If you still have not been lucky enough to snag a reservation at the Michelin-starred Shaw restaurant The Dabney, which opened in October 2015, then The Dabney Cellar might just be your new best friend. The latest venture from The Dabney's co-owners Jeremiah Langhorne and Alex Zink is opening directly below the restaurant, serving a curated beverage menu and several shareable dishes.
Chef Langhorne's food menu will change daily, and be announced on social media each afternoon as well as on the Cellar's large chalkboard, but will focus on small, shareable dishes. Guests can expect the Mid-Atlantic cuisine featured atThe Dabney to carry over to the Cellar, with dishes such as scallop crudo, foie gras parfait, and marinated kale salad. A shellfish bar, East Coast Oysters and housemade, locally-sourced charcuterie and cheeses will always be available. On opening night, the menu included black pepper crackers ($3), tuna tartare with sweet and sour sauce ($12), scallop crudo with b.b. mayo ($12), buttermilk bacon biscuits ($5), foie gras chicken liver mousse ($11) and five varieties of oysters ($16 for 1/2 dozen, $32 for a dozen).
Beverage Director Zink has concocted a 30-deep menu of wines by the glasses, with an emphasis on small producers, as well as a selection of ciders, draft beers and signature cocktails with a twist -- think a Negroni with El Buho Mezcal, Aperol, Don Ciccio amaro, Barolo Chinato and pineapple weed, or Daiquiri with Hamilton Black Jamaican Rum, Angostora amarao and lime.
"We always knew we wanted to use the cellar space under The Dabney for a concept that would give us more flexibility and freedom in both our food and beverage program, as well as to showcase another experience from The Dabney," said Zink.
The Dabney Cellar is housed in the basement of a classic rowhouse on 9th street, and guests enter down a winding staircase. The decor, conceptualized by Edit Lab at Streetsense, features an exposed brick wall with reclaimed wood shelves built in to hold the cellar's spirits collection. Opposite the bar are custom iron racks, which hold some wine along with firewood for the restaurant's wood-burning hearth upstairs.
“The design of the Dabney Cellar is a more rustic and casual take on the warm residential feel of the Dabney’s dining room," said Brian Miller, Streetsense's senior design director. "The cellar was dug out with surprisingly high ceilings and a more airy feel than its small footprint would suggest ... It’s a simple approach, with wood shelves behind the bar, a chalkboard featuring the day’s menu, and openwork gilded iron lanterns over the bar tables.”
The subterranean bar has seating for 30 guests, between bar space and a few candle-lit tables scattered throughout the tavern.
The Dabney Cellar takes walk-ins only and is open from Wednesday – Saturday from 6 p.m. – midnight; 1222 9th Street, NW