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Reema Desai

The Dabney

Written by
Reema Desai

The area around the Convention Center used to be a dead zone, stuck between the Logan Circle/Shaw area where all the cool kids live, and Chinatown where people work and watch the Wizards and Caps disappoint every May.

But things have been changing lately, and one of the first places to pop up in the section of town was Blagden Alley (an actual place, not somewhere from Harry Potter). There’s a cool coffee shop, a cycling studio, a juicery inside the cycling studio, wall murals, an auto shop that is just months from being turned into an art gallery housed inside a former auto shop (probably), and The Dabney. The whole alley was made to be Instagrammed, and The Dabney fits right in with that theme. The space has impressed interior designers we’ve eaten with here. And they have a wood-burning hearth instead of an oven. Because of course they do.

The food is also pretty good, focusing on locally sourced ingredients with a frequently changing menu. The menu is split between small plates and larger, meat-based, family-style dishes. While those larger items aren’t bad by any stretch, we’re bigger fans of the small plates.

There’s also a pretty great bar, serving drinks with herbs and fruits grown on-site, that works well for a first date when you aren’t ready to commit to a full meal yet.

So whether you’re in the mood for some good food, good drinks, or just really want a sweet Instagram post, hit up The Dabney.

Food Rundown

BBQ Seasoned Pork Rinds

Fried pork skin. What can go wrong?

Fried Farm Egg

Eggs, bacon dressing, cheese, and asparagus come together in some sort of weird, beautiful friendship.

Softshell Crab

We’re skeptical of anybody serving softshells all fancy, but they manage to improve on this by serving it with ramps, fermented strawberries and hollandaise sauce. One of our favorites here.

Charred Greens

A good side dish for even the most anti-veggie eaters out there, these taste like “fire” is an ingredient, and we mean that in a good way.

Half Chicken

If you are going the family-style route, this is our pick. Yes, it’s a boring choice, but it really is flavorful and juicy.


This is one of of the family-style options, but the best thing about it is that it comes with the charred greens and some tasty sweet potatoes.

Bloody Butcher Corn Bread

This gets hyped a lot, but we find it dry. Skip it.

Bourbon Brown Sugar Sundae

Order this. I don’t care if you’re full, just do it. It comes with housemade marshmallows, if you needed another reason to get this on the table.

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