City Paper is not for tourists
The Dish: Maple Marinated Feta with Dehydrated Olives
Where to Get It: Ellē; 3221 Mount Pleasant St. NW; (202) 652-0040; eatatelle.com
What It Is: To prepare this dish, chefs marinate soft Greek feta in maple syrup overnight. Separately, they brown butter, cool it, and blend it with maple syrup until it has a mousse-like texture. They then place a small quenelle of the blended butter atop the cheese and scatter finely chopped, dehydrated black olives across the plate. To get all these components into one bite, reach into a jumble of toasted house-made focaccia rectangles brushed with olive oil and freckled with Maldon sea salt and swipe at the cheese.
The Story: Credit goes to sous chefs Chris Yates and Demetri Mechelis. When they proposed the idea to executive chef Brad Deboy, he was intrigued. “I was thinking, ‘What kind of stoner concoction is this?’” he says. “It sounded weird, but I wanted to try it.”
He was quickly won over—and so are diners. Introduced just a few weeks ago, the maple marinated feta is already a top seller. The only dishes more popular are the kimchi toast and the fried duck with a biscuit.
What It Tastes Like: The unique flavor combination works. The syrup adds sweetness to the cheese’s briny tang, the butter possesses a rich nuttiness and another smack of sugar, and the olives have a salty punch.