For the last five years, DBGB at CityCenter DC has provided the District with the classic French cooking championed by its revered French chef and owner Daniel Boulud, who is also at the helm of two-Michelin starred DANIEL in New York. With such a pedigree backing his work, it’s not surprising that DBGB, currently run by Chef Nicholas Tang, who himself brings a global perspective along with a focus on local seasonal ingredients, continues to be one the most consistently solid restaurants in the city.
I dined at DBGB recently to try their Festive menu for the season and enjoyed a wonderfully complete and delicious evening. This four course offering, available through the month of December for lunch and dinner is such a great deal for the quality and quantity of food you get: it is $65 for lunch and $78 for dinner. The special menu has been designed in a way to facilitate ease of choice, with lots of luxurious touches to really get that “treat yourself for the holidays” feeling.
For the first course, you have a choice of a kale salad that comes with delicata squash and quinoa, or Maryland crab cakes with celery root and mustard. I am absolutely obsessed with winter delicata squash, and loved the roasted addition to the salad. The crab cakes were also good, with 2 nicely sized, meat heavy cakes. If you’re really feeling festive, you can begin with an optional champagne toast and tarté flambée for the table prior to the first course for $10.
The second course is a wild mushroom cavatelli with shaved black truffle and Parmesan, and was easily one of the highlights. The layering of the pasta with the hearty mushrooms and the generous shaving of truffle merged together beautifully – I would happily order this again and again.
Moving to the third course, diners have a choice of classic French offerings: salmon with lentils, steak au poivre, or duck a l’orange. We went family style at the table, so I was able to try all of these options. I highly recommend that you and your dining companions do the same with picking different options to share, because all the dishes are really good.
The duck is just fantastic; the crispy skin was superbly done, and the meat was tender and flavorful. It’s served on a bed of wild rice along with endive and a sauce “bigarde” made with oranges. The dish itself is beautiful to look at and generously portioned. It does cost a $5 supplement, but it’s absolutely worth it.
Also enjoyable was the NY Steak Au Poivre: peppered striploin served with buttery smooth pommes puree, brussels sprouts, and an Au Poivre sauce. A combination that is always satisfying if done well, and in this case was faultless.
If you want to keep it just a bit lighter, the salmon is a good option. It’s nicely done with a crispy skin and served with puy lentils and savoy cabbage. The whole grain mustard jus is a tasty touch that complemented the peppery lentils well. A vegetarian main course can also be available upon request – just make a note of it on the reservation – but you could also request it on the day of and the kitchen will accommodate you.
To finish off, dessert is a classic holiday Bûche de Noël– chocolate flourless cake with chocolate buttercream and served with a refreshing coffee ice cream. The cake was also well made and nicely creamy. You’ll also get freshly baked Madeleines, which if you are too full at this point make for a great takeaway to enjoy with coffee later.
Rounding off the dining experience is a good wine pairing if you choose, which is $45 and includes 3 oz pours for each course. I was especially happy to see local selections from Early Mountain in the pairings. It’s always nice when a larger restaurant of this caliber supports local food and drink purveyors.
Overall, all the dishes were enjoyable with a few that truly amazed. For this quality of food, the price is not just reasonable, it’s a steal. This would be a great option for work holiday parties, or a holiday gathering for larger groups this December. Or just to go treat yourself.
DBGB continues to be a winning restaurant.
DBGB: 931 H St. NW, DC; 202-695-7660; www.dbgb.com