Rutabaga Awakening

March 7, 2013

Beuchert’s Saloon’s oxtail tagliatelle is one of many hearty meals on the restaurant’s soft-opening menu.

I never thought I’d write a column in praise of rutabaga, but it was hard not to after tasting it at Beuchert’s Saloon (623 Pennsylvania Ave. SE; 202-733-1384). As one of many veggie sides on the menu during the “farm American” restaurant’s soft opening (through March 15), chef Andrew Markert’s rutabaga mash ($6) is eye-opening. The oft-ignored root veggie is whipped to a smooth consistency and topped with toasted shallots, manchego cheese and roasted apple slices. Each bite delivers a different mix of sweet, salty and earthy flavors, and it’s surprisingly hard to put down your fork until you’ve cleaned the bowl. As my husband says, it tastes “like a better version of Thanksgiving mashed potatoes.”

In fact, a lot of what’s being served at the cozy saloon reminds me of rich holiday fare. Beuchert’s hearty oxtail tagliatelle ($12 small plate, $23 entree) tastes appropriate for our recent cold snap, and is as complex in flavor as the rutabaga. I also enjoyed the creamy, goat cheddar-laced grits ($6), and bananas Foster “twankies” ($7), a super-saccharine riff on Twinkies.

No restaurant soft opening is completely glitch-less (that’s kind of the point of calling it “soft”). But based on the stellar dishes I’ve tasted, Beuchert’s has nailed its pre-view period. I look forward to the official, “hard” times to come — which hopefully will include more rutabaga.

Continue reading
Comments
Show Comments
Most Read

express

express

Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Next Story
How do restaurants' takes on brand-name staples stack up?
Emily Heil · March 7, 2013