Sally’s Middle Name is yet another gem that has opened in the notorious, up-and-coming H Street Corridor. With its minimalistic vibes, fresh and veggie-centric menu, and attention placed on dairy and gluten-free grub, it’s a restaurant you need to go to if you want to know what good food is…
I walked into Sally’s Middle Name on a Friday at 6pm and was welcomed by a beautiful open kitchen and a chalkboard with the night’s menu (as it changes daily to accommodate the freshest produce). It takes a certain kind of bravery to have a kitchen as open as the one at Sally’s Middle Name, but once I tasted the food it was clear these people have nothing to hide.
The menu at Sally’s Middle Name follows somewhat of a tapas-style. I have to admit, I typically don’t enjoy tapas because I feel like I spend a huge chunk of change just to have an empty stomach, but the portions here were on point. I ordered five of their small plates, and it was enough food to leave my 6’5” guest and me stuffed to the gills.
My first dish was a perfectly executed Butternut Squash Curry. Sally’s’ ability to deeply transform this squash into something that tasted meaty and hearty was unbelievable. The curry tasted just like something you would get at a Thai restaurant, and it was clearly the real deal – no Americanized and watered down dishes here.
Next came the Chicken Thigh with Green Goddess sauce, and the Harissa Carrots. The chicken had that crispy skin crust every home chef always attempts to perfect accompanied by the most tender meat. The Green Goddess sauce added a beautiful color and creamy texture to the dish.
I especially admired the preparation of the Harissa Carrots, as they were boldly served nearly crunchy. This at first seemed untraditional, as most eaters are used to soggy, overcooked root vegetables, but consuming carrots that required some chewing was really refreshing, and the spiciness from the Harissa was a great accompaniment.
The last course was the Bistro Fillet with truffle butter, and the Sweet Fingerling Potatoes with sauerkraut. Sharing the fillet was incredibly difficult for me, as I would have gladly inhaled multiple of those fillets on-site with no shame. The steak was cooked to the ideal temperature, and rare enough for you to realize the high caliber of meat you were consuming.
The Sweet Fingerling Potatoes might have been my favorite savory dish. I was especially drawn to this dish because I did not know sweet potatoes even came in fingerling form. I didn’t care to read the rest of the ingredients in the dish, but once it was in front of me, I realized sauerkraut was included. The only memory I have of sauerkraut is one of the parents bringing in a Crock-Pot full of the stuff to my fifth grade class when we were learning about Germany. I was hesitant about my first bite, but once I sank in and experienced the creaminess of the sweet potato along with the sauerkraut that was sour in all the right ways, I think I became a convert.
For dessert, I had the Coconut Ice Cream. I have so many feelings about this ice cream and I don’t really know how to articulate them into words. It was without a doubt one of the best bites of food I have ever eaten. Despite not including any dairy, the ice cream was creamier than any ice cream on the market, guaranteed. As my guest will attest, I very obviously had an out of body experience while eating it. It’s that good, and I would travel from any where at any time of day to eat that dish again.
When I asked the head chef at Sally’s the premise behind the restaurant, he told me he wanted to make good food and cook things people loved to eat. Sally’s Middle Name has truly surpassed those modest goals, and is really one of those incredible restaurants you read about but never think you’ll actually experience in real life, until you do.