Restaurant: The Dabney

Carol, Diane, Sherry, Michael, Debbie and I went to the Dabney on a Wednesday night.

The restaurant seats 75-80 people plus the bar. There is an outside area that seems to seat about a dozen, weather permitting, which was not the case the night we were there.

The menu for a given night is posted around 5:00 p.m. each evening with the restaurant opening at 5:30 p.m. As the group of us drove to the restaurant that night we were able check the menu online to give some thought to dinner options.

As you enter the restaurant, the greeter’s station is at the door to the right. Straight ahead is a large square bar with up to 20 seats on two sides. The other side is where the servers get drinks for folks at the tables in the dining room.

Tables start a bit behind the greeter’s station and then wrap around to the left. There is a very large open grill and kitchen to the far right that fills that wall of the restaurant.

In front of the kitchen/grill is an area of 2, 4 and 6 tops which then wraps around to the left, ending at the far wall with a banquette that fronts 4 – 2 tops.

Our table was roughly at the point where the main dining room turns.

Our server was Chanel.

The restaurant is a bit noisy. It may be easier to have an ordinary dinner table conversation at a 4 top rather than the 6 top.

When we arrived just before 6:00 p.m. there were a number of open tables and numerous seats at the bar. When we left at around 8:30 p.m. most of the tables were filled, every seat at the bar was taken and there was a crowd of a dozen or more at the front door waiting to be seated. As we left another half dozen folks arrived.

In terms of who ordered what for dinner, just about everything was shared. It basically came in four shifts.

For our table, rather than telling our server Chanel (who was excellent) what each of us wanted, I checked off the items on the menu that was provided at the table for that day and gave it to Chanel.

Before the first course was served a basket of grilled, oiled bread was brought to the table; it was especially tasty.

For the first course we had Smoked Clams, Head Lettuces – winter citrus, onion, batch#15, golden raisin, & mint; Charred Carrots – whipped ricotta, crunchy chili, smoked honey & chervil.

Before the second course was delivered there was a change of dishes and silverware and this was the norm after each course.

For the second course we had Crispy Fried Catfish – hot honey and buttermilk dressing; Grilled Scallops – fried bread salad, country ham, vinaigrette, pickled onion, & turnip; Chesapeake Rockfish – tatsoi, roasted garlic-whey, & bay leaf; Seed-Crusted Swordfish confit potatoes, escarole, pea shoots & anchovy dressing.

The third course consisted of Charred Sorghum-Glazed Short Rib, potato puree/charred winter greens, grilled onions/horseradish sauce and Bloody Butcher Cornbread. Notedly the order of short ribs was large enough for the five of us who were interested in eating short ribs.

The final course was dessert. Dark Chocolate Mousse – einkorn crisp & coffee milk and Buttermilk Pie – toasted meringue & blood orange sherbet.

Overall, we were more than fulfilled and there was nothing served that we did not enjoy. Everyone looks forward to our next visit.

Making a reservation for this very popular restaurant is simple, but not simple. I was delegated the responsibility for garnering a reservation for dinner for six people on March 21st. Reservations for a particular night become available at noon 14 days before the selected date. At noon on March 7th I called the restaurant and made the reservation for 6 p.m. on the 21st with no difficulty. Happily, the number of folks in our party was six because that is the largest number for which a reservation is available.

When you get an email confirmation of your reservation, it is made clear that your table will only be held for 15 minutes past the appointed time, but you are given a number to call if you are going to be a little late.

The restaurant is not open on Mondays.

The restrooms are down a corridor at the end of the open kitchen.

There are two unisex restrooms. The one that I used was small but ample with a greenish wood door inside with a useable lock.

It has a full height white ceramic commode next to a white ceramic wall-hanging wash basin with a small mirror framed above it. There is a waste basket below the wash basin.

The walls are covered with a busy large flower wallpaper from waist height to the ceiling. Below waist height the walls are covered with off-white rectangular tiles.

There are metal bars at waist height behind and to the side of the commode. The floor is covered with tiny white ceramic rectangular tiles.

There is a rectangular table, the top of which holds a basket full of white rolled up towels, a candle and assorted bathroom items. A shelf below holds a very large quantity of rolled toilet paper and additional rolled towels.

The Dabney
122 Blagden Alley NW
Washington, DC 20001