Cane opened this week on H Street NE, bringing D.C. something completely new to the scne: a restaurant modeled after the rum shops of Trinidad from a chef schooled in fine dining.
Last week, chef-owner Peter Prime was saying he’d continue to workshop his menu until the last minute. Prime, who introduced the District to Caribbean-inflected barbecue last year at Spark at Old Engine, pledged to mix and match modern and traditional techniques, using a sous vide bath where he felt necessary while also relying on a pressure cooker just like his mother and sister, the trusted home cooks in his family.
On the opening menu at Cane (403 H Street NE), Prime suggests guests start with doubles, a popular street food that consists of fry bread, curried chickpeas, and hot relish. During happy hour, he’ll pull hot trays of hops bread — crusty rolls that contain no hops — out of the oven and stuff them with smoked brisket, duck, or cheese.
Tiffin boxes, stackable sets of portable metal lunch boxes, are a nod to the island nation’s Indian influence. At Cane, the compartments make for a fun presentation for a shareable snack or meal. Paratha bread from the bottom chamber can be used to scoop up a variety of curries. An omnivore set ($32) comes with curries featuring potatoes, chickpeas, beef, and chicken. An herbivore set ($28) features a butternut squash curry.
A short list of entrees includes pepperpot, a meat-packed stew that Prime’s family used to eat on Christmas mornings, as well as grilled, marinated oxtails and whole fried snapper with pickled chiles.
Rum, of course, will drive the bar program. Two early standouts on the cocktail list are the Carnival, a blend of light and dark rum, coconut orgeat syrup, pineapple shrub, and angostura bitters served in a metal cup, and the Cane Fever, which mixes Trinidadian rum with pineapple-habanero shrub, lime, and sparkling water. An Irie Old Fashioned integrates house vanilla bitters and cane sugar.
Here’s a look at the opening menu at Cane:
Cane menu by on Scribd