After almost two and a half years, The Dabney finally opened on Halloween. Chef Jeremiah Langhorne uses obsessively-sourced products to prepare dishes rooted in Mid-Atlantic food traditions. He actually tweaks the menu daily depending on the availability of ingredients.
The restaurant occupies an old row house in Blagden Alley. There's tons of exposed brick, an open kitchen and a wood burning hearth that's actually used to prepare food. Langhorne's novel concept has created some overwhelming hype. In fact, The restaurant has appeared in several national and local media outlets during the past month. It also has 23 Yelp reviews with an overall rating of four stars.
But can The Dabney live up to such high expectations? Read on for the early word:
The Charming Atmosphere News: Blogger What Mickey Eats writes, "Immediately, I fell in love with the charming atmosphere of the restaurant. I don't know if it was the warm and inviting interior, the rustic wooden tables, the lit candles, or the flannel wearing staff, but I liked it all." According to blogger DC Wrapped Dates, the interior is unique even though it incorporates from trendy elements. [DC Wrapped Dates, What Mickey Eats]
The Really Interesting Cocktails News: Instagrammer @thetrustedbarman says all the cocktails on the menu are "really interesting." Blogger DC Wrapped Dates writes, "Of note, are the Dabney Bramble - a light mix of gin, cherry cordial, lemon, and winter kiwi berry - so good, that the table orders a second round of it, and the Wisdom Above Rubies - a mix of amaro, housemade rhubarb tea, lemon, egg white, and bitters." Don Rockwell also mentions in his recent review that the Gimlet was perfect. [Instagram, DC Wrapped Dates, DR]
The Crusty Cornbread News: Instagrammer @sjirmer posted a photo of the browned cornbread in a cast iron skillet and writes, "As delicious as it looks." Yelper Carsten S. urges, "good god, just order it, don't even ask why, its amazing. my favorite was the crust." [Instagram, Yelp]
The Velvety Root Vegetable Chowder News: A recent article in the Wall Street Journal calls this dish, "a velvety root vegetable chowder bobbing with barely cooked Chesapeake oysters." Blogger DC Wrapped Dates says it's similar to a vichyssoise but lighter. Don Rockwell forum poster eatruneat says, "The chowder itself was...very good and light on the cream, which was appreciated… We could have used some pepper for the soup but overall I found it to be really good and well made." [WSJ, DC Wrapped Dates, DR]
The Delicious Buttermilk Biscuit News: Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay recently brought attention to The Dabney when he posted a photo of this dish on Instagram:
The Fresh and Tasty Pork Sausage News: Yelper Hannah H. writes, "Pork Sausage (grilled bread with onions, chilis, and herbs - this was a nice crispy rustic bread, topped with crumbled sausage; fresh and tasty." Bloggers Audsanns also says it’s "delicious." [Yelp, Audsanns]
The Best Fish in D.C. News: Diners are raving about the fish dishes. Yelper Win M. says, "The fried porgy was probably some of the best fish I've had in DC." Instagrammer @davetkumar calls the swordfish "Delicious and beautiful." Blogger Audsanns was happy with the fluke dish and writes, "I worried a little that it was 'seared' but that just meant perfectly and just barely cooked." [Yelp, Instagram, Audsanns]
The Creative Desserts News: Instagrammer @kimbryden says her favorite part the menu is "the creativity in the desserts." Diners are loving everything from the brioche ice cream with puffed grains and quince to apple crumble with wood-grilled marshmallow. But the standout dessert is clearly the peanut butter cake with celery ice cream. Yelper mish i. and Facebook poster Mandy Rude are dying to buy pints of it. Yelper Jane D.says the unexpected ice cream flavor is "the perfect counterpoint to the dense, moist, flavor-intense cake." [Instagram, Yelp, FB]
The Nothing for Vegetarians News: Yelper Joshua K. writes, "In my 37 years of being a vegetarian, I can't recall ever having dined somewhere quite as hostile as 'The Dabney.'…Despite my friend calling ahead and being assured they could accommodate me, I left my $75 meal hungry." Don Rockwell forum poster Lori Gardner says, "I would love to see more vegetarian/pescatarian friendly dishes available." Several other Yelpers agree. [Yelp, DR]
The Top Restaurant Contender News: Many omnivore diners, though, predict The Dabney will be one of D.C.’s top restaurants. Blogger What Mickey Eats writes, "it was one of the top restaurants we've dined at this year," and DC Wrapped Dates calls it "One of the most confident and intriguing openings in a year chock full of them. For me, an instant top ten - at the least - that is a definite recommendation for all." Facebook poster Spencer MJ says, "The Dabney is putting the Mid-Atlantic on the map" and Don Rockwell believes it should be on everyone's list of places to try. [What Mickey Eats, DC Wrapped Dates, FB, DR]