Valentine’s Day always comes with the debate “do we go out or do we stay in?” The past several years we stayed in and cooked, until last year when we decided to venture back out (to The Partisan, one of my absolute favorite restaurants in DC!) This year we decided to go out again, but we went the day after—such is the trouble with those holiday reservations—to a place that’s been on my list for awhile: The Dabney.
The focus of The Dabney is its hearth, which is easily seen from just about anywhere in the restaurant. The space itself is lovely, open but not ridiculously loud, with a big bar up front and side patio with twinkly lights. The menu is constantly changing, so some of the things we tried may be long gone.
I decided to start with a cocktail. I can’t remember the name but it’s not on their menu anymore anyway. I wouldn’t recommend it. It was their play on a champagne cocktail (for some reason I was drawn to the sage) but it tasted like a digestif and I don’t love those.
We started food off with one of their “snacks,” the sweet potato roll with fried chicken hot honey, pickles, and mayo. It was amazing—don’t try and share one, you’ll each need your own!
They also brought out some of their bread, with their sorghum molasses butter (very interesting taste).
We couldn’t resist one of the signature dishes: the hearth-roasted vegetables with potato puree and crispy shallots. The vegetables were cooked perfectly (a little more on the crunchy side) and had the perfect amount of char and smokiness.
Next up we got scallops with greens, farro, apple, and bacon. Another amazing dish.
Moving on to the slightly larger items, we opted for a monkfish stew with beans. It was tasty but not as memorable as other dishes.
And then—because one of things you must get here is beef or pork—steak little dollops of truffle. Cooked to perfection.
We managed to leave room for dessert, which for us meant a heavenly bourbon brown sugar ice cream sundae. Happy V-Day to us.
Overall we loved our experience at The Dabney. It’s definitely on my DC favorites list now. The service was excellent as well. We had a very friendly server and the pacing was good. I was a little worried we would be rushed at first, as the first two dishes came out right after the snack, but we then had a lull to digest before any others appeared.
You can only make a reservation two weeks in advance, and it fills up very quickly! Be on their website at noon ready to go, or try and sit at the bar! The Dabney is located at 122 Blagden Alley NW (btw—Blagden Alley = adorable).