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The Dish: Anson Mills “Charleston Gold” Brown Rice
Where To Get It: Gravitas, 1401 Okie St. NE; (202) 763-7942; gravitasdc.com
Price: Part of a tasting menu ($78 to $110 depending on the number of courses)
What It Is: A mound of buttered rice speckled with wakame seaweed and shiso topped with a drizzle of sweet soy sauce and a poached egg. To make the dish, Chef Matt Baker first boils seaweed with soy sauce, sesame, honey, and kombu. He then uses the remaining broth to cook the rice. After he folds in the butter and diced seaweed, he tops the plate with a soy-poached egg yolk and herbaceous shiso that’s Japan’s answer to mint.
What It Tastes Like: All of the best characteristics of Japanese breakfast. It’s briny, full of subtle umami flavor, and filling enough to give you energy to last the rest of the day. Baker can’t possibly have a light hand when it comes to the farm butter that gives the dish its fluffy, creamy qualities. The texture of the Charleston Gold rice proves why the brand is so trendy. “It’s almost like sushi,” Baker says. “You can feel the texture of every single grain.”
The Story: “It started because I have a 9-year-old stepdaughter who is a little picky, but she loves things that are plain and buttery,” Baker explains. He makes fluffy white rice laced with butter for her. At the same time, the chef was looking for a way to include seaweed in the menu at his Ivy City restaurant that opened earlier this month. “It’s the next frontier, so I was looking for some applications that are cool,” he continues. So far the dish is popular. Gravitas has already gone through 30 pounds of a 50-pound bag of rice from Anson Mills. The dish is vegetarian like many of the selections on Gravitas’ locally driven menu, which is set up for diners to build their own tasting menus of four to seven courses.