus & Crab.  The tuna, accompanied by radish, snap peas, chili, basil & benne turned out to be poke.  It's a nice poke, but not nearly as good as the warm lump crab served with garlic chive cream.  I'm guessing the crabs were very fresh.  Then we had a crispy softshell crab, and that was followed by some charred bok choy with hush puppies & bacon.  The last two dishes were crispy pork belly and fried sugar toads.  That pork tasted like it was confitted and then pan seared - very good.  The puffers were seasoned like Korean fried chicken.

Every dish is well executed and the service is top notch.

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19 minutes ago, Ericandblueboy said:

When did every dish come with greens on top (or on the side) start?  This is also the case at A Rake's Progress.  

Blame (or credit) Rene Redzepi and David Kinch. 

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1 minute ago, Kev29 said:

Blame (or credit) Rene Redzepi and David Kinch. 

This sounds like some scary, Russian conspiracy.

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We went to Dabney, and then the Dabney Celler for a nightcap.  Both were good but not the amazing I had though.  Now I admit some of this is likely due to the heat, eating at an open kitchen with a roaring fire when it is over 95% is probably not a great option. 

I started with the Sorghum and sage cocktail since I'm a huge fan of the barr Hill Tom-cat gin - it was quite nice.  I later had a Peach & Bay to keep on my gin trend - good but preferred the Sorghum and Sage.  

For Food we started with the Seven Sisters Cheese  - so good, Charred eggplant dip - nice to have an eggplant dip that is not baba ganoush .  Sunny side up farm egg with pigs ears was wonderful - can I get pigs ears strips next time someone wants to serve me fries?  The Bloody Butcher cornbread was good but not at all cornbread. Foie Gras parfait was wonderful and one of the few dishes we fought over.  Chesapeak sugar toads were to mild to hold up to the batter - nothing exciting there.  There was a special sliders that was quite good.  and we finished up with the Tartine.  Was nice to order a few small plates at a time. 

Dessert was Woodruff custard - quite good and the Chocolate basil & benne sundae - amazing.  

Over all I was pleased and if it was more convenient and easier to get reservations I might go back but many other places to try before we do.  I suggest going on a cool/cold night.

The Cellar - around the corner basement entrance is much more a wine and cheese / charcuterie bar then a cocktail bar (which is what we were expecting).  Go expecting wine and cheese and you will be pleased. 

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