Somewhere between a flapjack and a potato latke on the pancake continuum sits the johnny cake. It’s of sturdier construction than your mom’s Bisquick recipe, yet the crispy, golden-brown exterior crackles apart at the touch of a fork.
“Hot, buttery goodness” is how a bartender at the Kangaroo Boxing Club described the new restaurant’s cornmeal johnny cakes; they’re available as a side item ($4) at the 11th Street NW barbecue den and arrive with a half-melted dollop of maple butter (they’re pictured above, to the right of the ramekin of baked beans).
And while a full order would be good enough to entertain as an entree, there’s an appealing, hearty decadence to layering pulled pork, baked beans or KBC’s brisket atop the coarse, delicate pucks — a method of consumption that recalls The Star and Shamrock’s Latke Madness sandwich (layers of corned beef and sauerkraut between three potato pancakes) or the buckwheat pancakes (served with pulled pork, coleslaw and blackberry syrup) at Bryan Voltaggio’s new Family Meal.
Johnny cakes are a diner staple in New England, and you might find them listed on a menu as hoe cakes as you head down South. They’re also popular in the Caribbean and West Indies.
Got a favorite spot for johnny cakes in the D.C. area? Let us know in the comments.
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