Around Town: DBGB Opening

Sep 24, 2014 by

Around Town: DBGB Opening




DBGB DC is currently open for dinner, rolling out brunch and lunch in the next few weeks.  Boulud said this restaurant was going to be the most American of his French restaurants.  Also it is noted because it will be serving the “Crabbie” with a nod to SpongeBob.  But all that makes it sound so much less of what the opening showed it is likely to be.

The bar, with marble and mirrored walls with etched quotes about libations was playful.  I enjoyed reading the quotes.  I liked the height of the space and it made it feel a little less loud while quite packed on opening night.  Wine, beer, cocktails were served, we tasted two of the cocktails which I have to say even on a packed night they were shaking up quickly and consistently, so kudos on that.  The upstairs private dining was much more normal corporate feel with carpeted floors and blue walls, it wasn’t as colorful, but still had fun views with big windows on each side.  The upstairs was very loud, but there were also a lot of people up there because of the raw bar.  I hope the guys shucking oysters aren’t there normal crew because one guy was kind of butchering all of his, but the others were nicely cut without too much disturbance to the oyster.

On the main floor going back towards the dining room from the bar there were shelves with plates painted by other chefs, cookbooks and other items.  The plates were really the coolest part.  Some chefs (cough cough Cathral Armstrong) were phoning it in, and some are really cool.  A few are so well done I wonder if they had someone do theirs for them.  But they were fun to see and some of the chefs I didn’t know I was looking up to see what restaurants they were from.  It gave it a very casual feel, while not being super casual, reminiscent of a less Southern Empire State South.  The back wall can open up completely to the inner courtyard there of City Center which was a really nice feature, it really made the space feel open and kept that section a little less noisy even when really full.  I assume they are going to have some patio space, which would be nice given the large courtyard.

As to the food, there were a lot of excellent bites at the opening that represented dishes off the main menu.  I think the food will be casual, but thoughtful enough to pull off casual well.  There was an anchovy dip that wasn’t bagna cauda that was really unusual, but so good, I hope this shows up somewhere on the main menu.  There were some nice surprise tastes in what might be a very seen it dish, such as their tuna with harissa, and amazing roasted eggplant with very melt in your mouth soft flavorful lamb and an escargot dish that was more than just butter and garlic, in a good way.  I thought the sausages in the chorizo ish hot dogs were well made and really flavorful.  You could tell from the menu this is a place that will be able to serve all day, which I think in this area of town is a good thing.  A huge advantage they have for them is the the bread will be from Mark Furstenberg.  A French restaurant with decidedly excellent bread can never be a bad thing.  This shouldn’t be a surprise, but especially in DC it sometimes is, if the desserts on the menu are as excellent as the opening this is going to be a really strong portion of the menu, which is something I think is exciting.  The desserts are the items that really stayed in my head and would make me want to go back. Overall based on the opening, I am excited to see the menu and try some dishes.  I think it will represent as another solid option in that area.  So we will see.  But the opening was a lot of fun.  If nothing else the man can throw a great party and be the star of it very well.


The opening was definitely a party.  Baked Alaska, flames, a speech and lots of chefs.  It’s an atmosphere I wish I could have more often when I go out to eat because it was just fun.


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