Keith Cabot is now executive chef at Evening Star Cafe in Alexandria.

Cabot plans to debut his new menu at Neighborhood Restaurant Group's fixture in the Del Ray neighborhood on Oct. 3. Evening Star's last executive chef was Jim Jeffords, who departed in the fall of 2014.


Keith Cabot, seen here while he was chef de cuisine at the late Menu MBK, is now in charge of the kitchen at Evening Star Cafe. (Scott Suchman for The Washington Post)

Cabot, 30, said one of the main attractions of Evening Star is how long it's been around -- 18 years. There are plenty of employees who have been on the staff for more than a decade, he said.

Also a big draw: the restaurant's rooftop garden. Cabot will make significant use of its 15 raised beds. He estimates about 40 percent of the dishes on the menu will feature something from the garden.

"We can plan the dishes out," Cabot said of his plan to stagger crops to last into the fall and winter. "We can strategically figure out what to put on the menu when."

As to the type of cuisine he'll be serving, "We're definitely trying to get away from the Southern stamp," Cabot said. His goal is to introduce more global flavors while still highlighting regional fare. Dishes will include pork croquettes with shaved squash, paprika aioli and toasted Virginia peanuts, as well as roast chicken breast with yellow wax beans, marinated cow peas, toasted almonds and madras curry carrot puree.

Cabot said the revamped menu will be broken up into four largely size-driven categories. He was quick to note that dishes will come out in an order that makes sense and not just as they're ready, a pet peeve he said he's trying to avoid.

Before making the move to Evening Star, Cabot most recently had a hand in helping restaurateur Ari Gejdenson open Denson Liquor Bar and Sotto, the subterranean tavern underneath Gejdenson's Ghibellina.

[Sotto's jazzy past sits just below the surface]

Cabot's local resume also includes about a year as chef de cuisine at Frederik de Pue's now-shuttered Menu MBK. Post Food critic Tom Sietsema awarded Menu 2 1/2 stars last year during Cabot's tenure.

Evening Star Cafe, 2000 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria. 703-549-5051. www.eveningstarcafe.net.

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