The Dabney – Well Deserving of It’s Praise

The Dabney – Well Deserving of It’s Praise

Originally posted in June 2016, re-posted due to the recent Michelin Star award. 

There’s a reason Jeremiah Langhorne’s farm-to-table restaurant The Dabney, tucked away Shaw’s Blagden Alley, has quickly risen to not only the talk of the town, but to major food critics and culinary publication’s radars. It’s likely part of the same nostalgia you get as you walk inside the wooden doors and are greeted by a quaint, farm style porch that makes you feel as if you’re in a familiar kitchen from a time long forgotten. It’s the smokey, burnt smell of the open kitchen’s star attraction – a wood burning fire pit in which most of the food is cooked on, or in, or is kissed in smoke someway – that makes you feel at home. You know this smell. It’s familiar; just like the friendly staff who offer to take your gym bag to get it off your hands, not out of sight. They’re not over-dressed or over-hipstered, they’re attentive but not hovering, they’re like friends you would enjoy a cool Rose and oysters with on a warm summer night. The wooden tables, the custom made clay dishes, the iron farmhouse chandeliers; it all feels right. It works. It’s the hushed tones of patrons talking to Frank or Tyler about their favorite bitters rather than hurriedly looking at their phones. It’s the reflection you catch of yourself as you snag a peak in the mirror behind the bar, and you’re smiling and didn’t even know it. Perhaps it’s the same smile that graces your face as Chef and owner Jeremiah says “Hello” from his helm at the kitchen pass as you head through the intimate dining room toward the well appointed and always fresh restroom. It’s the smell of freshly baked bread as your delicate pork belly slider is placed in front of you that reminds you of home. It’s the feeling you get, from the second you walk in the door that stays with you long after you leave.

It’s this feeling that you belong right here, right now, at this very moment, eating this, and drinking that. It’s this feeling that’s the reason The Dabney is what it is. And what it is, is simply amazing.

Some restaurants gather buzz from long lines. Others because you may see a celebrity. And yet others still because it’s in a basement, or on a roof, in a seedy part of town. Sure, there may be a mom and her daughter gathering along side a K Streeter waiting for his buddy as the doors open at 5:30pm, and we have no idea if Joe Biden eats there, and in it’s recent past, the area was known for it’s sketchiness. But that’s not why Food & Wine Magazine named them one of the ten Best Restaurants of the Year, or why the James Beard Foundation named them a semifinalist for Best New Restaurant of 2016, and likely dozens of other accolades we’re not mentioning. The Dabney is gathering their praise because they deserve it.

Sure, food makes the restaurant. But as we’ve learned from the, now viral, Washington Post food critic Tom Siestma’s review of Founding Farmers, it’s a combination of atmosphere, food, and service, and The Dabney nails all three.

While the menu changes regularly (and some of these options may no longer be there depending on what’s seasonally available), here are some dishes we’ve enjoyed. Cheers.

CHESAPEAKE ROCKFISH butter poached leek, snap peas, meyer lemon, lettuces, & tarragon
CHESAPEAKE ROCKFISH butter poached leek, snap peas, meyer lemon, lettuces, & tarragon
SOFTSHELL CRAB green garlic, radish, basil, rhubarb, & hollandaise (very seasonal)
SOFTSHELL CRAB green garlic, radish, basil, rhubarb, & hollandaise (very seasonal)
HEARTH-ROASTED VEGETABLES summer farro salad & herbs from our garden (changes at least weekly)
HEARTH-ROASTED VEGETABLES summer farro salad & herbs from our garden (changes at least weekly)
HOUSEMADE PORK RINDS, crispy fried pork fat with BBQ seasoning (often off the menu or on the bar menu)
HOUSEMADE PORK RINDS, crispy fried pork fat with BBQ seasoning (often off the menu or on the bar menu)
PORK BELLY SLIDERS housemade bread, pork belly, Duke's mayonnaise, arugula, pepper jelly or similar (off the menu or on the bar menu) -- best pork belly slider ever
PORK BELLY SLIDERS housemade bread, pork belly, Duke’s mayonnaise, arugula, pepper jelly or similar (off the menu or on the bar menu) — best pork belly slider ever
Housemade bread, toasted on the fire, with a sweet and salty herbed butter
Housemade bread, toasted on the fire, with a sweet and salty herbed butter
GRILLED RADISHES with a cool dipping sauce
GRILLED RADISHES with seasme seeds and a creamy, light dipping sauce
Their version of a fisherman's stew; clams, fish, potatoes, greens in a light broth (currently not on the menu)
Their version of a fisherman’s stew; clams, fish, potatoes, greens in a light broth (currently not on the menu)
GRILLED PHEASANT with mustard caviar, celery, carrots, potatoes, housemade bread in an amazing broth (currently not on the menu)
GRILLED PHEASANT with mustard caviar, celery, carrots, potatoes, housemade bread in an amazing broth (currently not on the menu)
BLOODY BUTCHER CORNBREAD
BLOODY BUTCHER CORNBREAD
CHANGING STEAK OPTION, typically seared and served over charred greens. This one had edible flowers, radishes and a flavorful sauce. A meat option is always on the menu.
CHANGING STEAK OPTION, typically seared and served over charred greens. This one had edible flowers, radishes and a flavorful sauce. A meat option is always on the menu.
ROASTED MUSHROOMS with bitter greens, fresh herbs, cheese
ROASTED MUSHROOMS with bitter greens, fresh herbs, cheese
PATE often changing, there is typically a pate or terrine on the menu. All locally sourced and made in house.
PATE often changing, there is typically a pate or terrine on the menu. All locally sourced and made in house
There is almost always an egg dish as well. This one was visually stunning with a poached egg tucked inside a small vessel with herbs and a foam. Stir, dip with toast, enjoy.
There is almost always an egg dish as well. This one was visually stunning with a poached egg tucked inside a small vessel with herbs and a foam. Stir, dip with toast, enjoy.
BRUSSELS SPROUTS charred on the fire with sesame seeds, parsley, and crispy onions
BRUSSELS SPROUTS charred on the fire with sesame seeds, parsley, and crispy onions
PORK TENDERLOIN grits, seasonal veg
AUTUMN OLIVE FARM PORK BELLY, mustard sesame glaze, grits
WHOLE ROASTED FISH, seasonal with charred greens and mixed veg
WHOLE ROASTED FISH, seasonal with charred greens and mixed veg
PEANUT BUTTER AND RAISIN CAKE with celery ice cream (a playful riff on "Ants on a Log")
PEANUT BUTTER AND RAISIN CAKE with celery ice cream (a playful riff on “Ants on a Log”)
"CREME BRULEE" ice cream dessert
“CREME BRULEE” ice cream dessert

As a active student of life, you should never take anyone’s word for anything. If you haven’t tried The Dabney for yourself, you should, and feel free to let us know what you think.

The Dabney
122 Blagden Alley
Washington, DC 20001

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