Chef Peter Prime makes eating chicken feet particularly appetizing. When his restaurant, Cane, opens next month on H Street NE he’ll prepare them in a style similar to how he enjoyed them as a kid in Trinidad. After the chicken feet are cooked through, he pulls them out of their cooking liquid and tosses them in lime juice, cucumber, and hot peppers for a quick pickling effect. Then it’s into the deep fryer before a final coating of ginger caramel.
Prime first made a splash in D.C. at Spark in Bloomingdale, where he cooked Caribbean-inspired barbecue with flair. (Spark is currently closed as it transitions into a new business model focused on tasting menu dinners, catering, and events.)
The rising chef’s next project will be more personal. “It’s an expression of me right now,” Prime says. “I’ve been thinking about the food I grew up with. I’ve been playing with it.”
The dinner menu opens with starters. That’s where you’ll find the chicken feet and another texturally adventurous dish—cow heel souse. The soup, which Prime calls “great drinking food,” utilizes the gelatinous skin, tendons, and cartilage from the heel area. “It’s really tender and delicate,” Prime says. He combines the meat with lime, shaved onion, culantro, and peppers. “It’s a bunch of unctuous tendon, but it’s still bright and pickled.”
Then it’s onto roti and tiffin boxes that highlight India’s influence on Trinidadian culture and cuisine. The tiffin boxes, which serve two people, come with strips of roti bread and an assortment of curries and chutneys. “When I first started to go to school, that’s some of the stuff we’d get sent to school with,” Prime says. “It’s pretty typical. A lot of Indian workers take their lunch to work like that.”
Larger plates are served with a side of coconut lime rice. If you’re the kind of diner who goes for a meat-lovers pizza, opt for the pepperpot, a stew containing oxtail, brisket, and beef ribs served with fermented cassava. Prime believes the dish has origins in Guyana. Pair it with a side of Trinidadian macaroni pie, which opts for long, bucatini pasta instead of short, squat noodles. View the complete dinner menu below.
Prime, together with his sister Jeanine Prime, hope to launch Cane in mid-February, serving breakfast and dinner. Lunch and a late-night menu will be added once the restaurant finds its footing.
The pair are shooting for a lively and casual atmosphere. “I’m going to put my heart into the food,” Peter says. “It’s going to be serious food, but I want people to come have fun. The rum punches should add to that.”
Cane, 403 H St. NE