From The Wall Street Journal November 2015. By JANE BLACK Nov. 9, 2015
The Rise of Mid-Atlantic Cuisine
Long overshadowed by the South and New England, the mid-Atlantic region is staking its claim to culinary greatness. But what is this cuisine, exactly? These fall recipes, great for the holiday table, offer a taste…
IF YOU’RE NOT from Washington, D.C., you might raise an eyebrow at the breathless reception that’s greeted the city’s biggest restaurant opening in recent memory. Sure, the Dabney, which debuted last week, has a pedigreed chef: Jeremiah Langhorne served as chief forager and chef de cuisine under Sean Brock at the celebrated McCrady’s in Charleston, S.C. And it has a chic space: 60 seats and a rooftop garden tucked inside a charming brick alleyway downtown. But even more gratifying for Washingtonians is the concept. Mr. Langhorne calls it mid-Atlantic cuisine.
Washington’s restaurant scene has soared in recent years. It’s home to super-chef José Andrés; Aaron Silverman, whose Rose’s Luxury is widely regarded as one of the country’s best restaurants; and plenty of former reality TV “cheftestants.” But Mr. Langhorne, who grew up in and around the city, aims to do more than open a restaurant. He’s determined to give Washington, at long last, a culinary identity.
“I want people to see what’s here,” he said, “to bring back some things that have been forgotten but also to carry the torch and see what else we can come up with.” He spent 18 months researching regional ingredients and traditions with the fervor of a freshman member of the House Freedom Caucus. His pantry includes cured Virginia ham, Chesapeake oysters, sorghum, pawpaw fruit and Red Fife wheat, which he uses in dishes such as a creamy oyster stew and original condiments like pawpaw miso.
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