City Paper is not for tourists
The Dish: Tuna Ganoush at Siren
Where to Get It: Siren, 1515 Rhode Island Ave. NW; (202) 521-7171; sirenbyrw.com
What It Is: Bread service at the freshman seafood restaurant encourages guests to swipe house-made lavash through a concoction starring tuna poached in olive oil that’s blended with a generous amount of capers, pickling brine, and a hit of espelette pepper. It’s formed into a football-shaped quenelle and accented with pulverized fennel and coriander seeds plus a tableside drizzle of olive oil infused with morel mushrooms, ginger, preserved lemon, and star anise. Chef John Critchley recently added a pickled tapenade of peppers, olives, and garlic to the plate.
What It Tastes Like: Fancy, Mediterranean tuna salad, which isn’t a bad thing. (I tried it before the addition of the tapenade, which probably takes it to the next level.) Overall, it’s a really thoughtful and tasty bread service thanks to the pillowy lavash triangles that are cooked on the plancha and re-toasted to order.
The Story: Critchley says this thoughtful freebie came about because he wanted to find a way to use the whole fish. “With us having a raw bar and having sashimi slices of raw tuna, we typically need to find a way to repurpose the sinewy parts,” he says. Partner and Chef Brian McBride came up with the name, which is a play on baba ganoush, the traditional Middle Eastern eggplant spread. It comes to the table after any raw bar dishes since Critchley says it pairs better with warm seafood, and many guests ask for seconds.