What’s Cooking, Neighbor?


 

From its opening in 1960 in a Federalperiod
house near Georgetown
University, 1789 Restaurant has always
been known for excellent lamb. “When
I came on, it was the first thing I noticed,”
says Anthony Lombardo, who was appointed
executive chef in 2011. (We got together for
a chat at his favorite table, number 26 in the
Manassas Room.) “It’s a signature dish by
popular demand. So, I sourced the best lamb
I could find, from a small Mennonite farm in
Cumberland, Maryland.”

His seasonal American menu, with entrée
headings of Sustainable Seafood and Humanely
Farmed Animals as well as details of origin for
the farm-goods purveyors, leaves no doubt of his
locavore leanings and eco-consciousness. “You
won’t see tuna or Chilean sea bass on our menu,”
he says. “We’re looking at the big picture, the
future of agriculture.”

Lombardo developed a love of the land and
cooking from an early age. Growing up in the
Detroit suburb of Sterling Heights, his family
enjoyed weekend drives for seasonal produce
sold at roadside stands. “In summer, it was
Michigan corn every night for two months,”
he fondly remembers. On yearly fishing trips
to Canada, teenage Anthony learned how to
properly fillet and cook the catch of the day. At
extended family gatherings of this Italian clan, it
was his aunt Mary who “always destroyed everybody”
with homemade angel hair pasta topped
with fresh tomatoes and basil from her garden.
After graduating from the Culinary Institute
of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., in 2004,
Lombardo was off to a four-month Slow Food
program in central Italy, where he worked in
a butcher shop taking apart whole animals.
He credits Luciano DelSignore, owner of the
renowned Bacco Ristorante in Southfield, Mich.,
for his kitchen management skills. “He was my
career mentor, who taught me how to run an
efficient, effective restaurant.”

Such expertise serves him well at fine-dining
1789, the crown jewel of Clyde’s Restaurant
Group. Expanded over the years to four townhouses,
there are six dining rooms, decorated
with early American antiques and historical
prints. Tables are set with fine linens and giltedged
Limoges china. Gas lights flicker. The
restaurant’s numerical name honors the year
when the land was first purchased by Archbishop
John Carroll (Georgetown University’s founding
father), the village of Georgetown was incorporated
and the Constitution of the
United States was adopted.

“We have customers who have
come for their wedding anniversary
for 30 years. They come for
Christmas, for birthdays,” says the
chef. “They have their favorite tables
and servers.” A recent trend is the
growing number of same-sex couples
who choose the 55-seat Middleburg
Room for their wedding receptions.

“That’s really cool,” he says.
For Restaurant Week 2014 (Jan.
13-19), chef Lombardo’s menu
includes a choice of starters –
Brussels sprout salad, pork terrine
or oyster stew – and entrées – lamb
shoulder with bone marrow grits,
teres major beefsteak with roasted
maitake mushrooms or scallops with
oxtail ragu. For dessert, pastry chef
Ryan Westover offers carrot cake
with purple carrot sherbet or an ice
cream sundae.

Calling his Brussels sprout appetizer
“a nice, healthy, hearty winter salad,”
Lombardo says, “It’s not cooked to death with
bacon and oil, but rather the raw sprouts are
shaved, saving the vitamins and minerals.”

Brussels Sprout Salad
Serves 4

Ingredients:
1 pound Brussels sprouts, shaved thinly
1 1/2 cups toasted pine nuts
3/4 cup shaved pecorino Toscano
cheese
1 head Belgian endive, julienned
For the dressing:
4 tablespoons grain mustard
3 tablespoons lemon juice
10 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
Combine all ingredients

What’s Cooking, Neighbor? visits with wine,
food and entertaining professionals who work
in the Georgetown area. Georgetowner dining
columnist Walter Nicholls is the food critic for
Arlington Magazine and a former staff writer for
The Washington Post Food section.

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