Chances are you've never had—or heard of—many of the ingredients that appear on the menu of just-opened Shaw restaurant, the Dabney. Chef Jeremiah Langhorne uses lemon-like "flying dragons" add some zing to a scallop crudo with bits of bacon. Autumn olives (little red berries, not olives) decorate a yogurt-topped sorbet made with kiwi berries, which taste kind of like kiwi but are the size of grapes.
Almost every ingredient at the Dabney is sourced in the mid-Atlantic region, either through local farms, foraging, or the restaurant's rooftop garden. Over recent months, Langhorne has pickled and preserved some 150 pantry items, ranging from watermelon molasses to paw paw puree, with the goal of capturing the lesser explored flavors of this region.
Despite some of the foreign-sounding ingredients, the menu has homey roots. Langhorne took inspiration from historic cookbooks and uses a hearth similar to those of the 19th century to prepare much of the food. An Eastern Shore-style chicken and dumplings platter served with a simple skillet cornbread and pickled vegetable salad is a more refined take on a staple from Langhorne's dad.
Cocktails likewise employ pantry items from rhubarb tea to sorghum vinegar. The drink menu also showcases a number of local ciders and beers, while wines have a more European bent.
Y&H will have much more background on the Dabney in this week's print column. In the meantime, check out the opening menu below. Keep in mind the dishes may change. Langhorne plans to update the menu as often as every day, depending on what's available and in season.
The Dabney, 122 Blagden Alley NW; thedabney.com
Photo by Ashley Zink