Sally’s Middle Name: Fried Pickled Chard Stems with Ranch

Chard stems

H Street’s latest restaurant, Sally’s Middle Name, doesn’t play by the rules. Your server will not hand you a paper menu because all of the offerings are scribbled on the walls. Nor will your server allow you to tip. In a city whose religion is following the rules, it’s fun to shove some restaurant norms to the side for a night.

If the restaurant reminds you of something that you can’t quite pin down, we’re willing to bet it’s Rose’s Luxury. The space is cool and quirky, the plates don’t match, the service is casual but polished, and some dishes even look familiar (like beef brisket or brined chicken). But, the Best Thing on the Menu is unique to Sally’s Middle Name: Fried Pickled Chard Stems with “Ranch.”

If you dig fried pickles, you’ll love these sour stalks that hit the fryer, especially after you dip them in ranch dressing. Ranch is having quite the resurgence. It’s no longer relegated to serving as the obvious dip for dreary looking carrot sticks at PTA meetings. There’s even a new ranch restaurant in St. Louis.

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The menu at Sally’s Middle Name changes daily, but the stalks seem to stay on, making them a bit of a signature dish. After the stems, the Next Best Thing on the Menu would probably be something from the dessert selection, like these cannelloni-shaped beignets.

Just one word of warning. Portion size doesn’t always match up with price at Sally’s Middle Name. The culprit during a recent meal was a 3.5oz portion of halibut served on a thin ladle of tomato sauce presented on a bread plate for $20. This is partially why, after ordering six dishes, my dining companion and I ended up at Maketto eating fried chicken.

Find Sally’s Middle Name at 1320 H St NE.

Fried pickled chard stems not your BTM? Share your favorites in the comments section.

Maketto: Fried Chicken

Fried Chicken

Maketto is getting wedding anniversary level love lately. The Post’s Tom Sietsema penned a rare glowing review and Eater named it one of the best new restaurants in America. Given these fireworks, you’re likely headed there soon.

It’s easy to get distracted at the H Street spot that exudes cool. Should you drink coffee or booze? Should you buy those condoms out of the vending machine? Should you sit inside or outside? Upstairs or downstairs? Should you pick up that gun powder scented candle for your dude friend? These questions about Maketto deserve answers, but your focus should remain on the food because it lacks the watered-down effect some Southeast Asian eateries suffer from.

Sure, the bap buns are fantastic. In fact, Chef Erik Bruner-Yang is so well known for his buns that they pretty much double as his business cards. But, they’re not the Best Thing on the Menu. That honor is reserved for the fried chicken. Giant cutlets come in a sticky bath that should be illegal, especially when served with warm (seemingly fried) bread designed to lap it all up. The portion size is as generous as a grandparent during Christmas and the kick comes from chillies and fried shallots.

Mala Colada

If heat is your thing, pair the fried chicken with a Mala Colada. The tropical beverage carries a welcome Tabasco-level of spiciness. Not into alcohol? There’s more to the beverage program at Maketto, including sipping vinegars and cool flavors of kombucha.

Fried chicken not your BTM? Share your favorites in the comments section.

Maketto is located at 1351 H Street N.E.