Monday, June 01, 2015

Previewing Sally's Middle Name

This post is not a review, it's a preview. It's a little taste of what the soon-to-open Sally's Middle Name (1320 H Street) has to offer. I have to say I was impressed. I should also tell you that I tried the place on a night where everyone's check was discounted 50%.

The corned beef with sauerkraut, arugula, and bread

I ordered six plates (there were two of us, and we would have been full enough after four items, but really wanted to get a good sense of the menu): the Sautéed Asparagus with Garlic and Lemon ($5), the Smoked Duck with Mint and Nouc Cham ($12), the Rabbit Poutine with Goat Cheese Curds ($12), the Pickle Plate ($4), the Roasted Radishes with Lemon and Pesto ($6), and the Corned Beef with Sauerkraut, Arugula, and Bread ($9). Sally's wasn't serving alcohol that night (they'll offer beer and wine in the next week or two, with cocktails coming later), but they did have some other quality beverage offerings, including a blueberry shrub and a ginger limeade.

The asparagus with garlic and lemon

Honestly, everything we had was great. The real standouts for me were the asparagus and the corned beef (which was really terrific), but the duck was also up there. The menu at Sally's will change daily based on what's available and super fresh, so it's probably best to walk in with an open mind.

The pickle plate included selections like turnip, onion, tomato, and almond. There was a nice mix of sweet and savory pickles.

As I've mentioned before, Sally's serves homemade ice cream. They had five varieties the night I went: maple walnut, mint (which came out the color of green tea ice cream), strawberry, Oreo, and birthday cake. If we hadn't indulged in quite so many small plates we absolutely would have ordered a scoop alongside of a slice of the rhubarb pie. I also saw tempting orders of strawberry panna cotta pass by my table.

Who can say "No" to poutine (or cheese curds for that matter)?

All items were conveniently marked with GF (for gluten free) and DF (for dairy free), where appropriate. They do not mark things as vegan or vegetarian, but I was assured that they train their staff extremely well on menu items and that servers will happily tell you what is vegetarian/vegan, and what is safe to order with various allergies. They also promised me that they will always have at least a couple (probably more, based on the menu I saw) vegan items on the menu at any given time. They told me that "One of our goals is to make sure that we are able to accommodate as many dietary restrictions as possible - while maintaining a menu that reflects the culinary creativity of the kitchen."

Smoked duck with mint and nouc cham

Parents of very young children will be glad to hear that they have plenty of highchairs.

Roasted radishes with lemon and pesto

Sally's Middle Name officially opens at 5:30pm Wednesday. They serve dinner (expanded meal service coming in the future), and you can get French press coffee during the day.


curmudgeon said...

What does a "lifestyle boutique" mean?

Anonymous said...

If you have to ask,then the carefully curated life style boutique is not for you. By the way, no one cares that it isn't.

Anonymous said...

Is this a rose's luxury rip off?

troll said...

even the name sounds like rose's luxury

Jesse said...

I think you folks mean Roses Dream...down the street, right? ;)

Looks pretty tight for high chairs. How many kid friendly stars would you give it?


inked said...

I believe they tweeted a pic of highchairs in use during dinner service. The table next me included a small child, but she definitely did not need a highchair.

Jesse said...

Thank you inked!

Anonymous said...

Can I please still get pizza?

Anonymous said...

I read this place does 18% mandatory gratuity. wtf is that? is this the next truorleans?

inked said...

The service was good when I visited. There is an 18% service charge/included tip on all bills. That is shared among all staff, except for owners Aphra and Sam Adkins. Servers are paid an hourly wage, and any tips left beyond the 18% go to charity. Read more about it.

Anonymous said...

yeah but that's insane. 18% mandatory charge? that's just not right. what if it's not deserved?

Chris said...

That *is* odd.

I've eaten at places that do something similar, including the donation to charity of any tip beyond the automatic amount; but those places just fold it into the price of the items and say "Instead of paying our staff via tipping, we pay them via a decent wage. No tipping requested at all; any tip will be donated to charity."

Chris said...

Anon 3:46pm: it's not a tip, so whether it's deserved or not is a non sequitur.

Think of it like this: the restaurant discourages tipping, and the people that work there don't receive any tips. They do, however, pay their employees with an hourly wage + revenue sharing. The more the restaurant makes, the more the staff makes. The service charge collects the revenue sharing money.

What seems dumb to me is that they don't fold that service charge into the item prices; most Americans are so used to tipping, and have so little experience with restaurants where there's no tipping and staff are paid a decent wage instead of being paid through tips, that the way this place is doing it is pretty much guaranteed to generate complaints like these. If instead there was no service charge, and they continued to discourage tipping, but all their prices were 18% higher, it'd come out exactly the same for everyone, but nobody would think they were being forced to tip for bad service.

Anonymous said...

I get coffee in the morning and I am asked for a Tip
I listen to NPR and I am asked to Support NPR
I recv a call from school asking me to Donate
I leave work and people shaking a cup ask me to help them out
I go buy groceries and have to scan and bag them myself
I get paid and 1/3-1/2 of my check goes to taxes for programs to help others
I buy food and clothing and my wages are taxed again
I am told I need less and a smaller carbon footprint and should happy to pay more for it

I am tired of helping others and never having enough for me

Anonymous said...

make your own coffee
listen to a radio station with commercials
dont answer your phone when they call
dont give them money
this is because you dont want to pay for someone to bag your groceries
vote for someone else
vote for someone else
choose not to have a smaller carbon footprint

count your money.

glad i could help.

richard said...

The food is a delight and this restaurant is a welcome addition to the H. Street area. As much as I wanted to support Pizza, Parts & Service, at least two of the three Ps were always lacking in quality. Coupled with the other recent and applauded opening on the block, this excellent new restaurant ushers in a welcome improvement in the dining selection in the Atlas District.

As to the 18% auto-gratuity, I applaud Sally's Middle Name for this choice, which I hope will eventually become more standard. It has been more than two decades since I worked as a server or bartender but one only has to look at the comments above to realize that patrons have not become more gracious towards the individuals cooking and serving their food.

Anonymous said...

@1:52 Thanks for trying to help, but I dont think my walking away is the answer to the problem. My turning my back on things might give me a temp solution but not much. Last I heard we do vote for someone else every election. Lincoln is dead so is Kennedy, Ike and Reagan not sure how voting for someone else will fix anything. I shop at Giant and Whole Foods prices are the same on many staples not sure how my paying more would help my bag problems when jobs are replaced but the people remain......Sincerely thanks for thinking about it though!

Anonymous said...

I'm fine with this as long as it's displayed prominently on the menu, not as microscopic text somewhere at the bottom. There have been many times when I haven't realized there is a gratuity added, and added my own. Yes. I should study my bill more closely, but I am just not used to expecting this.

As far whether service will suffer... I just won't go back if service sucks. Whatever.