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Good meals out leave lasting impressions. So much so, that you yearn to be able to recreate the dishes at home. Some D.C. restaurants are taking the guesswork out of it by making the recipes for their signature dishes public, potentially revealing secrets that keep customers coming back for more.
One such coveted plate is the pork lychee salad from Rose’s Luxury. Named one of the “24 dishes that shaped how D.C. eats” by The Washington Post, it’s become a sought-after dish with its contrasting flavors of sweet lychee and fiery, crumbled pork.
In 2014, Chef Aaron Silverman shared the recipe in Bon Appetit. Thirty-eight people have posted user reviews on the recipe, which leads off with, “We know, this pork dish from Rose’s Luxury sounds nuts.”
“The lychee salad was a hit before Bon Appetit published the recipe,” Silverman says. “However, it’s been great to hear from people that they make it for a dinner party or to impress their friends. We were happy to share it.”
Rose’s Luxury rotates its menu seasonally; the pork lychee salad is the only item that is available year-round. “It’s a crowd favorite, and one of our favorites, too,” Silverman continues. “There are many Instagram posts that Rose’s Luxury gets tagged in of ‘homemade lychee salads.’”
Spike Mendelsohn, the D.C. restaurateur behind Good Stuff Eatery and We the Pizza, has also shared some of his notable recipes online. The “Prez Obama Burger” recipe from Good Stuff Eatery was not only released in the Good Stuff Cookbook, but is also available on ABC News’ website for free. Mendelsohn says that having his recipes publicly available doesn’t take away from the business.
“We really believe that what we offer in our restaurants is an all-inclusive experience,” Mendelsohn says. “So when our guests come in, they are able to eat great food in a fantastic place and usually with good friends. The recipe, although delicious, is just one component.”
Mendelsohn and his sister, Micheline Mendelsohn, take pride in knowing that people want to experiment in their home kitchens.
“These recipes have been worked on within our family and contain great memories for us, and to be able to share, and hope people replicate great meals around our food, is just fantastic,” Spike says.
Adam Bernbach, the beverage director of the cocktail bar 2 Birds 1 Stone, shared his bar’s frosé recipe with Washingtonian in 2016. He believes that once he creates something, it belongs to everybody.
“I don’t think there’s an emotional attachment, and I don’t worry about somebody copying what we’ve done—if they decide to sell a version of our recipe, we’re still the original and they would be the ones copying.”
2 Birds 1 Stone has been one of D.C’s best-known cocktail bars for the past five years. Its cocktail menu changes weekly and features locally sourced ingredients.
“I think the basic business function [of publishing a recipe] is its resulting publicity, but I think a cool thing is that it further spurs the creative process by inspiring others to remix it,” Bernbach says. “Having access to this information is why this field of ours is constantly evolving.”
2 Birds 1 Stone will be closing at the end of August, so get to the bar while you can. Or, just make the drinks at home.