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The Dish: Charred chocolate rye withsalt-crusted sardine

Where to Get It: Tail Up Goat, 1827 Adams Mill Road; (202) 986-9600; tailupgoat.com

Price: $14

What It Is: Two slices of chocolate rye served alongside a whole sardine still half-encased in salt. The dish is accompanied by a quenelle of butter and pickled persimmons.

What It Tastes Like: If you didn’t know there was chocolate in there, you might not pick up on it. Despite the rich cocoa-brown color, the bitterness from the rye is the in-your-face flavor. Equally assertive sardines are a natural pairing for rye bread, which is as moist as a muffin with a crunchy crust. A bit of butter adds some richness and the pickled persimmons introduce a sweet tang.

The Story: While chocolate and sardines may seem as incongruous as snowboots in the Caribbean, the chocolate is meant to add an earthy, bitter background flavor to the rye bread. “It’s not like you’re biting into a chocolate cake. It’s more on the nose,” says chef Jon Sybert. To his surprise, the dish “sold like hot cakes” on opening night last week. “I didn’t think that many people would be really into it, but they’re really into it.”

Photo by Jessica Sidman