Capital Chefs, Food and Drink, The Features

Capital Chefs: Anthony Lombardo of 1789 (Part II)

 

Reading (more like drooling) through the seasonal menu at 1789, there were at least a dozen dishes I would have loved to make with Chef Lombardo,  like the Duck Confit Strudel with mascarpone cheese, cherry compote and foie gras creme (umm yes, that’s duck, cheese, and foie… all packaged up in a pastry). But we agreed to make something lighter, a dish that us home cooks could take a stab at and hopefully succeed in impressing future dinner guests, because I don’t know about you but I ain’t messing with no home-foie gras. We chose to make the Yellowfin Tuna and Florida citrus salad, a dish that can easily be a starter or a main course, with vibrant colors and clean, fresh flavors.

Being that it was at 1789, I expected  a million techniques and sauces and tricks and expensive ingredients to come together, but the opposite occurred. Simplicity is the name of the game here. The yellowfin tuna is cooked just rare, served warm on a bed of sliced oranges and grapefruit, drizzled with a lemon vinaigrette and topped with a fennel and mache salad. The combination of citrus, crisp, salt, pepper and mixed temperatures makes for a satisfying and beautiful dish.

This year, 1789 is celebrating its 50th anniversary, and as part of that celebration is offering diners an opportunity to have a 5 course meal for $50.00. If there is one thing you have to do right this month, its this. Let Lombardo take care of you, you can thank me later.

Find the recipe after the jump, and bring a little 1789 home.

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Capital Chefs, Food and Drink, The Features

Capital Chefs: Anthony Lombardo of 1789 (Part I)

It was a rainy, grey Sunday, which in my book usually means a day spent in bed, catching up on emails while watching some god-awful reality show that makes me question humanity as we know it. But the saving grace this Sunday was Anthony Lombardo, Executive Chef at 1789 Restaurant. He greeted me with a smile and a cup of coffee presented in a large plastic cup, “You gotta drink it like the chefs do” and I happily obliged. And thus, my day as a poser began.

1789 needs little introduction-  it is a Washington DC staple, a Georgetown establishment that has fed Presidents, international Diplomats, celebrities and the like. It is also smack in the middle of one of the youngest areas in town, forming part of the Georgetown University campus. As a Georgetown student I never dined at 1789, rather, our friends would gather down at The Tombs, where beer ran cheap and burgers were substance enough. There’s a beautiful juxtaposition between the two; 1789 and The Tombs. The Tombs is packed with students; the culture hungry, the intellectuals, the dreamers, the young and somewhat restless. 1789, above, is where that Tombs student wants to be one day. Established, powerful, settled, taken care of by world class staff and in a world class setting. The harmonizing link between the two is Chef Lombardo, whose responsibility it is to run 1789 and the Tombs flawlessly.

A year ago, Chef Lombardo was given the position as Executive Chef at 1789 after a grueling interview process. In just two hours the man cooked six dishes- all of which he recounted in exact detail, for a panel of judges. The panel undoubtedly made the right choice, bringing in a chef who is focused on quality ingredients, flawless execution, and flavorful perfection, not to mention with the right leadership and right attitude to lead one of the most important kitchens in the city. In the year Lombardo has been at 1789, the restaurant has had its most successful summer yet, and that’s saying a lot seeing as it has been around for 50 years now. He was given full control, changed the entire menu, introduced new techniques and spruced it all up with a fresh, new attitude.

A young Italian-American kid from Detroit, Lombardo grew up around two things- food and diversity. These two fueled a great culinary journey- for one lends itself well to the other. Lombardo was influenced heavily by his Italian family roots, and by his Middle Eastern migrant surroundings, which taught him understanding and acceptance, and a whole lot of humor. His cooking is undoubtedly American with an Italian undertone, a combination which is equally reflected in his persona. Within minutes of meeting Lombardo you are instantly at ease. He is a far cry from what I expected a chef of his caliber to be like- young and unafraid, welcoming and warm, all at the same time. And the dude knows how to crack a joke probably as well as he knows how to cook.

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Eat Like Me, Food and Drink, The Daily Feed

Sugar and Champagne Affair

Photo courtesy of Plantains & Kimchi
chocolate custard, cocoa crumble with roasted banana ice cream @ Watershed- Washington, DC
courtesy of Plantains & Kimchi
It’s almost time for the Sugar and Champagne Affair — back next month for the eleventh year. As the name implies, Sugar and Champagne is a dessert and bubbly reception that benefits the Washington Humane Society.

Once again hosted by Chef Todd and Ellen Gray, the event highlights all things sugary and sweet, with chefs showcasing their confections. Of course, leashed dogs are welcome and encouraged to attend. So walk around with your favorite four-legged friend and eat desserts and doggie hors d’oeurvres respectively.

Chefs on-hand for the VIP reception include:

New this year: you can also meet contestants from TLC’s show Next Great Baker. Held Wednesday, February 1st, at the Ronald Reagan Building, the event begins at 6pm with the VIP Chefs’ Tasting Room followed by the General Reception at 7pm. Click here to purchase tickets.

Food and Drink, The Daily Feed

Chef News: 1789 Gets New Executive Chef, Anthony Lombardo

Photo courtesy of
‘embossed menu’
courtesy of ‘philliefan99′

As I previously wrote, 1789 lost its long-time executive chef, Dan Giusti. The restaurant announced that Anthony Lombardo is taking the helm as the new executive chef. According to a news release, Lombardo was most recently the executive sous chef at Casa Nonna and like his predecessor, was also a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America. In addition to having worked at the Italian eatery in Dupont Circle, Lombardo was the chef de cuisine at Bacco Ristorante in Southfield, Michigan for four years.

Lombardo has already started in the kitchen, so it should be interesting to see how the menu will change in the coming months.