The Dish: Wild Burgundy Snails
Where to Get It: Pennsylvania 6, 1350 I St. NW; (202) 796-1600; pennsylvania6dc.com
What It Is: The dish starts with a half dozen Burgundy snails nestled on a base of mushroom duxelles cooked with garlic and red wine. Each snail is then topped with bone-marrow butter—an unusual addition to traditional escargot preparations—and a buttery breadcrumb crust flecked with tarragon, parsley, chervil, and lemon zest. It’s served in a cast-iron escargot dish with grilled Lyon Bakery bread.
What It Tastes Like: Actually, let’s start with what it looks like—something burned and sad, something that you definitely shouldn’t eat. But after you shrug your shoulders, give yourself your best “I can do this” speech, and dig in, you’re rewarded with tender snails bathed in an earthy, rich, and complex sauce. You’re going to get all of those satisfyingly decadent French flavors.
The Story: While it’s currently only available on the dinner and brunch menus at the D.C. location of the smallish East Coast chain, Culinary Director Brian Cooke notes that it was partially inspired by the bone-marrow appetizer and the marrow butter used to top one of their steaks at the Philadelphia location. “We tried probably 10 different variations,” Cooke says of the research and development phase for the snail dish. “I just felt like they were dry every time I tried them.” That’s where the red wine and bone marrow came into the equation, adding both moisture and flavor. And while it might sound even less appetizing to learn that the snails come from a can, this is actually the case at pretty much every top-tier restaurant serving snails in the U.S. Cooke likens it to San Marzano tomatoes, canned with care at the peak of freshness.